Londoners Have Been Eating Street Food Since Roman Times

Londoners Have Been Eating Street Food Since Roman Times

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Hot peascods, a handful of periwinkles and a cup of saloop.

London's currently going through a street food boom, but just because Boxpark didn't exist in Victorian times, doesn't mean that Londoners weren't getting their lunch from street stalls.

Hot Peascods! is an exhibition taking place in Aldgate Square right now; it focuses on the street food of London's past, stretching back to Roman times.

The City of London Corporation's exhibition features rarely-seen images from the 16th to 19th centuries and includes remarkable interviews with pioneering social reformer Henry Mayhew from 1850 — who roamed London's streets daily.

Back then ,street food wasn't exactly bougie; it was the preserve of those who couldn't afford to have cooking facilities at home, and required a quick pick-me-up before getting back to work. The saloop in question, for example, was a thrifty alternative to coffee or tea, made with orchid roots.

Halloumi fries sprinkled with pomegranate molasses was a way off.

Hot Peascods! runs in Aldgate Square from 17-29 September. On 1 October it moves to Guildhall Yard where it runs alongside a modern street food market, and stays there until 16 October.

Last Updated 18 September 2019