London is one of the most important culinary destinations in the world. From restaurants with Michelin stars and national cuisines to street canteens, London has something to please everyone. But there is one place that everyone agrees is the best cheap eat in town.
EAST END AND BRICK LANE
London’s East End has a long and troubled history of deep poverty, overcrowding, and related social problems, as well as intense political activism. Another important aspect of the history of the East End was immigration, both internal and external. The area had a strong appeal to the rural poor from other parts of England and attracted waves of immigration from further afield. Notably, the immigrants were Huguenot refugees, Irish weavers, Ashkenazi Jews, and, in the 20th century, Bengalis.
In the centre of the East End, Spitalfields has always been a strong commercial hub with many shops and markets. The most famous street in the area is undoubtedly Brick Lane, with a history dating back to the 15th century. Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery is undoubtedly the most well-known establishment on Brick Lane. It is a place that continues the tradition of the Jewish immigrants to the area.
Beigel, or bagel as it is commonly known, is a kind of bread that originated in the Jewish communities of Poland. According to Wikipedia, “it is traditionally shaped by hand into a roughly hand-sized ring from yeasted wheat dough that is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior”. Bagels are sprinkled on top with sesame, poppy seeds, or salt grains. All kinds of flour are used in the making of the dough, and the variations are limitless.
Beigels have been widely associated with Ashkenazi Jews since the 17th century and were first mentioned in the Jewish community of Krakow. In this way, it is obvious that the tradition of the beigel arrived in East London along with the Ashkenazi Jews.
BEIGEL BAKE BRICK LANE BAKERY
The bakery opened in 1974 and has operated continuously since then on a 24-hour basis. The place was popular among clubbers, night workers, and taxi drivers. However, in recent years, it has conquered the hearts of all the citizens and visitors of the city.
The most famous treats are the beigels filled with hot salt beef, mustard, and pickles or with salmon and cream cheese. Of course, there are more ingredients to put in your beigel such as chopped herring, tuna, cheddar, eggs, and salami. They also offer some delicious vegan options with avocado, hummus, and peanut butter. The price of the beigels, which are made in front of your eyes in a never-ending cycle, ranges between £ 2,00 and £ 5,50.
But while all are here for the beigels do not miss the chance to taste one of their unique desserts. The New York-style cheesecake, the caramel shortbread, and the Bakewell tart with almonds stand out among them.
The hot bread is pulled fresh from the ovens all day and the ingredients they use are of great quality. Additionally, their items are consumed so widely that there is no possibility of something becoming out of date.
THE BEST CHEAP EAT IN LONDON
For all of the aforementioned reasons, it’s easy to see why this bakery’s beigels are regarded as the best cheap eat in London (and possibly one of the best in the entire UK). They combine tradition, taste, and quality at an excellent price at all hours of the day. It’s not surprising that the line outside the shop to be served is quite long several times a day. But every minute of waiting is worth it when you finally leave with a steaming beigel in hand.
Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery, apart from being a culinary destination, has become a landmark of East London and an icon of the whole city.
Beigel Bake Brick Lane Kakery – 159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB, UK
*Food and Travel would like to thank Efthimia Panoutsakopoulou for the photos of Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery