Can They Sell Street Food?

Do they sell street food

The monstrosity of a graph above was originally compiled to show the differences in the rules governing street food trading in the 33 boroughs of London. It does that job admirably. It clearly shows that while 22 boroughs allow trading on their land with a license, there are those who only do so under extreme circumstances, or  who ban street vendors completely.

It also shows how there are a number of boroughs where street food trading is allowed but who are already full to the brim with stalls; those subject to extreme bureaucratic licensing agreements or council exceptions (click on the image to find out which ones).

But the graph also shows exactly why street food matters. The information above can be used to extrapolate several things about the social fabric of the city. It says something about London politics and about the divisions between the various councils who run Britain’s capital.

Take the City of London, for example, where street food (along with all other kinds of public trading) is banned altogether. The continued absence of public markets such as Broadway and Whitecross in the neighboring Hackney and Islington borough shows just how little its changed.

Then there is Croydon, where there is a waiting list for plots that stretches into the decades-decades that stop two markets in the area from reflecting the diversity of the area.  It was no surprise that in last Novembers by-election in Croydon, where there is a long wait list for plots, UKIP placed ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

(There would have to be a borough by borough examination to prove a trend, but it is just one thing the data could possibly suggest)

A minor point, but the fact that street trading is permitted in the rest of the borough  can also be seen as a sign of the cities diversity as a whole. This data, as well as many of our previous posts clearly show that diversity is good for an area.

Yes. I know. Super serious post. What do you care?  You only came for the Burritos. What does it matter that 11 areas of the city are not as  welcoming to ethnic cuisines and cultural diversity than the 22 others?

Because that juicy pulled pork sandwich matters more to the fabric of London than you think. While we have liked to keep this blog light hearted for most of the time, it is important to remember that our lunch (and dinner choices) have an impact.

We began this blog just over a year ago to get to grips with the emerging “scene” and only now am I begging to get to grips with these questions.

Besides, there is also a strong likelihood is that some of you reading this will soon be thinking about getting your own pitch selling some new form of burger or an obscure Korean dish, and we wouldn’t want you to go through extra hassle, would we?

What do any of you think? Which borough will you be setting up your (dream) street food stand in?


This data is incredibly London centric and not entirely conclusive. The broad categories only exist because there are varying levels of conditions in each borough.

Featured image sourced from Food Network