The best food halls to visit and what to eat when you get there

The best food halls to visit and what to eat when you get there

Already a staple of life in many countries, food halls were starting to pop up in the UK even before the pandemic, with around 40 sites from Sheffield to Brighton doing good business. And with the possibility of more available properties and a desire to build back community, we could see as many as 120 new food halls over the coming years, according to a recent report.

Some of the best travel stories revolve around exciting new flavours shared with interesting new friends in a loud, bustling, just-the-right-temperature-to-justify-another-cold-beer food hall. A fact validated at the end of last year when Singapore’s awesome hawker culture of communal food halls were added to the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which means they probably can’t be bought by Amazon.
So to celebrate the dawn of a new era for indecisive eaters (you can never have just one dish at these places), here are some of our favourite food halls to whet your appetite.

Lau Pa Sat, Singapore

Also known as Telok Ayer Market, Lau Pa Sat is one of Singapore’s most handsome food halls, and offers an incredible mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay dishes with plenty of veg and vegan options too. This is just one of MANY hawkers in Singapore, and the fact that most dishes will only set you back a couple of pounds (you can even get Michelin starred dishes for a fiver if you don’t mind waiting) means you can afford to be picky, or just try some new flavours.
What to eat: Satay. Lau Pa Sat has a whole area dedicated to it
18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582

Mathallen Food Hall, Oslo
Effortlessly cool, Mathallen has everything to keep your mouth and eyes happy with a big selection of eats and ace views of the Akerselva river. There are 10 restaurants and plenty of shops, with seafood being a strong option if that’s your flavour. Built-in an old railway factory, it also has Scandinavia's longest bar (27m) so you won’t have to wait long for a beer either. FYI, though, you won’t find many/any dishes for £2 here.
What to eat: Hit the seafood bar at Vulkanfisk
Vulkan 5, 0178 Oslo, Norway

Mercado Bom Sucesso, Porto
One of Porto’s most famous food halls and markets, whether you want something for lunch (absolutely legendary sandwiches and pastries) or the freshest, most epic ingredients for an AirBnB dinner, this is an amazing place. The market recently moved into new premises, so there’s lots of new seating for you to get comfy for an exhaustive pastéis de nata taste test.
What to eat: Meat eaters should head for O Forno do Leitão for the pork sandwich
Praça do Bom Sucesso 74-90, 4150-145 Porto, Portugal

Bang Bang Oriental, London
London has its fair share of food halls, but many are so busy that locals tend to look further afield. So if you’re willing to put in some time on the tube, one of the best and most fun is way up in North London. Bang Bang is superb fun, with 27 restaurants serving sushi, bibimbap, Korean fried chicken and tonnes of other dishes in a bustling, echoey hall filled with good vibes and great smells. 
What to eat: The spicy vegan bún chay from Café la Viet
399 Edgware Rd, London NW9 0FH

Mercado Medellín, Mexico City

Named after a Colombian city, nicknamed ‘Little Cuba’ and still popular for traditional Mexican street food, Mercado Medellin has flavours from across Latin America, making it a brilliant place to visit for big meals, small snacks and everything in between. But beware, if you’re indecisive, there are around 500 stalls in the market. Decisions, decisions.
What to eat: Tlacoyo, tasty cheese and bean filled tortillas
Mercado, Medellín #20, 06760 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

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