I Heart Supermarkets in London

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London, England

So I hate to say this because it feeds into a stereotype that I’m sure is not true but…

I’m not crazy about food in England.

Now it isn’t to say there aren’t tons of wonderful restaurants or great British chefs but on and everyday eating level London food is not all that great.

Maybe it’s the cheap Canadian in me but when I look at how much I paid for what I ate I usually think…

 wow that wasn’t worth it.

So I have kind of given up on London, I know if I wanted to splurge I’d find something great but I’m eventually going to be in Italy and Spain so I’ll splurge there.

But all is not lost. One of the things I love about London food is actually in the supermarkets and especially Marks & Spencer.

For a couple of bucks you can get really interesting sandwiches and salads at M&S and other shops with Thai curry or chutneys mixed in.

Plus there are great vegetarian options.

So the days that I wander around London, I usually pop in, grab a sandwich and eat outside the museum or in a park.  

It is cheap, cheerful and the only food I really think is worth the price.

Join the Conversation

  1. I completely, totally, 100% agree with you. I lived off of M&S and Pret sandwiches when I lived in London. They’re actually really good!

  2. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    Brings back the memories 😀 As someone who lives in the Philippines, I am quite surprised and M&S offer a variety of food selections and i remember munching over their roasted chicken last Christmas 😀 Pret is also good 😀 Wetherspoon is my savior when i need to really eat.

  3. Just stay away from any food from Iceland…

  4. The Travel Chica says:

    I apparently did not find the right supermarket when I was in London. The sandwiches were all like the nasty “sandwich de miga” in Buenos Aires.

    I totally agree with you on the disappointing food in London (except Brick Lane). It’s all about the markets… now now I guess super-markets too 🙂

  5. Waitrose is great with ready meals too. Like M&S, they have this great offer of a dinner for 2 for £10 complete with a bottle of wine (entree, main dish and dessert). Now, that’s good value for money! Sainsbury’s has this offer too.

  6. Matthew Karsten says:

    That bread looks really good.

  7. It’s not that bad… but you do have to pay for it, I guess. Traditional british food is getting back into fashion (great restaurants offer pies, game, oysters…), but it’s usually expensive (or, well, pub type of food).
    However, I think that international food is so much worth it. There’s so much variety! Oh and don’t tell you you don’t like farmers markets!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I guess it is because I always compare it to Toronto, great international food at half the price.

  8. Agreed– it is even worse trying to stay gluten free! You must try Food For Thought. It is a little vegetarian place in Covent Gardens, and you can get a meal for under $10 US. Great food! I also liked Wagamama b/c I could get really fresh food and they are very food allergen friendly. The chicken itame is delicious!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Okay Food for Thought is on my list!

  9. Emily in Chile says:

    I think there’s some great English food, but I agree that – like everything else in England – it’s expensive. But the supermarket sandwiches are AMAZING! I crave them when I’m not there, and I already know that breakfast the morning I arrive in December will be sandwiches. I wish Chile would get on board the gourmet ready-made sandwich train.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The only place I have had decent sandwiches in Latin America is Mexico – oh how I miss the avocado there.

  10. Totally agree about Wagamama which was new to me on my last return “home”, but it wasn’t all that cheap. Great value for what it was, but depends on much you have to watch your budget.

    I did the same as Ayngelina the last time I was in London. There are great sandwich places and great parks in which to eat them…..if it’s not raining!

    1. Very true– Wagamama is a bit expensive, but nice that it isn’t breaded, fried, and in a bun 😉

    2. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am amazed it did not rain this time as it has every other time.

  11. Hun, I’m over here in the UK and when you live here, supermarket sandwiches are so not worth it in the long run. That price adds up because the tax on everything (especially London) is so high.

    I think good British food can probably be found in a nice pub – Good comfort food – but those are hard to come by now because there are so many pubs that part of chains now.

    So excited that you’re here in my homeland though. 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The food is good, but so much more expensive than what I can get in Canada.

  12. That sandwich looks so yummy.

    One of the funniest and oddest encounters I’ve ever had was over Marks & Spencer. I work for a publisher and at one of our fancy cocktail receptions one of our editors, when bragging about her recent vacation to England said that M&S was just like Target. The British person in the room: “Marks and Spencer is NOT (semi-long pause) like Target” (slight tinge of disgust on the word Target). Cricket cricket, tumbleweed tumbleweed. Later on the Brit pulled me aside and assured me that you could get really fine lingerie at Marks and Spencer.

    And, now I see you can also get really delicious looking sandwiches. What a mysterious place.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well that is true, it is certainly not like Target, but the English seem to have a very strong attachment to M&S.

  13. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I’ve only been in London once, and dim sum for 3 of us was 100 pounds. I has the same reaction as you — definitely not worth it.

    1. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

      “had”…make that “had” the same reaction. Gawd… 🙂

  14. I would rather buy a fiver and go to a small sandwhich shop and have them make it in front of me. M&S is the best of a very bad bunch.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ha! well at least I picked the best 🙂

  15. Us Brits love our M&S sarnies for cheap and cheerful, best of the lot. Same as Pret, but I would rather get something freshly made up at a lovely little bagel shop or similar.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      fair point

  16. Ah you discovered M&S. Now you know why they’re so popular in the UK.

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