Food market: Alchemy Festival at Southbank Centre

I love a food market. My sister recently sent me a feature listing the best food markets in the world and I thought: What a good way to spend a year (or however long it might take) – flying around the world testing and rating food markets. Well, I can dream, can’t I? Luckily there are plenty of delicious foodie shopping opportunities right on my doorstep here in London. Like the Alchemy Festival which has just popped up on the Southbank.

This is a 12-day celebration from London street food specialists KERB exploring the cuisines of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. And what a celebration it is with plenty of brilliantly colourful stalls to shop from and the aroma of spices filling the air.

How about some curry from the Peckish Peacock?

Love the style of this food truck

Or something from the perfect pinkness (and blueness) of Dosa?

How can you resist such a beautiful decorated stall?

I couldn’t decide and meandered around and around before choosing something from a country I’d never experienced the cuisine of – Afghanistan. YumAfghan’s menu looked tempting and I opted for some Afghan-style BBQ – one marinated lamb skewer coming up.

While I waited for the chef to cook it I spotted another Afghan speciality called Mantu. A delicious-looking (and sounding) dish of steamed dumplings. Next time?

The tempting Afghan menu
The tempting Afghan menu

My skewer was wonderful. Perfectly tender, tasty lamb cooked medium-rare and served with a spicy green sauce and yogurt.

Close up to my tasty Afghan treat
Close up to my tasty Afghan treat

There are also plenty of drinking options, from coffee to cocktails, custom-made sodas to lassis, plus a full bar. And some more exotic choices. How’s this for a drinks list with a difference?


And just around the corner you’ll find The Bloody Oyster. A traditional red London bus where you can indulge in a bloody Mary and oyster feast. Who can resist that?

All aboard for oysters and bloody Marys

Alchemy Festival started yesterday (May 19th) and runs until May 30th 2016.

You’ll find it at Southbank Square, Belvedere Road, London SE1, a few minutes walk from Waterloo Station.

Opening times

Monday – Thursday 12pm to 8pm

Friday 12pm to 9pm

Saturday 11am to 9pm

Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 12pm to 8pm


  1. Looks absolutely awesome. Good markets are amazing. Come to Zanzibar Fordhini good market…

  2. It was so lovely Esme, in the same place as the market we went to on the Southbank when you were here. I loved the Afghani kebab! Would love to come to Zanzibar…one day maybe.

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