According to the cliché, the weather in England is bad and the food even worse. In this blog post, Student Ambassador Lucy Lu explains why food in London is far better than its reputation and shares her top tips on where to get the best deals for students!
Greetings offer holders! I’m sure many of you who haven’t been to London have heard stories about British food. As a New Yorker, I had my doubts about food before coming here; fortunately, the food scene in London is way better than I anticipated. Thanks to LSE’s central location and its proximity to Covent Garden and Soho, there are quite a lot of places to eat at within close walking distance from campus. If you are an international foodie like me, you are in luck because I am going to share with you my complete guide to good food within a 15-minute walk from campus.
To start, of course the quickest way to get food on campus are the LSE canteens. This link gives descriptions and locations of all LSE canteens. Sometimes the Garrick has really nice herb chicken, I always get one to go when I see it. Also, the Student Union shop has really cheap salads, sandwiches, and hot wraps. Just a tip: the price for the same sandwich in the SU shop is lower than in other cafes or restaurants on campus.
Grab n go:
If you are in a hurry, then you can definitely stop by these fast food chains for grab n go. Most fast food chains are on Kingsway and High Holborn. Some of the fast food options include: EAT, Pod, Pret, Leon, Burger King, McD, KFC, Costa, and Caffé Nero.
*Many of these chain restaurants (like Pod and Wasabi) offer student discounts either by themselves or through the app UniDays. So, at your check out it’s always worth asking the cashier if they give any discounts.
The 3-pound meal deal from the supermarket is another good option for when you’re on a budget. The meal deal includes a sandwich, a snack, and a drink, which in my opinion is pretty good for a light lunch in summer. The closest supermarket is the Co-op on Kingsway, but there is also a Sainsbury’s, a Tesco, and a Waitrose within a 10-minute walk.
GOOD international food:
Now this is the best part of this food guide. Drumroll please…
Chinese: For legit and authentic Chinese food I recommend you go further to Chinatown, there are way more options over there. Nevertheless, I have found two quite decent Chinese restaurants within 15 minutes from campus. They are Canton Element that does pretty cheap Cantonese take out, and Taste of China that does spicy SiChuan food and that is also a nice place for a group lunch.
Korean: Surprisingly, there are quite a lot of Korean food places around the Holborn area, so if you like Korean food you are in for a treat. Some of them like Wellbeing Kitchen, Zipbab, and Hozi offer super cheap lunch take-outs for 6 to 9 pounds. Hozi is also one of the most authentic Korean restaurants in London, according to almost all of my Korean friends. You can also get a nice Korean fried chicken and a fancy Bibimbap at On the Bab, Kimchee, KangnamPocha, or Asadal.
Japanese: There are also quite a few nice Japanese food places nearby. Eat Tokyo is relatively cheaper and they give A LOT of food compared to other Japanese restaurants. Sushi Hiroba is a bit pricier than eat Tokyo but it offers a 10% student discount. If you are a Ramen enthusiast, you can stop by Kanadaya: their Ramen is among one of the most authentic Ramen I’ve had in London.
South East Asian food: Sawadika does pretty decent Thai food. I don’t think Viet Eat has authentic Vietnamese food but the pho tastes alright. There are a lot of authentic Vietnamese places on Kingsland road in Shoreditch.
Latin American food: To be honest, I haven’t found a lot of good Latin American food places in London. One place that is approved by my Latin American friends is Lincoln Sandwich Shop: even though the shop looks like a regular British coffee shop and sells regular sandwiches and coffee, there is a hidden menu. The owners are Colombian, so they also make amazing Colombian lunch specials upon request. The lunch specials are written on the chalkboard behind the counter. The lunch special is different every day and my favorite is the barbecue pulled pork on Thursday. Also, there is a Mexican place called Chilango, which in my opinion is alright, but if you really miss a hot burrito that’s your best shot. There’s also a Taco Bell nearby for homesick Americans.
Middle Eastern: For Middle Eastern food, I really like Hiba, they offer cheap lunch take-outs with FRESH mango juice! The Lebanese Bakery is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in London! Its cheap, super fresh, and they have lots of vegetarian options. Also, their dessert, traditional Lebanese sweet bread with caramelized banana, is something I think about almost every day.
European: Little Venice Café is a small Italian family restaurant, they sell super cheap pasta for less than 6 pounds. My Old Dutch does pretty good pancakes, and they have special 5,99 deals on Mondays, and student discounts for the rest of the week.
Vegetarian and vegan options: There are also many vegetarian and vegan options around campus. In addition to the chain restaurants, Drury 188-189 is a vegetarian coffee shop and by Chloe and Sagar are vegan restaurants.
I hope you enjoy my guide!
Lucy Lu is a Student Ambassador in the Team Mentorship for the International Development Department. Before joining the MSc Development Studies programme, Lucy did an undergraduate degree in the US and spent a year abroad in Florence, Italy.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.