It’s hard to stand out in a street-food market as large and diverse as the one on Whitecross Street, but a beautifully converted Citroën H van, known as the ‘Buddha Bowl Van’, does just that. And while the retro wheels may catch the eye of passersby, it’s the award-winning Buddha Bowl that gets hungry market-goers queuing up time and time again.
The signature Buddha Bowl is a box filled with all kinds of goodness: massaman curry with new potatoes, pineapple and soya chunks; carrot and homemade kimchi pickle; steamed seasonal greens (usually kale); organic brown rice; organic omega seeds; and grilled halloumi (optional). The Buddha Bowl is vegan (if you skip the halloumi), wheat-free, gluten-free – and very, very tasty. It’s not surprising that it won Best Main Dish at the British Street Food Awards.
Wife and husband Charlotte and David Bailey, founders of Wholefood Heaven, run the Buddha Bowl Van – with enthusiasm and big smiles. David, a classically trained chef, became vegetarian in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since, while Charlotte, a lifelong vegetarian, spent many years working in the natural health industry. Their ethos is that no matter where you are, you should be able to buy high-quality, nutritious, healthy, ethical and tasty fresh food. If you’re around Old Street on a Thursday or Friday at lunchtime, you’re in luck.