Discover authentic Latin American food at Pueblito Paisa a.k.a Seven Sisters Indoor Market
231-243 High Rd, London N15 5BT
Open: Mon-Thurs 9am-7pm and Fri-Sat 9am- late
When it comes to real Latin American food in London it’s time to forget Andina, Ceviche or Gaucho and head north to Seven Sisters Indoor Market, or as the locals call it: Pueblito Paisa. The unassuming Edwardian structure looks a little rough from the outside, if I’m honest, but once you’re in you’ll feel nothing but the warmth of the Latino spirit. A trader in the market said it’s like ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ and I think that’s the best way to describe it: you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and landed in Latin America.
The market is home to the second largest collection of Latin American businesses in the UK and what I count to be seven different café/restaurants/bars. The units are small, closely packed with narrow corridors of people chatting and children playing. The overall effect is like a village green or community centre, where everyone greets each other and stops for a chat over a bottle of Club Colombia.
For a casual snack head to Restaurante Manantial, or Juancho. Both are Colombian joints and serve everything from traditional snacks and local (to Latin America) beer to traditional Ajiaco soup. Don’t expect much personal space: the best seats are at the counters in the aisles, right in the thick of it. But if you didn’t spend your gap yah in Peru do you even know what traditional Latin American snacks are? Don’t worry (I did), these are the A-B-E’s of Latin American snacking: Arepas, Buñuelos and Empanadas.
Popular in Colombia and Venezuela (who’ll both claim it as a national staple) as well as Panama and Ecuador, an arepa looks like a thick dense pancake and is made of ground maize. It’s served as a snack or an accompaniment (with pretty much everything) and can be topped or filled with cheese, meat, fish or egg.
Buñuelos, aka the fried dough ball, is a popular snack across all of Latin America, from sunny Puerto Rico to chilly Patagonia. They vary in form and filling across the region, but with the Manantial and Juancho being Colombian spots you can expect them to be made with a Colombian white cheese.
My favourite way to describe a Cornish pasty to someone from Latin America is “like a big empanada” and the comparison works the other way. An empanada is like a mini-pasty, but with a maize outer, and can be stuffed with anything and everything, though here in Pueblito Paisa you can expect meat or chicken. Hot tip: ask for some ají to give it a kick.
It should be said now, with this being a mostly vegetarian blog, that Latin American cuisine is not the most veggie-friendly. Vegan? Probably not. Other than buñuelos or maize-100 ways you might struggle. But never fear, the market has La Esquina de Blanca, making juices with tropical fruit that everyone can enjoy. It also has El Estanquilo, a cornershop/bar/butchers/dancefloor selling everything from Colombian coffee, Peruvian fizzy drinks to Brazilian beans.
Pueblito Paisa is indeed worth the trek up to Haringey for any veggie or vegano, for the atmosphere, the Latin tunes and décor, the friendly people and to show your solidarity. The market is currently under threat from a Compulsory Purchase Order by Haringey council and need all the support they can get. So give them a visit, get an empanada or even donate to the campaign here: https://www.youcaring.com/latinvillagewardscorner-714518