These rude food clues are brought to you by Show and Stay.
Using the tube on your London weekend theatre break? You’ll want to check out our handy guide to eating on the underground. Join us as we explore the snacks best avoided when in transit on your London holiday by rail and offer some traveler-friendly options.
Eating and drinking on Singapore‘s railway system carries a fine of up to $500, but in London, eating while commuting is completely legal. That said, it’s much frowned upon by regular rail users. We’ve all seen it done, though — with busy work schedules and a long journey ahead, tube travelers often find themselves wolfing down their morning meal or afternoon snack on the underground. But eating in such a crowded, enclosed space is bound to displease your fellow passengers, and some chow choices will offend more than others.
Feeling peckish and wondering what tops the nosh no-no list for metro meals? Anything with a distinct or overpowering smell, for starters. Avoid spicy foods or anything containing fish, as these are sure to provoke a barrage of dirty looks from your fellow commuters. One man’s feast is another man’s food-hate, so think of others before choosing that strong-smelling sandwich or pungent pita. Food smells, however appetizing under normal circumstances, will have a tendency to make people queasy in a confined space, especially mingled with the musty subway scent and other people’s body odor. Same goes for anything messy. No matter how much you love barbecue chicken wings, no-one wants to see you gnawing on a bone like a caveman on your way home from a London show.
Likewise, anything that might spill will strike fear in any nearby traveler, as any unexpected carriage lurch could leave your lunch in their lap. Loud food is equally as annoying. Your frenzied crisp-packet rustling will drive already short-tempered passengers to the point of madness. And the same manners apply on the tube as they would in a restaurant. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with your mouth full, to avoid spraying crumbs in every direction.
It’s worth bearing in mind that eating on the underground could be as bad for your health as it is for the sanity of your fellow travelers. Think of all the germs your hands will have picked up from the armrests, poles and escalator handrails. If you simply have to allay those hunger pangs for fear of passing out, stick to plain foods that travel well and will cause a minimum of fuss. Think granola bars, pastries or muffins, or even nuts and dried fruit. Better still, just wait until you get above ground. Just think how much nicer that burger would be if you were eating it free of the scowling and scornful fellow passengers!