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Chinese supermarkets and Polish grocers

(32 Posts)
LadyHonoriaDedlock Thu 02-Mar-23 13:26:14

While I was out shopping at Sainsbury's yesterday I popped into the Chinese supermarket across the road for some oolong tea and, not for the first time, wondered about getting some of the many unfamiliar ingredients to cook with. I might have, though I didn't on this occasion, have gone a little further along the road to the Polish shop for one of those big jars of sauerkraut, which fulfil many of my winter vegetable needs, perhaps to be tempted by some freshly-sliced Żywiecka sausage or a jar of rolmopy.

Do you ever make use of such shops? Or do you feel they are excluding? Even with specialist Polish shelves in supermarkets there's so many thing you can get in such places that you can't get anywhere else and some of them are well worth it. Polish chocolate is good and the chocolate-coated plums are to die for!

Because of the cultural gap the Chinese shops can come across as a bit awkward and staff may seem rude (although they don't mean it) but I find the Polish shops are very friendly, are pleased to have British customers and delighted if you can say something in Polish (dziękuję – thank you – is a good one, just say 'gin queer' and you'll be close enough, and czieśź "chyesh" is a general hi/bye like ciao in Italian)

I think it's a shame British people don't make more use of these shops. Maybe it's the usual fear of the unfamiliar.

Jaxjacky Thu 02-Mar-23 13:30:16

I use the Asian cash and carry in a city near us, much cheaper for dried spices, huge bunches of coriander, other, herbs, vegetables and breads. Hard to resist the daily baked samosa, usually munch one before I get them home.

Blondiescot Thu 02-Mar-23 13:30:56

Oh, I absolutely adore those kind of shops - and Middle Eastern ones too. It's exciting finding different ingredients - and things like spices are often cheaper than 'normal' supermarkets too. I also agree with you about Polish chocolate it's lovely. There's a cherry and marzipan filled one which is my absolute favourite.

MawtheMerrier Thu 02-Mar-23 13:42:07

The International supermarket in Walthamstow just along from the market is wonderful- cheap, fresh and varied produce , friebdly staff . I'm very envious of DDs living a short walk away!

GrannyGravy13 Thu 02-Mar-23 13:42:38

We have a Turkish Grocers in our road, lovely people, wide range of spices and Turkish delicacies along with fresh fruit and veg which is not pre packed so you can buy what you need.

There is also a large Asian supermarket next to our nearest Waitrose, which we use for rice, fish sauce, curry pastes etc.

Kate1949 Thu 02-Mar-23 13:44:29

There is a massive Chinese superstore here in Birmingham, Wing Yip. They have an incredible array of produce, woks, cooking utensils etc. It's great. There is a restaurant on site too.

MiniMoon Thu 02-Mar-23 13:45:40

I would love to if there were any near me. I would have to travel 38 miles to the nearest city to find them. 😟

Norah Thu 02-Mar-23 13:46:44

We love the Asian, middle eastern and Indian shops. Spices, tahini, seeds, ginger, some interesting fresh fruit and veg.

Joseanne Thu 02-Mar-23 13:49:45

^ I think it's a shame British people don't make more use of these shops. Maybe it's the usual fear of the unfamiliar.^
I think British people are often too reticent to engage with the shopkeeper about the wares. We are not that good at enthusing about tastes and aromas, or maybe we are often too busy to stop and gain knowledge.
I agree about awesome Walthamstow, we lived a couple of bus stops away. Nothing anything like that here in Devon!

BlueBelle Thu 02-Mar-23 16:08:16

I love them and buy lots of things often I haven’t got a clue what some of them are, but love all the spices and different tastes and smells
I rarely eat traditional English food

Sago Thu 02-Mar-23 16:35:55

“I think it's a shame British people don't make more use of these shops. Maybe it's the usual fear of the unfamiliar.”

This cannot be said of my local Asian store.
It’s fabulous for fresh turmeric, coriander that is a hundred times better than supermarket stuff, I go monthly and do a scoot round, I make curry pastes from scratch thanks to their great stock.
It is always busy with lots of brown and white faces, I think the majority of brown faces are British!

grannyactivist Thu 02-Mar-23 17:10:29

Joseanne not quite Walthamstow, but there are a few really good shops in Exeter. The area around Sidwell Street is excellent; there’s a Thai food shop, a Polish supermarket and a shop called Best One, plus Heera International Foods on Wells Street (just up from the mosque) I sometimes bulk buy my citric acid from there. There are two more supermarkets just around the corner on Summerland Street. Great places to shop when I’ve got guests from far flung places staying. Most times the staff are really happy to help out and give advice.

Joseanne Thu 02-Mar-23 17:50:45

Ooo thanks grannyactivist, I've looked those up. I'm in Exeter on Thursday next week if you want me to pick up anything for you! I'm all for experimenting with flavours.

JaneJudge Thu 02-Mar-23 17:55:58

Yes we use them smile

AreWeThereYet Thu 02-Mar-23 17:58:36

We used to have a really good Asian market and shop but it's closed down now. I used to shop there quite a lot - they sold things like sweet rice flour long before it was available in supermarkets. There are no Polish shops nearby and no Asian shops, despite having a huge Indian and Pakistani population. There is a growing Ukranian population now so who knows what the future holds.

grannyactivist Thu 02-Mar-23 18:04:09

Joseann thanks for your kind offer, but half the fun is having a mooch. Unfortunately I also don’t have a working cooker since our house fire and as I’m in bed trying to shake off a virus I’m not even responsible for any food prep at the moment.

Patsy70 Thu 02-Mar-23 18:44:28

Yes, very fortunate here to have Chinese, Italian & Asian supermarkets. However, I don’t make as much use of them as I should, but I will now!

crazyH Thu 02-Mar-23 18:53:58

I wish I had some of those shops near me.

GagaJo Thu 02-Mar-23 18:54:05

The Chinese supermarket in the city I live in sells a range of tofu. I'm not sure why we can only access a couple of types here on average, when there are hundreds of varieties. Tofu noodles, tofu that tastes like egg, crispy fried tofu.

The Asian area of the city has fab food shops, including a great fruit and veg place. Super cheap and loads of stuff you'd never see in a supermarket. As well as piles of freshly made naan bread and drool worthy, huge samosas.

Dickens Thu 02-Mar-23 22:30:41

... but do they sell turnips grin?

Redhead56 Thu 02-Mar-23 22:32:49

I shopped in different ethnic stores when I was young I worked in a multicultural area at the time. It was a whole new world to me and it encouraged the interest I have in cookery.
My DH is a different ethnic and religious back ground to me. His grandparents were immigrants here because of persecution.
I prepared and cooked food he was brought up on and introduced it to my young children. My DiL is mixed race and adds another interesting taste to the meal table. Variety is the spice of life for me eat live and enjoy.

grannyactivist Fri 03-Mar-23 00:33:10

I enjoy sampling foods from other countries even when I discover I don’t much like some of it. One time we ate out with friends in a restaurant in Slovakia that our Slovak hosts described as serving ‘traditional’, i.e. very old fashioned, food. I loved it and they were very surprised, describing it as food their grannies would have cooked. Now I buy similar foods from Polish supermarkets.

nanna8 Fri 03-Mar-23 04:08:40

All the time- I get all my herbs and spices. Mind you, the Chinese own most things here anyway, especially the shopping malls. I love all the green veggies especially. We don't have a lot of Polish stuff, though but plenty of German Sauerkraut.

Hetty58 Fri 03-Mar-23 05:32:40

It seems like everyone goes shopping, then. I never do, just don't enjoy it, so order everything in. I do like trying new foods, though.

notgran Fri 03-Mar-23 07:00:39

Funnily enough yesterday I went for the first time into the Asian "supermarket" near my daughter's. I had done a load of grocery and fish shopping but realised I hadn't got any milk and as this shop was on the way to the car I popped in. Wow! I didn't recognise anything and wandered around a bit mesmerised by the colours and very strange (to me) items. I was the only lady shopper, not in Asian dress. There was a circular box with very vibrantly coloured sweets or they may have been bath cubes, I couldn't tell. It was only about £3.00 and I nearly bought it. Anyway I didn't and went to the counter produced my card and noticed a sign saying "Min Spend £5.00 on all card transactions" I started to apologise and thought I'll go back and buy that mystery box to make my total £5.00. The young, very charming man said, "Madame it is your first time in my shop, it is fine" I was so surprised at how courteous he was I just tapped my card and didn't get my mystery box. I'll be back.