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Chinese supermarkets and Polish grocers

(33 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.

NotSpaghetti Fri 03-Mar-23 09:10:59

I use the Indian and Polish shops in my area. I don't go into the city to buy tofu anymore (as I did in the early 1980s) so don't get to browse the shelves of the Chinese supermarket.

NotSpaghetti Fri 03-Mar-23 09:26:51

As regards knowing what things are, and trying things out - in the 1970s I bought a mystery item - what I can only call a "soup mix" from an Asian supermarket after asking the assistant "what is really delicious but has no fish or meat". I wrote down the simple steps about cooking it in lots of water and adding the (?) mushrooms at intervals.
It was interesting.

Years later I bought some bitter gourd (Karela) after quizzing a lady who was buying it. She told me how to prepare it, cook it, the spices to use and explained about the skin. I'm afraid I couldn't eat it. I like bitter tastes so a couple of years later a friend at work explained to me how she cooked it according to her family recipe so I tried it again (but didn't cook so much this time grin) and again it wasn't very nice.

Years later I found a recipe online which had good reviews so tried that. Another fail.
What am I doing wrong? I SO want to enjoy this vegetable.

On the other hand, all the delicious success stories far outweigh my peculiar soup/karela problems.

MaizieD Fri 03-Mar-23 09:41:00

The nearest we get to non British food in our area are the Lidl promotions and the Sainsburys 'World Food' aisle. ☹️

I'd love to have access to something a bit more varied.

TerriBull Fri 03-Mar-23 09:43:27

Slightly off topic, we had the most fantastic Asian pharmacist where I used to live had been going to his pharmacy for over 30 years, he was better than the doctor, nothing was too much trouble, would always offer to take blood pressure etc. Like so many of his customers we were on first name terms with him and likewise he with us. Since we've moved the nearest dispensing pharmacy to the doctor is a very small Boots close by. They love keeping people waiting outside the shop, generally quite unhelpful. Someone on a local website posted how she went in there to buy some Fenjal, but in her words "the jobsworth said can't sell it to you don't have a dispensing chemist here at the moment" Maybe she should have said in a much louder voice "I said Fenjal not Fentanyl" shock

henetha Fri 03-Mar-23 10:24:21

I like living in the country, but we do miss out on things like this. I would have to go to Exeter or Plymouth to find these sort of shops. Some of the items sound great.

GagaJo Fri 03-Mar-23 10:47:32

Bitter gourd is supposed to be good for lowering blood pressure, Notspaghetti, so I used to force myself to eat it when I was in China. Until it gave me a terrible stomach upset. Didn't eat it again.

dragonfly46 Fri 03-Mar-23 16:18:44

We have many ethnic shops near us and I use them all.