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Originally published 2018
Put some Poutine in your routine.
When I saw this blog coming up in the schedule, I can’t say I wasn’t excited.
I wasn’t the only one either – about a week ago Josh (VisitNorwich’s resident digital wizard) provided me with a several-page bullet-pointed document about all the places on the market he’d eaten, what he thought about it, and any relevant accompanying pictures.
Rest assured no calzone was harmed in the making of this post.
So for those of you who are new to Norwich, planning on visiting, or perhaps you live here and haven’t ventured into the market just yet, if you love good, fresh, fast food then you can’t miss it. Norwich Market has undergone something of a renaissance recently, and just a few weeks ago won the Best Independent Food and Drink Award at the prestigious EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2017, plus Norwich Market was also named one of the ten best markets in England by the company Culture Trip, which has over 9 million monthly readers.
There’s basically something from all the corners of the globe. For homemade, simple Indian food, visit Indian Feast, owned and run by lovely Jazz. Jazz waited 5 years to open his stall, and for our part, we’re really glad he did. Serving a simple (and very excellent) chickpea curry alongside a range of vegetarian Indian snacks, this is a really light and tasty lunch (£3.50 for curry & rice). Plus, coming soon, Jazz will be serving a traditional kidney-bean curry on Tuesdays, after popular customer demand – look out for it!
From Asia, try Tasty House for a quick, hot Thai curry – and you can sit in too, look at the wall vinyl and pretend you’re at the beach for a bit (especially good on rainy days). Or try Bun Box – recently opened on Row A. Inspired by steamed bao buns, Bun Box offer an ever-changing range of lunch-sized, bouncy steamed buns, complete with generous fillings. Super tasty, and really easy to eat without making a mess, which is nice if you’ve got your best, most stain-retentive trousers on. They’ve just got a new rice cooker too, so expect new things on the horizon here.
Over in Europe, Jakey le Bakey serve beautiful French food, and if you haven’t tried it, a very good Poutine (which Josh’s Canadian friend assures us is the best he’s had in the UK). For those of you who aren’t sure (I wasn’t) Poutine is French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy – worth a try if you’re a fan of your chips-and-accessories variations.
Over in the Med, Churros and Chorizo have brought everything that’s great about Spanish food back to the UK, not only selling delicious hot food from a menu that changes daily, but also selling their exotic Spanish deli wares for you to use at home (try the black garlic!). Churros and Chorizo is run by friends Nick and Hugo, who met in Spain 15 years ago, while they were picking their children up from school. Nick is a trained chef, and Hugo used to own gastro-pubs in London: together they’ve created a beautiful stall full of fantastic hard-to-find Spanish products, nourishing and speedy stews for lunch, and super-fresh churros with a chocolate sauce that will make you go weak at the knees. Best sellers are their hot Chorizo Sandwiches, and the churros (which are made on demand, right in front of you, from the only churros machine in Norwich as far as they’re aware). All their stews are made fresh that morning, using ingredients from the stall (that you can buy too), and any veg is sourced fresh from the veg stall down the row. If you miss the taste of Spain, you really do need to go here, plus if you’re stuck for Christmas presents for foodie friends, have a look at their range of beautiful deli products.
Further down Row A, you’ll also find The Feed – a stall not only selling great, tasty (and reasonably priced) food, but also making a difference. Run by LEAP East CIC, (a Norwich-based social enterprise), the feed use food as a catalyst to inspire and motivate people to live a more fulfilling life. Many of the people involved in preparing food here will have been homeless, ex-offenders, long term unemployed or otherwise disadvantaged. You’ll find a delicious selection of deli-style sandwiches made with artisan bread, salads, and fresh, ever-changing curry boxes which change on a daily basis. The food is really beautiful, and the stall gets busy fast!
Lucy’s Chip Stall does the most amazing chips – which taste especially good eaten outside – and now they sell spam fritters too (!!!). George’s Jacket Spuds does one of the best bacon butties I’ve ever had – I can’t recommend this enough if you’ve had a heavy night before an early start.
Plus, Norwich is home to the finest Mushy Pea stall anywhere ever. The longest-running hot food stall in the Market, the Mushy Pea Stall is now in its third generation of ownership, after opening in 1949 by Joyce and Reggie Yallop (and Joyce’s family had been on the market years before that too, running a veg stall). Joyce – who’s picture you can see hanging in the stall – still holds the record for the biggest shark ever caught using pole and line, by a woman in British waters. Now run by her granddaughter Anita, the Mushy Pea Stall crowd is a mix of regular (daily) visitors, and visitors from further afield: Australia, Canada and New Zealand to name a few far-flung examples. The food is delicious and so, so good on a cold day. I had a hot, sort-of-sweet-and-sort-of-peppery cup of peas with a buttered roll last Friday, and it was spot on, eating it sat outside watching the pigeons in the sunshine. And it’s healthy too – peas are a free food on Slimming World, plus they contain Spermadine, which is apparently excellent for anti-ageing. With endorsements by Ainsley Harriot, Freddie Flintoff AND a handful of TV programmes, the Mushy Pea Stall is a precious, hot, green gem, and one you absolutely can’t miss if you’re coming to Norwich. Find them on Row E (they also do pies, pasties and rolls too)!