The World on Your Doorstep

Posted by in August's Magazine

Leith Walk is a truly unique thoroughfare. Locals joke that you can buy pretty much anything on the Walk, and really, it’s true. It’s most certainly true if you enjoy global cuisine, as there is a selection of grocers from around the world where you can find any ingredient you may need for your culinary journeys. Please allow me take you on a written walking tour of some of my favourite shops…

If we start at the top (technically Elm Row), Valvona and Crolla is the place to buy pasta. I find many of their other ingredients eye-wateringly pricey, but I always buy pasta there. Tattie Shaw’s, two minutes further down is a treasure trove of seasonal produce. I make membrillo from their quinces, and marmalade from Seville oranges (when in season). There is a selection of Indian and Pakistani shops as you walk down, where you can procure the best yoghurt at a very good price – Pakeeza brand for only 70 pence a big tub. Perfect for savoury or sweet dishes, or even breakfast (with berries from Tattie Shaws).



Near Pilrig Church (and on the same side) is Taste of Poland, where I buy sliced rye and caraway bread, delicious toasted with soup. They also have a wide selection of cold meats, cheeses and dumpling-type fare. Five doors down is Polypack, our local ‘ethnic’ supermarket, where I stock up on tinned chick peas (half the price of Tesco), wholemeal pitta bread, spices, sunflower seeds, golden sultanas and almonds in bulk. My favourite Chinese shop, Hing Sing Supermarket, is a further three doors down. Here’s where I get my organic green tea, frozen edamame beans, miso soup paste, noodles, sauces, Chinese vegetables for stir fry, dumplings, cashews, tofu and rice crackers. Just like the ones I used to get back in Australia. Pat’s Chinese supermarket on the other side is a larger store, with a mind-blowing variety of instant noodles and condiments.

Nearing the Foot of the Walk, I dare you to walk past Canderson’s old-fashioned sweetie shop, where you’ll be served by the always-smiling Debra – how could you not be cheery working in a sweetie shop? I often pop in for one of my five a day. A large foam banana! I applaud Akdeniz Mediterranean supermarket for having the courage to open just after Tesco took over the old Scotmid. Their selection of Turkish Delight and herbal teas are most impressive and lovely things to take to a dinner party or to my mother in-law. Their Turkish bread is also pretty amazing, and needs to be scoffed on the day when really fresh.

Sinfully good
Many local eateries also sell their homemade condiments, so let’s head back up the Walk to Punjabi Junction for their lime pickle (who also do a delicious £5 thali lunch platter). If you follow in the steps of Irvine Welsh and hanker after a haggis burrito, be sure to pick up a jar of Los Cardos’ salsa verde from Leith’s only ‘Fresh Mex’ – it’s tasty on salads, omelettes and baked potatoes. Casa Amiga, a sinfully good Portuguese bakery has just opened up where Chimei (then Bowl O’ Noodle) used to be, almost opposite Los Cardos. The traditional rich egg custard tarts (pastel del nata to those in the know) have become a weekly treat, preferably enjoyed before a weights workout. Leith also has its very own World Kitchen, a multicultural organisation (rather like the basque cookery clubs Txotol), which comes together in various venues to cook and share recipes. If you love to cook, perhaps you might wish to ‘like’ World Kitchen Leith on Facebook too.

I have a whale of a time popping in and out of various shops on a bounty hunt. Even more so as a local business owner myself. I know these shops are the lifeblood of Leith Walk and they depend on us frequenting them, even infrequently. The current roadworks (don’t mention the trams!) are a pain in the derrier for all of us, but especially for the local traders who add to the unique character of the Walk. Hopefully the road upgrade will be finished in a timely fashion, but until then, please do make an extra effort to visit your local independent shops. After all, we don’t want Leith Walk to turn into a ghost town like Shandwick Place, do we?

Twitter: @tracygriffen
Facebook: /griffenfitnesss

One response to “The World on Your Doorstep”

  1. Abdul-Shakoor says:

    With the help of Internet, its right that World At door step. Now we can know every breaking news of every country through Internet and especially Social media websites. Now whole world become like a Village due to latest technology. You have discussed some points about it in this post. Any way, I want writing help but that is good topic which you selected for wrote the detailed article.

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