A Trip to Bristol for Some Multicultural Food

in Pinmapple2 months ago

It's always hard coming back to the UK after being spoilt for choice for good food in Australia. As much as I hate to say one country is better than the other - for both have their good qualities - I've found that Australia is much easier to get quality food, particularly fruit and vegetables. It's also easier to get bulk food - even in my local rural town back home I can take a jar and fill it with spices, grains, nuts and chocolate. No packaging, and reasonably priced. Here in Somerset, I have to hunt further afield for good food. There's a decent green grocers in Frome that is a better choice than everything wrapped in plastic at Tesco. But where's my Chinese and Indian grocers at, I wondered. And why are noodles so bloody expensive in this country?

I've been meaning to go to Bristol for the last few trips here but it never happened. It's only about 45 minutes from here so I was stoked when my sister in law offered to drive. She'd heard of a great Chinese grocers and had been told of another place that had Indian food.

Wai Yee Hong is a Chinese cash and carry at Eastgate, Bristol. It's huge - and I was like a kid in a candy shop. Noodles. Miso. Tofu. Curry pastes. Chilli sauce. I wouldn't say it was cheaper than home but it was better to have it all in the one spot that's for sure! Another good thing is that it has free parking, so we left the car there and walked five minutes down the road to the next place.

Being in the city, of course one can spot some epic graffiti. It sure beats the endless grey of a British winter - or early Spring. They're saying it's going to be a pretty cold one. At home it's been a bit of a hot spell so it's rough seeing the heat there whilst we are freezing here! Actually, scratch that. I don't mind the cold so much. IT's just I like to see the occasional sun - as I'm writing now it's streaming through the window and I'm soaking it up like a lizard, though it's too freaking cold to go outside.

Luckily sunshine arrived in the form of fresh samosa from an Indian take away shop on the corner as we headed toward Marks Road and the biggest 'ethnic' grocer in the south west. We bought enough for lunch the next day as well, and some paneer stuffed gram flour dumpling kinda things as well.

Walking up the street toward Sweet Mart, it's easy to feel as if you're in another world. There was a large grocers that seemed to sell Middle Eastern stuff but we got distracted by an op shop (charity shop here).

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And there we were - the famous Bristol Sweet Mart. I bought about three different kinds of spices, some frozen paratha, paneer, coconut (which I find pretty expensive here), dates, and more besides. They say they carry over 9000 products from all the continents - quite the claim. It was pretty busy in there that's for sure. Still, I didn't find it as cheap as home, but that's just coming from a whingeing Australian who's spending the Aussie dollar against the pound.

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At home we've fallen into a pretty happy habit of just cooking the food that is right for us. We're not obligated to eat the dinners my mother in law might offer and vice verse. The other day they had pork chops and mash and I made a tempeh and eggplant stirfry. Sometimes Jamie'll eat pilchards on toast and I'll make an enoki mushroom, cabbage and miso soup. I feel a lot happier with my diet here than during COVID when I felt forced to eat what my sister in law was making.

Hopefully we'll get back there soon to stock up on food for the journey - however, I can't wait to get some proper ras el hanout in Morocco!

With Love,

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The atmosphere of the city there looks very peaceful and comfortable

It's not how I would have described it haha

I absolutely love Wai Yee Hong! I go there for all of the groceries I may need, they have a good restaurant above which is good for dim sum. I lived in Bristol for nearly 13 years so it's nice to read when people have visited as everyone normally has only heard of Bath if they've lived abroad.

Oh yes well we used to live near Radstock so whilst that was closer to Bath of course we sometimes went to Bristol. I was so happy to find it and I'll have to try the restaurant one day!

Wow... just WOW!!! Those are really impressive murals. I suppose I did hear about Bristol's artist scene being quite vibrant. But then again, I sometimes confuse it with Brighton. (I was just about to ask if you were gonna visit the StickUpBoys while you're there, but then I realized I mistook the town!)

I'm glad you found some delicious food you enjoy to brighten up the English diet, hahaha! As for the sun, I totally get you. Once November came around I was so ready to leave Europe, and not even due to the cold. It's the lack of sunlight I was suffering from. As lovely as the old town streets look, under a gloomy cloud cover it all looks a bit sad. That's when you need to glow from within, using rich flavors and spices.

How does spending the Aussie Dollar in the UK feel these days? Not in terms of exchange rate, but how much you can buy for it? Can you feel the effects of the Brexit since the last time you visited?

It kinda feels like we are in a little enclave of 'good' Britain here in the beautiful south west. There's nothing we have been doing recently that screams 'fuck brexit' and unlike Australia, it seems a lot of shops and businesses are still doing well, like this one.

I've always found England more expensive for food and petrol etc. I thank goodness we don't live here to pay the electricity bills either! But our shop is only a bit more than we would pay at home, except certain items that are far more pricey, like coconut weirdly. We can swallow that.

There's other things that have changed since we lived here like the prevalence of vanlifers but other than that, it's not feeling so different.

We are headed to Brighton next week. I think any major UK city is going to have some good street art.

You're so right about the need for warmth in other ways. I've been doing a lot of walking and yoga to sweat it out! And when the sun shows itself for ten minutes every four days you bet I run outside and sun gaze to bank a bit of Vit D. I could never live in this country again because of that endless grey..no wonder people still go to Spain to recharge their sad little British batteries 😂

Oh wow, that's a ton of great insight you're providing here! So not only is the UK comparatively okay, but it seems to have been less affected economically in recent years than Australia!!! That's super interesting to hear, seeing how mainstream news keeps going on about Britain being on the brink of collapse thanks to Brexit, whereas nobody seems to mention that Australia might have taken a wrong turn recently. Makes you think...

As for the sun, the nice thing to keep in mind is that Spring is well on its way. And even if it starts out cold and wet, you know that the equinox is only three weeks away. Things will be looking up from then on. But you'll be traveling anyway, which means there will always be enough sunshine, even if it's just in your hearts.

I don't know to be honest - I'm just in a little bubble down here. Certainly what I've read and seen about the place it's pretty rough and difficult. Australia never gets in the news - but to be honest, it's a good place to be, and I think as things get worse, I'd rather be in Australia. WEa re lucky to live there.

Nice! Another important piece of info for the grand puzzle of our ever relative reality! It's true, we all live in our respective bubble, even if we seem to be right there in the middle of things. Yeah, Australia never get in the news! Also important to consider, hahaha.

First Frome and now Bristol you're really bring back memories for me. Bristol is my home town. Or should I say city? It's been a long while since I lived there though but I'm still a frequent visitor and many of my family are still there.

Ha any other towns you'd like a review of? Two more weeks around here 😂

Remind me where you are now?

I'm in Hove (officially called Brighton and Hove nowadays).

I can't think of anywhere in particular to review I just enjoy seeing "memory lane" towns popping up in your posts.

Having said that, Weston-Super-Mare (or Weston-Super-Mud as it was fondly known), always a bit contentious, might be a good one. 😁

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