Two of the things I like about Cardiff:
- The city has a sense of wholeness when compared to most big provincial English cities I’ve spent time in. Many of the inner suburbs feel intact and have distinct characters to them. It’s good that there are still loads of fully-functional high streets containing things like actual local shops, and banks you can go into rather than Link machines taxing you £1.50 to use them.
- As a result, despite a near-total Tescopoly (and yes, I do darken their doors too), there are plenty of alternatives where you can pick up exciting things to cook with.
While looking for somewhere to live back in August, I was drawn straight away to the bustle of City Road (not to mention the fact that the street contains around 6000 grill houses, but more on these in a later post). Since moving here, my ability to cook interesting stuff without spending big has been boosted by the number of Asian and Middle Eastern grocers there. Here are my favourite three:
- ShopRight: down at the Newport Road end, this my nearest port of call for spices, chillies and vegetables such as yams and okra.
- City Bakery: just past the junction with Arran Street, here you can find really good fresh herbs, more types of olives and flatbreads than you could shake a sizeable stick at, and a large counter of tasty Middle Eastern pastries.
- Masala Bazaar: ok, it’s just off City Road, but almost within actual spitting distance of it so it goes in. Mint & Mustard head honcho Anand George apparently swears by the place, which carries a head-spinning array of fresh and frozen veg (including four different types of aubergine when I went in last Monday), as well as huge freezers of Bangladeshi freshwater fish.