Bites: The Street Food of Norwich
Food is an awesome thing. We need it to survive but in more cases than not, it’s a very tasty thing. We pair food with beer and wine, we have romantic meals with loved ones - Those of you who have loved ones. I’m not bitter, honest - And we socialise over a meal in a restaurant with friends. Food is even enjoyable on a lonely lunch break and I guess what this blog is about.
Yes, if you want a quick bite to eat you could always go to McDonald’s or KFC but why do that when there are so many awesome, independent food vendors available who make quality food in bigger portions in a similar price bracket?
I love supporting local businesses and there are a great deal of ones in Norwich that cook awesome, affordable food for me to stuff my face with before having to go back to work in the afternoon and I’m going to tell you about a few of my favourites.
1) The Chinese stall on Norwich Market – To be honest, I’m not even sure if it has a name other than what everybody calls it. “The Chinese Stall on the Market”. It’s just quick, simple and cheap Chinese food as we know it. For £2.50 you get a small or £3.50 a large. There are a fair few choices – Chicken chow mein or chicken fried rice are the base then you can pick a sauce from a few options such as Chicken curry, black bean sauce, sweet and sour sauce etcetera. You know, the usual suspects you’re faced with when ordering from a takeaway menu at home. My choice every time will be a large chicken chow mein with curry sauce. It is what it is, a nice Chinese curry. Aromatic with a bit of spice, peas and a lot of chicken. It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It is straight up street food.
2) Urban Munch on Castle Meadow – An American style sandwich shop. Sandwich. Loose term. Baguettes. Massive baguettes, roast dinners and chilis to take away. There is so much to choose from and only averaging around £3.50 for a meal to get you through the day. They sell pretty much every kind of sandwich you’d want fresh and hot. At Christmas you can get a whole turkey dinner stuffed into a baguette. Can’t argue with that. A personal favourite would be the New Yorker – A Norfolk Sausage in a baguette piled with awesome beef chilli – not subtle but doesn’t leave your mouth burning – topped with melted cheese. Simply a delight. You can try all you want to not go back to work wearing a chilli beard but it doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried.
3) The Mushy Pea Stall on Norwich Market – That is what it’s called. Simply what it sells. This place was a cornerstone of my childhood and was even around when my parents were kids. I’ll always remember going up the city with my dad on a Saturday and having mushy peas on the market (None of that fancy McDonald’s, the cheap b*****d!). There’s not much I can say but the fact that the mushy peas from this stall will beat any mushy peas you’ve had – and ever will have – in your life. Mushy peas with black pepper and mint sauce. Bloody lovely and at only a quid for a massive bowl of peas, you can’t complain. Pies are also available for you true fatties.
Citizens of Norwich, if you haven’t been to these places for lunch… why the hell not? They’re locally owned companies making awesome food at great prices. What more could you want?
Norwich outsiders, I highly recommend visiting the wonderful establishments I mentioned if you ever visit Norwich. It will be well worth your time and the little money you spend.
What are your favourite street food vendors? I’d be very interested to know!