It’s never easy moving to a new city, no matter how much we consider ourselves citizens of the world.
So it’s no surprise that every now and then we crave a taste of home. It can be as little as the smell of a certain spice or the taste of your favourite dessert as it melts in your mouth. Food has the ability to tap into hometown memories even if you’re thousands of miles away.
Since London is a melting-pot of cultures, and most of our Azimo team are not British born, we asked them:
Where do you go for a taste of home?
1. Polish: gherkins, sausage, pierogi
There’s a huge Polish community in London and we’ve been told the Polish Delicatessen in Hammersmith has some of the best gherkins, kielbasa and pierogi this side of Krakow. With many of our team from Poland – this a recommendation to be trusted.
2. Little Lagos
Tucked away in Peckham, also known as ‘Little Lagos’, you can find the best of Nigeria in one area. Whether it’s Nigerian made-imports or fresh food markets for moin moin or authentic restaurants serving up suya, jollof rice and more. The 805 Bar and Restaurant also comes highly recommended.
3. Chilli con carne is not Mexican!
There are a lot of places claiming to be Mexican or latin-inspired all over the city, but if you want really good authentic Mexican food Taqueria in Notting Hill is the best place to go. But if you’re looking for a brunch spot, we recommend Mestizo’s Sunday Brunch buffet where everything tastes amazing. Plus it has a secret Latino party on Thursday nights with £1 tacos. Wherever you decide to go, remember if burritos or chilli con carne are on the menu it is NOT Mexican!
4. Spain: it’s more than paella
Paella is still best served in Spain, but if you’re new to London Brindisa Tapas Kitchen is a Spanish staple. Great tapas, especially the jamon and delicious Rioja. Chances are your Spanish friends have even heard of it.
5. Beyond Bucharest
Our resident Romanian’s go-to dish is tochitură moldovenească and papanași (a Moldavian stew and dumplings). With a history of Turkish, Roman and Greek influences, Romanian cuisine is mixed bag of flavours and is mostly meat based. The best place to get tochitură moldovenească and papanași, among many others dishes, is Crystals of London in north London.
6. Biltong, biltong and more biltong
One of our newest additions to the Azimo team is from South Africa. Having been here less than 6 months, he goes to The Savanna shops for his biltong and droe-wors (dried sausage) fix. But you can also get South African wines and Castle beer if you need something a little stronger!
7. Real Canadian poutine
It’s become the unofficial dish of Canada. Originating in Quebec, it might look like normal cheese, chips and gravy to most, but it’s so much more than that. Our Canadian has scoured the city and found The Poutinerie in Brick Lane. It’s a hard dish to replicate, but as it’s run by a Canadian who makes their own cheese curd, it’s about as good as it gets (in London anyway!).
8. No ordinary corn flour
People from ex-Yugoslavian countries get nostalgic about things like ajvar (roasted sweet red pepper and aubergine spread), Smoki (only the best salty snack in this part of Europe) , Plazma Keks (biscuits so popular they come in ground form too) and Serbian-style coffee (also known as ‘rocket fuel’) . Magaza in Ealing Common is the best place in London to stock up on those sweet and savoury treats. Also, if you’re into baking and struggling to find the all important coarse corn flour for your Serbian cornbread, also known as proja, check the Caribbean shelf in the world foods section of your grocery store.
Whether you’re living in London or another city around the world, we’d love to hear where you eat or shop when you’re looking for a taste of home.