14 different cuisines and growing - Why Norwich 'United Nations' Market is the place to eat
PUBLISHED: 08:59 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:59 06 September 2018
Copyright: Archant 2018
Take your taste buds on a culinary journey around the world in Norwich city centre.
With a plethora of choices consisting of Indian, Italian, Spanish, Chilean, Chinese, Mexican, English, Thai, Malaysian, Turkish, Moroccan, Korean, Singapore and Sicilian, offering meat, vegetarian and vegan options it would be near on impossible for anyone to leave the market place hungry.
Norwich market has been a city centre staple since the 11th century, making it one of the largest and oldest open-air markets in the country.
With a sea of over 200 brightly coloured roofed stalls and the vast array of different scents filling your nostrils you can’t help but be transported to another world.
Whether you crave fish and chips, chorizo, an Indian feast, or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, you will not be disappointed.
The majority of food is cooked fresh to order, with the stall holders only to happy to accommodate any dietary needs or intolerances.
With a total of 25 hot food stalls coupled with 22 fresh and prepackaged food and drink stalls, there is every bit the chance to replicate your favourite dish at home as local produce, butchers’ and Asian spices are all available.
Where else could you find Indian food next to fish and chips?
Or Chinese opposite a falafel stall?
Your head could be easily turned with every walkway you take as each inciting smell drags you in.
All of the stalls are decorated to show the very best that they have to offer.
The brightly coloured chillies and garlic which hang from the roof of Churros and Chorizo, the different flavoured oils adorning the walls of Lasagneria and herbs and spices on shelves at Falafel and Friends.
The hustle and bustle of the lunch time rush brings with it an excitement that should come from choosing something to eat.
So often we eat to sustain rather than to enjoy, but with the market place right at the heart of the city, people have the time to peruse the menus, and with so much choice it is no wonder each stall has a queue of people, eagerly awaiting to order.
Stark contrast to the past
The market today has changed greatly in recent years.
Just two years ago many stalls were closed and unused.
Jazz Singh, 40, who owns Indian Feast, said: “Six years ago, when I first asked the council for a stall, they said they had none. I would walk around the stalls and saw a lot of them empty and being used for storage.
“Every year I asked for a stall and the council would say the same thing, they had none. Until they had a meeting and decided to update the market and add more food stalls. People are saying that the market is alive again; they are happy as the prices are so reasonable and with all the variety they get different tastes of countries. One day Indian, the next Chinese, English, Spanish and Chilean.”
Next door at Churros and Chorizo, owner Nick Brewer, 48, from Norwich (below), said “It’s brilliant. We’ve had tourists this summer that’s been good. We are the new kids on the block so it’s been fantastic.”
‘Nice to have a variety’
Paolo Grazzini, 41, owner of Lasagneria lives in Norwich, but is originally from Florence, Italy.
He said: “It’s a good thing to have variety.
“More attractive stalls, more people come and try more foods.
“If there was less choice maybe there would be less people so it’s definitely a good thing.”
Sharon Papiez, who works at Bs Ts Snack Bar, added: “It’s nice to have a variety of foods and choice.”
Most of the stalls offer their own seating either next to their counter or opposite.
The stall holders ensure the dining experience continues in these areas with decorations and produce local to their cuisine.
Behind and in front of the market there is additional seating for anyone who has the time to sit in the sun and enjoy some food.
‘Like a mini holiday abroad’
“I think it’s great,” said Barclay Gray, 50, from Norwich, who works at Lucy’s Fish and Chips, which is one of the market’s longest running stalls, first opening in 1971.
“It’s brought a lot more people to the market, and the market is a lot livelier.”
Any culinary cuisine that tickles your fancy is represented, and with an Egyptian food stall being given the go ahead on the waiting list, the food delights are only set to grow.
And it’s not just the stall holders that sing the praises of the new, cosmopolitan market place.
“It’s lovely food,” said Paul Walker, 53, who travels into Norwich to eat at the market, and yesterday chose Tasty House, serving Asian and Thai, for lunch.
“I eat often at the market. The prices are good. It’s like being on holiday in Thailand or Malaysia. Like a mini holiday abroad.”