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New to the UK and SO lost!

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  • New to the UK and SO lost!

    Hey all
    Long time lurker etc. been primal for almost a year (apart from two months while backpacking through Asia oops..)

    Anyway, I have recently moved to London from New Zealand and I am a little bit lost.
    Back home I knew all the good places to get the best meat (when is it NOT good in NZ?...), freshest cheapest veggies, coconut oil, vitamins, farmers markets...

    Here I am absolutely lost! It doesn't help that I am currently unemployed in one of the most expensive cities in the world so have to keep the budget pretty tight. Oh how I would love to do my weekly shop at Wholefoods and Borough markets....
    But I can't..yet... so I am asking all you Brits out there... where are the best (and cheapest!) places you have found for:

    Vegetables?? (some stuff here is soo expensive here I almost cry)
    Meat?? I don't think I can afford grass-fed beef. I am also really worried about hormones, antibiotics etc used over here especially in chicken ... is it bad?
    Vitamins and supplements??
    and of course coconut oil!!

    I am lucky to live near a few good Lebanese 'supermarkets' which stock a lot of nuts, spices, cheese and they seem a bit cheaper than Tescos, but the fresh produce is still expensive. And I can't find coconut cream or other products anywhere. The huge Asian/Polynesian community back home meant I could get cans for 30 cents.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Sainsburys is a pretty good all rounder. It's slightly more expensive than Tesco, but the quality is much better. They sell coconut cream and milk also. I get my coconut oil from, but most health food shops stock it.


    • #3
      Ha! I prefer Tesco! But usually, I don't go to supermarkets at all. Local markets are great.

      Hoe Street Market in Walthamstow is great and really cheap. There's a market in Soho - is it Brewer or Berwick Street? I can't remeber - but it is really good and again, very keenly priced.


      • #4
        Hi - and don't panic!!

        Personally, I think UK meat rearing isn't as factory based as the US, so I don't worry about buying "normal" meat as long as it's British. European pork can be cruelly raised, and factory chickens are still around sadly. British lamb is 99.99% likely to be outdoor reared - no one bothers bringing them in! Check the labels as always
        If you can't find a local grocer, stores like Aldi, Lidl, Netto are budget stores that are usually fine as long as you check what you're buying. You might need to pick through loose apples to get unbruised ones, for example.

        Are you signed up to Freegle? It's a forum/newsletter, local to specific areas, where people give away unwanted things. At this time of year there are lots of "come and get your own apples" or "help I've got a zillion courgettes!" posts.

        Sainsburys is a good middle road for price vs quality. Morrisons (if it has got to London?) can be hit and miss, but they claim all the meat to be British and they do have things like bones for soup, pork skins, offal...
        Co-op (and now Somerfield) are usually nice little local shops, a tad pricey but they go for Fairtrade and organic etc, if that's your thing

        Look online for box schemes, again can be pricey and I imagine in London they would be. I've used Riverford and Abel & Cole before.

        Nuts and seeds - look for a Julian Graves. They have permanent special offers, BOGOFs, etc.
        Vitamins etc I go onoline - IIRC

        Chinese supermarkets are good for frozen stuff - chicken feet, random fish, ducks.... Indian/Asian good for goat, mutton.

        Sorry this turned into an essay!!


        • #5
          hey there .. fellow kiwi now in Sydney - watch out for those Poms OK !


          • #6
            For veggies, definitely find your local market. Not sure where you are in London, but start by looking here. Markets will be cheaper, more seasonal and (IMO) tastier than the perfect looking but tasteless supermarket fayre.

            For meat, try and find a local butcher. Generally, the butcher will know the provenance of the meat and they're happy to talk about it. You can go in and see what's what. They may also have cheaper cuts that supermarkets won't sell. Their meat won't come in polystyrene packaging and should be less pumped up with water.

            Personally, I try and avoid supermarkets for anything that should be sold fresh.

            Good luck!


            • #7
              Second the butcher. Might be a good time to become accustomed to organ meats?


              • #8
                1. Use Aldi/Lidl for vegetable shopping, they're tons cheaper.
                2. Morrisons often - though not always - has a very good steak/meat section, with an 'in-house' butcher.
                3. Finding farm shops is a great idea.
                The Primal Journey of Mr and Mrs Fist


                • #9
                  I guess I've been living in London so long I havent felt it overly expensive, for two people we spend about 300 a month and that includes lunches, household stuff and Cat stuff [food and litter]. which isn't too bad at all

                  Ditto on checking out Walthamstow market. There are quite a few farmers markets in Walthamstow and also one that happens near Alexandra palace which is also a superb park/putting green/play area with fantastic views of the city.

                  Tesco aren't bad at all and if you visit one of the bigger supermarkets you can often find a real find in the "cheap section" for meat/veg that needs to be eaten that day.

                  Ginger Pig in Hackney is my next venue - meat looks superb and not too pricey either. They are grassfed and free range and have a website - take a look-see.

                  Asda Veggies are pretty good and cheap.

                  Sainsbury's quality far exceeds but if you are on a serious budget I would go for markets and tesco/Asda. A lot of the Turkish corner shops [I'm east london way] have really decent veg and cheap too, get to know your local corner shop and find out where their veg come from. They will appreciate your support and know where everything comes from. I do my bulk veggie shop from my local chap. There are quite a few asian supermarkets springing up now that are great for fish/meat and herbs as well as fishmongers which are awesomeness.

                  Get yourself a tesco clubcard, you;ll be surprised how much extra you can get. I regularly get between 6 and 9 every few months to spend on anything. Which may not seem a lot but it *is* free



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kitty View Post
                    Ginger Pig in Hackney is my next venue - meat looks superb and not too pricey either. They are grassfed and free range and have a website - take a look-see.
                    There's a Ginger Pig very close to where I work in Marylebone and the meat is absolutely excellent - I cannot recommend them highly enough.
                    They are more expensive than the supermarkets but the quality is superb. I reckon you couldn't get a better rib-eye, if you tried.


                    • #11
                      check out - there are quite a few farmers markets in london, some meat producers are very reasonably priced, plus you can get unusual cuts, organs, bones and fat!