And I would walk 500 miles to Leith

Ok, we didn’t walk, on Saturday we drove into Leith. I wanted to see what it was like to drive around Edinburgh and also to check out the food shops in Leith.

Driving would probably have been more straightforward without all the diversions caused by the tram works but the only time we hit any traffic was on Queen Street. I didn’t mind so much as I got a good chance to look at Queen Street gardens which I will take the little one to next time we visit by train. We found Leith fairly easily.

On this trip we went to two Asian shops:

Rajah’s supermarket 33 Albert Street  Abbeyhill, Edinburgh EH7 5LH  tel: 0131 555 1619

There was a lot of double parking on this street but further up we easily found a place to park. Unfortunately, this is probably where our car was damaged so I wouldn’t recommend parking here. If you do park, fold your mirrors in so that some eejit doesn’t hit them.

The shop has a very small front but there is a lot in this shop. A butchers, a cloth department downstairs selling material for salwar kameez and a large section at the back selling frozen and dried ingredients. The veg near the entrance was tired looking and in some cases mouldy. This was a shame as they had things like tindora and drumsticks but I wouldn’t waste my money on it.

We didn’t spend much time in the dress department as it was mostly for those who want to make punjabi suits. They did have a few ready made items but unfortunately, nothing in our sizes. There were also quite a lot of  bangles and other Indian accessories.

The dried ingredients section is extensive and not overly expensive. I was super pleased to get some normal strength chili powder. It’s a bit hard to walk around as there is not much space between the shelves and the freezers situated in the centre of the aisles. A little boy kept getting in my way and I was tempted to put him into the empty freezer!

When we went to pay we chatted to the friendly owner. He used to live in Uphall which is in Livingston and said he was happy to deliver to North Livingston….not sure he heard when I said a couple of times that that was great but we lived in South Livingston!

My overall impression of the store is that is a bit grubby but if you are after dried ingredients it’s definitely worth a visit.

Polypak Continental Foods 336c LEITH WALK, Edinburgh, Scotland EH6 5BR tel: 01315 535711

www: don’t bother as it’s not working.

Before going into the city I looked up shops and decided to visit Polypack  on Piershill Place. However, as we drove to Leith I saw this shop called Polypak. According to the cashier the one on Leith Walk is the original one. They used to run the one in Piershill Place too but have sold that off and the new owners kept the name with a slightly different spelling Polypack vs Polypak.

The veg in Polypak was better looking that in Rajah’s however, yet again not much choice. I picked up some okra. The helpful cashier explained that they used to stock guar and valor but there wasn’t much demand and the veg would go off. I could either get the frozen stuff or they could order some fresh in for me. She called over the manager who told me the cost, which I would have to pay upfront a few days beforehand and then take the whole box. The price for a whole box wasn’t bad but paying upfront is not practical when we live in Livingston and he couldn’t guarantee the quality. So for now, I am just going to try frozen.

This shop is really clean, there is plenty of space to walk in the aisles and a separate well stocked freezer section. I walked away with some more dried spices, frozen paratha and guar and hubby picked up a tray of barfi.

We finished out day playing in Pilrig park (loads of parking on this street but remember, fold your mirrors) and then some yummy coffee and home made Moroccan baklava in Eco’s cafe.

I like Leith Walk with it’s mix of food shops, cafes and other interesting shops – I am planning to go back by train (with the Proclaimers playing on my shuffle) to visit the Sewing Bee Cafe for lessons and the Elvis Shakespeare  shop (FAB name!!!). With regard to food shops, there are some Chinese supermarkets to visit which I saw with a quick glance stocked Asian spices and some veg too. And who knows I may venture further afield to see what the other Polypack is like.


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