Ridley Road Market
I probably do most of my shopping for my “African” stuff here. I often joke that there is nothing I couldn’t possibly buy in Ridley Road or aka Dalston market, whether under the counter or over the counter. My favourite stall holder is a loud man from Ghana, who was busted a few years ago for selling under the counter bush meat illegally brought into the UK. Unlike most Londoners, he can actually proudly walk the streets of East London, in the knowledge that he had been a star, all be it an infamous one, on a BBC documentary about illicit bush meat sales in London. Smoked goats or smokies as they are known in the UK can be found easily if you know the right people in this market.
There are some ingredients such as Puna yam for yam balls, Alasa for Alasa Lassi, cocoyam leaves for Kontomire and various spices that I can only find at reasonable prices in this market. Meat vendors and fishmongers will vie for your attention with an assortment of goodies to roast, fry or cook. Cosmetics, hair extensions, cookware, Nollywood movies, African fabrics, clothing and fresh fruit and vegetables can all be found in this market. £1.00 is usually the going rate for big bowls of fruits and vegetables.
In my basket:
My last two trips led to making a salad, a duck egg omelette, strawberries and yam balls. As this market is only a short distance away from my office, I brought back a meat and vegetable samosa to munch on. It was a tad bit too oily for my liking, but the vendor threw in some free onion bhajis so no hard feelings. My favourite moment so far was meeting and interviewing Julia a third generation egg vendor on Ridley Road Market. Not only did she have a great story, but quail and duck eggs I bought from her were used in creating some unforgettable dishes.
Ridley Road Market Location: This market which started with about 20 stall holders in 1880 now has just under 200 stalls. Ridley Road, London, E8 2NP (Opposite Dalston Kingsland train station)
Website: Ridley Road Market or Dalston Market