Quality Food - Bargain Price

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Monday 16 February 2009 3.13pm
Leading on from JTOO's thread on store cupboard / cheap recipes, I thought it might be a good idea to swap knowledge of where to get good quality food/drink and all things edible at bargain prices in and around SE1. I'm sure that there are lots of places that have one amazing bargain. As an example the offy closest to Green Walk on Tower Bridge Road does 500ml Budvar at 1.35, was 1.20 until recently (at least 25p cheaper than any supermarket). And others where bargains are the norm eg the Middle Eastern supermarket at the junction of Southwark Park Road and St James Road. Amazing bread (60-85p) made and baked on the premises, olives (~5.99/kg), quality fresh lamb and oxtail, huge bunches of herbs including mint (that makes excellent tea) for 69p plus a huge selection of dried goods. Quite possibly my single most loved shop in the entire area. Bargains and very friendly people. (Just for the record, no connection).

So what's your favourite?

Please no postings re there's a great stall at BM that does steak at 32.99/kg. Quality I'm sure. Bargain - I'm sure not!
Tuesday 17 February 2009 9.21am
I'll add one in for Borough Market.

Before everyone screams - "surely not!?", there is actually one stall which does very good value veg on Saturday straight opposite The Market Porter pub. They sell green veg as cheap as you will find in the area (maybe East Street just pips it to the post), and good soft fruit for a 1 - though the fruit you'll need to eat it by close of play Sunday or it will go to squidgey.

I think a lot of this thrifty shopping is actually all a bit of a red herring and a ruse by the supermarkets to coin it in even more. Food can always be cheap if you think carefully around the week's menu - a roast on Sunday can turn reap rewards for a stew or a curry on Monday and Tuesday. Think fresh, think wholesome, above all think "market!" and the food bill falls away to something close to acceptable even in these times of economic woe.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 11.40am
GaryS, I agree about that stall at Borough Market. If you go toward the end of the day they reduce it even more by putting out whatever is left in combined bowls for 1 each.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 12.08pm
Salad and veg stall in Lower Marsh, outside Iceland. Run by a local guy. Buys most of his supplies wholesale at Borough Market, so same quality much more sensible prices.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 12.25pm
I have found that 'Turnips' and Elsey & Bent' in the Borough Market both sell soft fruit that goes soft and even moldy within 2 days - their fruit and vegetables is nowhere as fresh as the supermarkets or East Street Market. I gave up buying it long ago. Spitalfields Market produce is graded and the best and freshest is for the top restaurants and hotels, the next down is for smaller shops and markets and so on and the least fresh is sold much, much cheaper because it only has a few days before going off and it's my opinion it ends up in the Borough Market. Also I have never seen pre-packed fruit or vegetables in the Borough Market with a 'sell-by' date on it.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 1.39pm
Eileen, interesting post re: Turnips and Elsey & Bent - but worth pointing out that supermarket fruit and veg has more often than not been in cold store for months so needless to say whilst it won't go off as quickly as that found at the market, it most certainly ain't "fresh" in the sense of just out of the ground.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 1.39pm
Eileen, interesting post re: Turnips and Elsey & Bent - but worth pointing out that supermarket fruit and veg has more often than not been in cold store for months so needless to say whilst it won't go off as quickly as that found at the market, it most certainly ain't "fresh" in the sense of being just picked.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 2.03pm
Interesting. My experience is the opposite: Fruit and veg and meat from M&S and other supermarkets seems to go bad more quickly. I just bought some chicken from M&S last week; used half the package that day and when I tried to use the other half a couple of days later it had gone bad. And the expiration date was 20 February.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 2.14pm
The whole point of buying fruit at a market is to consume it within a day or two if ripe already. The fact is isn't packed in plastic with preserving atmosphere or a sell by date is a GOOD thing. It's up to consumers to touch and smell the fruit and vegetables to see how ripe they are. If you don't know how to do this they are really helpful in the market and may give you lots of useful advice. With a little learning the market experience far outweighs the Aldi/Tesco fresh food lottery.
Tuesday 17 February 2009 2.36pm
Yes, that's true--I generally gobble up everything I buy at BM quite quickly anyway!
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