Last updated on April 27th, 2013 | Written By Darren
Tour around Leeds Kirkgate Market
Leeds Kirkgate Market is an object of discussion for a lot of citizens of Leeds, good and bad alike. For the uninitiated it can appear daunting – so here’s my virtual tour of the great food stalls I love and shop at every week. Starting in the oldest part of the market, entering opposite the Victoria Quarter and turning right:
Buying rubbish Greggs sandwiches every day for work? Thinking to yourself ‘Why?’ (and then, ‘ugh’). Pop over to this lovely little deli and grab a few slices of whatever takes your fancy for your lunchtime grub: turkey, beef, Serrano (and just a few other types) ham, Spanish sausages, little pasties…it goes on. You can get Italian import pasta and great Polish bread here too.
The Nut Shop
If you bake or snack, you will know The Nut Shop. Stacked from top to bottom in brazils, walnuts, dried apricots, sultanas, cranberries, chocolate drops and a myriad more things in paper bags, this is the place to go before you snatch something out of the queue at M&S. For culinary cake-makers, their range of tins, decorations, ingredients and toppers is to die for.
Making your way down slightly and to the left, onto Butchers Row:
B & J Callard
Maybe not one for the vegetarians, but carnivores should delight in Leeds Butchers Row. Steak, lamb chops, beef mince, ox tongue, liver, kidneys, sausages you could use as doorstoppers, joints to feed a hungry family and barbeque ribs are just some of the wonderful produce on display. Don’t forget to ask about what you’re buying: the butchers here are friendly, helpful, and always help you get as much meat for your moolah.
Turning right before the end of Butchers Row and winding round the newer section to the location of:
Tony Banks Grocers
Just like butchers, the choice of grocers in the market is huge. My personal favourite is Tony Banks. Give them a tenner and you’ll get more veg than you can carry, and their knowledge of seasonality knows no bounds. As well as exotic fruits you’ll find English apples and pears, bright pink rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries, and root vegetables that will form your entire diet for the winter months.
Exiting the other way and finding yourself on Fish Row:
S Myers Fishmongers
A lot of people are squeamish about fish. But if you’re a seafood lover, Leeds Kirkgate Market will thrill you. From the bizarre and beautiful – squid still covered in ink, lobsters flailing in their little rubber handcuffs – to the stalwart and economical, Fish Row really does what it says on the tin. As always, the traders are more than happy to offer advice and give you a variety of ways to finish your fish: top and tailed, gutted, filleted, scrape down, skinned. Unsure of what I’m blathering about? Ask one of the lads down at Kirkgate!
Back up Fish Row to the older section of the market, in a central location:
Firth and Payne Bakers
Right, we’ve rocketed round the market and picked up enough chow for the next week. You deserve a little break. Aside from all the friendly and gob-smackingly cheap greasy-spoons in the market, where you can get a cup of tea you can drown in, this little baker is lovely for a little afternoon pick me up. Muffins, millionaire’s shortbread, buns, cream cakes and biscuits line the shelves. Don’t drool on the glass; just pick up a treat (or two) and a few breadcakes for your sandwiches next week.
Shop local and support Leeds Kirkgate Market
As you can see, Kirkgate Market is a great place to find your weekly shop at a much better price than the supermarkets, much better quality, and – even better than that – great advice and banter with the traders. And that’s just the food: don’t forget the clothes, hair and beauty, household, textiles, and everything else. Take your time, explore the place, and support your local market!
Eleanor Snare is a contributing writer on numerous websites in Leeds, and studies part time at Leeds University. She can be found on her blog. She is also a member of Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market who support traders and help improve the Market.