Kirkgate Market

Written by Nadia Hartanto

If anyone were to ask me, where’s my favourite place in Leeds.. Leeds’ Kirkgate Market will definitely be at the top of the list!

This beautiful marketplace is crowned the largest indoor and outdoor market in the whole of Europe, how cool is that! The exterior and interior of the market are also something to boast about. Its grand architecture stands out in the middle of the city despite it being only a marketplace. Enter through the entrance and you’ll be greeted with a sight you’ll love. Colourful stalls each selling their specialities clustered together, and not forgetting Kirkgate’s iconic pillar beams running through the middle of the hall.

When you enter through the entrance beside the modern and newly built John Lewis, you’ll smell the tentalising aroma of Café Moor’s couscous and sweet homemade baklawa. I can never resist getting a cheeky snack before making my way further into the market.

It doesn’t take me long before I make my first stop – Oliver’s Quality Fruits. You can buy all the seasonal fruits at a much discounted price compared to supermarkets. A punnet of strawberries can cost £3 in the supermarkets but only £1 here! What a bargain! The fruit stalls inside the halls are pricier than the ones in the outdoors market, and I’ll get to that in a moment, however the quality tends to be slightly better and you can shop in comfort without being exposed to the elements of the unpredictable English weather.

Making my way to my next favourite place in the market, there’s plenty to see and browse. There really is something for everyone! Clothes, mattresses, pillows, cupboard supplies such as canned food, crisps and chocolates (again at a heavily discounted price!!), meat, fish – anything you can think of, Kirkgate has it!

There are speciality supermarkets as well. The Chinese supermarket (Hang Sing Hong) is situated 5 minutes away at Vicar Lane, but inside the market you can find the Polish supermarket and stalls selling Caribbean ingredients!

Now, it’s time to introduce you to my second favourite place in the market. The food hall, with a beautiful Owl (the official mascot of Leeds) adorning the huge wall! The food hall is fairly new to Leeds, being only 2-3 years old compared to the long standing history of the market. I love it here because it’s absolutely bustling with people and great food. Putting two and two together, you can’t find a better combination! I get my Vietnamese fix from Banh&Mee. Their spring rolls, salads and rice boxes are really good value for money and most importantly, YUMS! When I’m craving for something that reminds me of my holiday in America, I head to Fat Annie’s and grab their hot dogs – that always does the trick. The next time I’m here, I’ll try the ever famous Yorkshire pudding wrap! Sounds amazing? I think so too!

Walking through the doors behind the food hall, you will arrive at my favourite place of the market. The outdoors market! I describe it as a year-long bazaar and fleamarket! There’s random knick knacks, shoes, caps, socks, clothes, luggages, old books and antiques – I recommend taking some time to browse around, it’s amazing what you can find there!

Right at the back of the market is where I normally do my grocery shopping. I get most of my fresh vegetables and fruits from here, the prices are shockingly lower than anywhere else! On good shopping days I can score a 3 punnet of strawberries (or whatever seasonal fruit) for £1 bargain! Jaw dropping prices indeed!

The shop owners are very cheeky and friendly too, it’s always fun having a banter with them. Having gone here almost every week, I’ve gotten to know where is the best stall to buy which products. For example, the bananas are best at the corner stall near John Lewis, the strawberries are best at the one beside that. However, I won’t reveal too much – I want you to discover it yourself!

After a full trip around the market, it’s time for the part where I dread the most: carrying all these heavy goods home. Before road works started in Leeds, I used to take the £1 city bus straight to the doorstep of my house. However, as Leeds started developing – it was put on hiatus indefinitely. I guess it’s the world’s way of telling me to exercise more then!

Author

Nadia Hartanto
I’m Nadia and I am currently in my final year studying Food Science and Nutrition. With the School of Food Science and Nutrition ranked first in the ‘Sunday Times University Guide’...
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