Right now, Londoners can put a greater variety of stuff on our tables than in almost any other place or time in history. So don't settle for another Tesco quiche; join us as we make a grocery list of our culinary diversity. Happy foraging.
57 Camden High Street
50p per pieróg; 60p for soured cream.
We have long expected pierogi — or one of their Slavic relatives — to proliferate in London and slowly become assimilated into the British diet, but somehow it hasn't happened. The Polish populations are well in place, as are the polskie sklepy, delicatessens, and restaurants sprinkled throughout the city. And consider the dish: large pasta shells, outweighing even the most hearty of ravioli, stuffed with (in the common ruskie variety) mash and farmer's cheese. They're equally tasty boiled or pan fried. By all rights they should be recognised by the British palate as the perfect food. We blame the Daily Mail and all of their anti-Polish campaigns.
Maybe the immigrants know something we don't, but we've found fresh pierogi fiendishly difficult to procure, to the point of even trying to make our own from scratch (it didn't go well). Frozen brands can be found in some sklepy, but these don't do justice. Fortunately, Red Pig opened last year in Camden Town to further the invasion. It's a brilliant delicatessen, stocking everything from assorted kielbasa sausages to an entire wall of biscuits, with a small café downstairs. The prices are very good and the staff happy to offer translations.
Red Pig do sell frozen dumplings in various forms, but they also make their own pierogi on site. They ordinarily offer two varieties: ruskie stuffed with mash and cheese, and kapusta, spiced sauerkraut. You can sample these in the café, but you can just as easily take a bag home and boil or pan fry them yourself. However you cook them, they're best served with soured cream and apple sauce. Red Pig sells soured cream, called śmietana, that is suitably thicker than the British style, but you'll have to look elsewhere for the apple sauce. Tuck into a half dozen of these (grand total £3) and you'll be thanking the Eurocrats for opening the borders. In fact, you might start thinking about migrating yourself.