London is known for its multicultural verve. Cuisines from all over the world can be found in England’s capital city, which is regarded as a cultural melting pot, and that includes its cuisine. So here’s our list of the best places to buy authentic West African ingredients in London.
The UK is home to around a million adults born in Africa. Although these new settlers and their families have integrated into their adopted society and enjoy the multitude of cuisines from the diverse cultures that London is known for, craving a taste of home is something experienced by all. Ingredients from Cameroon to Senegal can be found in different neighbourhoods across the city. And the siren call of jollof rice keeps the fire in many kitchens burning. But where do you go if you’re looking to recreate one of these sought-after cuisines away from home?
Here’s a list of the best places to buy authentic West African ingredients in London whenever that craving for good home cooking comes calling.
Barking is located in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in East London. It is serviced by the District line, Hammersmith & City line and the C2C National rail, and buses which run to and from the surrounding areas, and all the way to central London. There are a good number of shops, as well as the local market at the town centre where West African ingredients can be bought. This comes as no surprise given the active West African community in the town. Food supplies such as yam, plantain, cassava, garri, okro, peppers, live snails, garden egg (aubergine), egusi seeds, dried stock fish, crayfish, and even more seasonal fruits such as agbalumo (also known as the African star apple) and sherry mango can be found in specialist shops. In addition to the local shops, independent sellers at Barking Market itself, which runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, sell a variety of West African ingredients for anyone looking to recreate a taste of home. The market is situated at East Street, a five-minute walk from the train station.
The Africa Shopping Centre is located on Electric Avenue in Brixton. Although similar to the other groceries in the shopping centre, the Africa Shopping Centre itself is unique because of the speciality of West African ingredients it provides for its customers. It is known for having a wider choice of foods from smaller African communities such as the Ivorian attieké (a side dish made from fermented cassava pulp), which is not easily found elsewhere.
The range of West African foods and beverages at this store is worthy of note. From alligator pepper, jumbo, pounded iyan, a vast variety of peanut paste, ogi, okra, garri, attiéké, and vegetables particular to West Africa such as potato leaf, bitter leaf, scent leaf, can all be found at this grocery store. In addition to these, African masks, bowls, hats and pearls can be found on sale here.
Kumasi Central Market sells a variety of West African food and ingredients. You’ll find all you need to cook the local delicacies that conjure the memory of home for many West Africans in the capital. Living in north London and craving banku? Then Kumasi Central Market is arguably the best place in north London to get cassava dough and fermented corn.
Olumo Foods is a family-run business specializing in the best quality African and Caribbean groceries from around the world. Based out of Darlington, UK, they deliver all around the country with a 24-hour shipping time as long as supplies are ordered before 1pm. For locals living in the Darlington area, pick up from their warehouse is also an option. They sell every West African ingredient you can think of, and even have their own brand of ata agoyin, a special delicacy of very spicy sauce from Nigeria that is usually eaten with beans.
For those conscious of sustainability and the environment, you’ll be happy to know that they use recyclable material to pack their frozen produce such as cuts of meat and fish. Their shipping fee is £10 given their 24 hours shipping time, which comes with up-to-the-minute transit information. Wholesale and bulk-buying options are also available.
Afro Express aims to deliver hard-to-find ingredients and authentic African meals, making it accessible for all. Customers are able to shop from West African grocers and chefs nearby, which Afro Express then picks up and delivers to their door.
Both typical and really obscure West African ingredients and foods such as kuli kuli and uda can be ordered from the e-tailer. They also supply to businesses, cater for events, deliver to private customers and offer a care package to university students across the country.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.