An International Student of Literature in England.
Food shopping at UEA: a very fascinating article that will teach you how to survive university while not going bankrupt after two months!
I think this article will be particularly useful to foreign students who don’t know which are the main shops in England and where to get good deals because this is how I felt at the start of last year. I was in a new country, I didn’t know Norwich, I needed food and had no idea where to go. Google Maps exists, thank goodness!
There are quite a few places where you can go shopping in Norwich, in the city centre or closer to the campus. However, one thing to consider is how far you’re actually ready to go when you have to carry heavy bags. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a friend who has a car.
I actually liked going shopping because it meant I had to force myself to eat healthily and to learn how to cook! Now these things seem easy and obvious to me but at first, I had no idea how much money I should spend on food nor how much I’d need for a week.
I always went to Aldi because it’s quite close to the village (15-20 minutes walk, north of the campus). It’s quite small but they have almost everything and their products are VERY cheap! They don’t really have any of the big and famous brands but they have substitutes for everything and the quality isn’t that bad in my opinion. They even sell a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit which aren’t too expensive. However, choose carefully: I saw mouldy vegetables there once or twice. This is disgusting but everything there is so cheap. The only bothering thing is that fruit and vegetables come in packs. So yeah, basically you can get everything there: bread, croissants, tins, pasta, noodles, crisps, frozen food, fresh food, meat, toiletries, alcohol, dairy products… I’d go shopping once a week and usually paid about £25 for everything but that’s because I’m vegetarian: meat is quite expensive.
Unfortunately, Aldi is further away if you live on campus. There’s Tesco Express on Earlham Road but it’s a very small one and it’s more expensive there. However, it’s very convenient if you ever get food cravings in the middle of the night as they’re open 24/7! I’d go there at night to get Pringles to celebrate the end of me writings essays, haha.
The campus shop sells a lot of different products too and even some fresh vegetables but there isn’t that much and it can get quite expensive unfortunately! Like Tesco, it’s very convenient and can save you when you realise you have nothing left to eat at all. The campus shop is where they sell meal deals in case you get lazy or don’t have time to cook 😛 . Oh and they sell Asian food now I think and sandwiches which (I think) are prepared there (the spicy bean burger is yummy!). They used to sell baguettes but they may have stopped now… But do not cry yet! They sell huge baguettes in Waitrose too for only £1! (Ah French people…)
Waitrose is far from the main campus (like 30 minutes) but my boyfriend would always drag me there because their vegetables and fruit were fresher! He was right though, and they had lots of things they didn’t sell in Aldi (Heinz tins and Reggae Reggae sauce for instance). Waitrose is super expensive and full of older people — I never saw any other young person or student there haha. So if you get anything there apart from vegetables, choose very carefully or take out a loan. Study the prices and read all the labels if you don’t want to be forced to eat rice for the rest of the year! I’m not even kidding.
These are the main shops I know of. There’s also an Asda but it’s quite far. You can go to Sainsbury’s in the city centre although that means paying for the bus fare so I don’t know if it’s really worth it.
For students who want to try something different or who want to eat what they find in Asia, my Malaysian friends told me about an Asian food market somewhere in Norwich!
So these are the main shops in Norwich and in the UK! I hope this helps when you move to UEA and are overwhelmed by tons of other things. 🙂