A love letter to food in Preston

Akanksha Sarma - MBBS

Delicious food is truly one of the simplest yet most fulfilling pleasures of life. As an international student, there are often days when the familiar feeling of homesickness creeps in. This is often exacerbated by imminent exams, coursework, and long placement days. And of course, all the other difficulties life has a habit of throwing at you. Whenever this feeling pervades me, I find the simplest solution is to take a walk around Preston.

Within the first few steps, I am on the doorstep of a world of cuisines. Having lived in Singapore for most of my life, I crave the south-east-Asian ‘wok-hei’. This is a mouth-watering charred smoky flavour of tossing food in a carbon steel pan on high heat. My first stop is always Roasta, a gem imported from Hong Kong. Try something different from the usual egg-fried rice and curry sauce. Try their roast meat platter. Roasta's succulent in-house roast duck, with warm soup and smoky egg fried rice, is even better than most roast meat places in Singapore. And Singapore is the food capital of the world. As the nights get colder and the days get darker, I yearn to be wrapped up in a warm stew for which I gravitate to the Korean restaurant Kimji. The kimchi-jiggae, a spicy kimchi stew with perfectly cooked meat and nutritious veggies paired with rice. This dish is a warm blanket hugging my soul.

"I can’t always hop on an 18-hour flight home and hug my mum, but I can always walk around Preston and get a warm, familiar, and comforting embrace through Preston's beautiful homemade food."

Food in Preston01 / 03

If you’re in a more adventurous mood, try their beef bulgogi. This is barbecued steak slices with rice, a spicy pickle and a tangy dipping sauce that makes for the perfect gastronomical roller coaster. We are all familiar with the craving of a kebab and chip. I want to invite you to elevate that craving at Jaffas, another family-owned gem in the heart of Friargate. Try their grilled kofta kebabs, chicken shawarma, lamb sheesh kebabs, all made in front of your eyes on a large fiery grill. Pair the kebabs with spicy wedges and home-made houmous. You'll be transported to a Mediterranean market street with the warm scent of toasted spices wafting through the air and the joie-de-vivre of the locals.

All the restaurants I have mentioned are the perfect antidote for all any cravings. However, there is only one true cure for homesickness – food my mum has cooked. Unfortunately, that is a distant possibility given that she lives in an entirely different country. I must then take matters in my own hands and cook myself. To replicate my mums cooking I need ingredients from as close as home as possible. The best place to find those more ‘exotic ingredients’ is Kashmir Watan and Far East Oriental. Kashmir Watan is your one-stop-shop for all Indian, Pakistani, and middle eastern ingredients. They carry an incredible array of halal meat, spices, and readymade meals that can rival any local market in India.

Far East Oriental on Moor Lane is a window into south-east-Asia. Stocking niche snacks, sauces, noodles, and meat from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam. When your wallet starts feeling light and that feeling of homesickness is pervasive, these shops for a hearty homecooked meal are a must visit. I can’t always hop on an 18-hour flight home and hug my mum, but I can always walk around Preston and get a warm, familiar, and comforting embrace through Preston's beautiful homemade food.

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