A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Welcome to a new mini-series I’m writing! Over the next few blogs, I’ll tell you about some of my favourite restaurants in Leiden, what you can expect from a standard kitchen in Leiden, and a couple of recipes to try out. Food and cooking especially is a really important part of my daily life, helping me de-stress, bond with friends, and also making sure I have tasty lunches that are within my budget.
This first blog is going to look at the food stores available in Leiden. When first moving to Leiden I found the selection a little confusing, especially as I didn’t know how expensive the different supermarkets were and where to get certain products. Leiden has an amazing variety of food stores and specialist stores, including the market on Wednesday and Saturday.
Here are 5 tips to help you find the best food deals and navigate the supermarkets of Leiden with confidence! And don’t forget your re-useable shopping bags, most food shops now sell these.
The Saturday market is a great place to get food. The atmosphere is great, and the range of produce is great. I highly recommend grabbing a slice of pizza from Mauro’s stand and exploring the selection.
My favourites include the mushroom stall (where you can get 500g of delicious mushrooms for less than 2euro), and the egg stall. You can get 10 medium eggs for 2.50euro, and they accept card. The euro stalls are also amazing value, where you can get a basket of produce for only 1 euro. The selection is more eclectic, but they’re always worth a look, especially for purchasing larger quantities of items.
For your basics (pasta, rice, oil, cheese), Lidl and Aldi are very good value. Both of these also often have “special offers” that can be very interesting. Currently they both have a lot of Easter chocolates, which are definitely worth a look! Sometimes you can find very nice, luxury-style products, I like keeping an eye out for these.
In my opinion, the ZamZam supermarket in the city centre has the best spice collection. If you’re looking for something to add flavour to your cooking, I highly recommend coming to look here! There’s a whole aisle of little tubs of spices for very reasonable prices. I really like looking for ones I don’t know yet and then trying to find new recipes that use them. Their produce and olive bar are also worth a look, and sometimes they have samples! They also stock halal meat.
Albert Heijn is a little more expensive, however they have a very good (and consistent) range of goods. With their bonus kaart (which is free to sign up for) you can save money and often they have very good deals, which can make it more affordable.
If you have a specialist diet, such as gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan, Ekoplaza or Holland & Barrett have a very good selection. Both also have websites that allow you to order specific things in case you don’t have them in store. Nearly all food shops in Leiden sell plant-based milk, however for more vegan products, these stores (and Jumbo) have a good range.