Joined: 07 Jul 2006 Posts: 7 Location: Cambridge, MA
Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:47 pm Post subject:
I lived in Galway a few years ago and found it hard to eat fresh food. For example, I worked at a health food cafe called food for thought (on lower abbeygate st) and the idea of health food was what americans would call comfort food: lasagna, casseroles, and irish breakfasts. There were a few ways to eat well there though, but it was expensive. There is a grocery store in Andrew Square in the middle of town, but make the trek to the edge of downtown to Tesco. They have a much bigger selection. If you'll have a car, get out of town to farm stands for produce. I never knew of a farmers market in galway. There are a few restaurants that serve truly delightful food, such as ard bia, but most restaurants serve glorified pub food, which gets old after a while.
I remember talking to Irish people about the difference between an irish salad and an american one, telling them that ours might have frisee and mesclun field greens, nuts, fruits or dried cranberries, and not much dressing. theirs have the white ends of romaine heads, canned corn kernals, a few strips of onion and mayo on top. My irish friends have a hard time believing that american food is lighter and healthier than theirs.
there are tiny health food stores all over galway where you can buy supplements and some things like flax seed and quinoa, but they don't sell produce. While i lived there i bought frozen strawberries and blueberries at the grocery store and made a smoothie with yogurt and soymilk everday. its a hard place to eat well, especially if you are a vegetarian, but there are plenty of wonderful places to walk off your fish and chips calories. I hope you have a wonderful time getting settled over there!
Joined: 07 Jul 2006 Posts: 7 Location: Cambridge, MA
Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:54 pm Post subject:
me again... i just realized i was wrong about the farmers markets..
as you are walking down shop st away from eyre sq, one block past abbeygate st, there's a small alleyway going diagonally off to the right at the point where shop street becomes high st (right by the collegiate church of st nicholas). they have a market on saturday morning i think. its not just a farmers' market, there are lots of gifts and crafts sold there too. I remember some great artisinal cheeses were sold there and some produce vendors were their as well. good luck!
I certainly am facing a challenge, hopefully fresh produce is more available since your stay. I plan to check out the smaller towns on market days perhaps they will have a selection.
Sorry, but have to agree that fresh produce was almost impossible to buy in west of Ireland. Just arrived back a few days ago from 2 months in Co Mayo. Was dying for salad and vegetables.
Had the same salad experience - except I only ever saw iceberg lettuce in the ones I ordered.
If you like carrots, potatoes and cabbage you will be fine.... same for apples, bananas and tomatoes.
On the few days I went to Wesport they had a (very) tiny market and you could buy organic cabbage, potatoes and carrots just for a change Dublin across to Westport was all pretty much the same foodwise.
Most of the food was hearty, stodgy, tasty, but a heart attack in the making. Even ordering grilled fish was an ordeal as all fish was battered and fried everywhere I went. I tried to order a dish without the onion gravy in one restaurant - and it came out with no gravy but loads of fried onions instead.... and I cannot eat onion......
Having said that, if you go to Wesport try the restaurant called Twigs which is in the high street. The only place I found which served fresh, interesting meals without layers of fat and creamy sauces. Would definately go there again.
As stated above, there is a nice shopping district in Galway, but I found it difficult to find the ingredients that I wanted. Later found out that the other people had brought their supplies from home (other countries) and most of their luggage allowance was in simple things such as spices, couscous, black beans, etc. Wish I had known this before I left Paris.
It is a lovely part of the country though, and you will have a great time there. Maybe you might need to start a small garden for your fresh food needs? _________________ If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Joined: 14 Oct 2005 Posts: 827 Location: Oakland, CA
Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:23 pm Post subject:
Try the March issue of Saveur magazine. Most of the issue focuses on Irish cooking, food products, restaurants and markets. We did not go to Galway when we were there, but there were some sidebars in the magazine about Galway. Would highly recommend it. Here's a link to the back issues page at Saveur.
Joined: 31 Jul 2006 Posts: 24 Location: Island of Ireland
Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:56 pm Post subject: Moving to West of Ireland
I have just recently come across 'C & Z' whilst googling for something else and found this post about Irish food very interesting, which prompted me to join the message group. I do hope MaryJ hasn't relocated just yet - or if she has, she is online in Galway!
Although I live on the East coast, rather than the West, I feel I have to come to the defense of Irish cuisine and availability of fresh produce. Yes, there are plenty of fast food outlets (MacDonalds, KFC's etc - where did they come from?!) and of course 'chippers' - fish and chip shops which include battered sausages, pasties and even Mars bars on their menus! But the trend is to eat much healthier with an abundance of healthy options available virtuallly everywhere including vegetarian and organic foods. A good source of information relevant to Galway is www.galway.net Fresh seafood is widely available especially in a sea port like Galway. I do hope you get a chance to visit this well known pub - a great spot - www.moransoystercottage.com
I do agree with Elizabeth that Irish salads are served very differently to those in US where they are normally a starter (I have travelled within the US and Canada both east and west coasts). However, in my local supermarket today I counted no less than a dozen different variations of bagged fresh salad leaves Italian, Mediterranean, herb varieties, etc), - as well as whole lettuce including round, little gem, romaine, iceberg). The range of bottled dressing is huge - a far cry from the days when I got my friends in the US to post me Kraft Golden and Creamy caesar! Now Paul Newman graces our shelves!
Debbie, I have stayed in Westport many times - there are some good restaurants near the harbour. However, it is a small Irish market town, so the variety of food available would be more limited than in a large town or city which has supermarkets.
If any of you visit this part of Ireland do include our Seafood Pub of the Year, one of my 'locals' - there are't many battered fish served here - www.pier36.co.uk Have a look at the menu and I think you will find it not the Irish stodge you might imagine! _________________ Yesterday is history...
Tomorrow's a mystery...
Today is a gift...
That's why they call it the present ....
Joined: 14 Dec 2004 Posts: 57 Location: boston, the home of the bean and the cod
Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:24 am Post subject:
Having spend enormous amounts of time in the west of Ireland for the past 30 years ( actually 30 years ago this week, I was coming home to Boston after having spent summer there) I have to tell you that the food nowadays is a million times better than it was in 1976. My husband and I have been several times in the past few years and we have never had a bad meal, including Galway and Kinsale. Many times we will go to the supermarket and gather ingrediants for a picnic for twilight time, but vegetables are plentiful and hearty and fish is to die for. In Spiddal, outside Galway, try Boilusce, a lovely seafood restaraunt. Clifden there is a great place on the shop street, that you go downstairs to, but the name escapes me, might be across the street from Mannions. In general, soups are good, they will cook anything plain for you and not fried, and go easy on Irish breakfast. I usually have tea and brown bread versus rashers, eggs and sausage. Wish we could go with you, but am already planning next year's visit! _________________ "Nobody can teach you how to make the perfect cup of tea. It just happens over time. Wearing cashmere helps of course."
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