The archaic charm and quaintness of York is something that has enticed people to its streets from far and wide across the globe. The city is a wondrous tapestry of Gothic architecture and Medieval heritage from past times, laced with independent eateries, quirky shops and fascinating museums and galleries from the modern world. It is a place where two spheres collide.
Perhaps one of the most iconic spots to visit in York is The Shambles – a cluster of streets where higgledy-piggledy buildings still boast the overhanging timber-frames and small lead windows typical of the Middle Ages. It’s here where the Shambles Market nests, which is a haven of extraordinary crafts, artisan produce, and most importantly, a miscellany of fine foods and cuisines.
We took some time to explore its aisles, and get to know the little kitchens dishing out top nosh to those that descend upon the Shambles Market.
This street food stall strays not too far from its sister, which has a permanent home a couple of streets away on The Shambles. The Shambles Kitchen shop, which has been labelled as one of the top places to eat in York, specialises in sandwiches of every kind; from the 10-hour slow-cooked pulled pork bun, to the Cajun halloumi wrap, with meaty specials that rotate on a daily basis.
Their food stall at the Shambles Food Court, however, offers the mouths at the market a little something different to devour. Identifying as a burrito smokehouse, these Mexican wraps attract all the attention they deserve. For meat munchers you can choose from Smoked Pork Pibil, Harissa Chicken, or Beef Brisket Barbacoa – a personal favourite –, and the Yucatan Jackfruit option means vegans and veggies don’t have to miss out either. Each burrito is packed with paprika rice, zingy salads and homemade guacamole and sauces, and only knocks you back £8 at most! Plus, if you’re coeliac, they offer gluten-free burrito bowls, so you can savour the flavours of Shambles Kitchen minus the wrap.
If you fancy a bite that is savoury or sweet, Krep are here to answer all your lunchtime prayers. Serving from the hatch of a vintage Citroen HY these French foodies offer an extensive menu, dishing out the finest galettes (savoury crêpe) and crêpes in Yorkshire, gourmet style, to make you forget about every boring ham and cheese pancake you’ve eaten before.
The Chèvre Galette combines goats cheese, matured ham, beetroot and sundried tomatoes, while the Hummus option uses homemade hummus, avocado, pickled onion, sundried tomatoes and greens to satisfy the plant-based palettes out there. On the sweeter side, their special Dulce Salèe crêpe comes filled with Dulce de Leche and sea salt, if you really want to push the boat out. All their dishes can be made gluten or dairy free, and don’t break the bank, costing £6 or less. The Krep boys also serve fairly-sourced coffee from Yorkshire roasters, Roost Coffee, showing their support for local independent businesses.
Nukkad Indian Street Food
The name of this food stall translates to ‘street corner’ in Hindi, and every thoroughfare in India has a nukkad which provides a place for locals to hangout and socialise over freshly-made street food. Their stall in Shambles Market exists to do the exact same, by transporting the essence of Indian cooking to the cobbled streets of York.
These guys adopt a build-your-own method where you mix and match the ingredients, and watch the creation take form in front of your eyes. First you select a base from either a Dosa, a traditional South Indian pancake made from rice and lentils, a Kathi Roll, which is an Indian flatbread, or a salad bowl. Then you decide which filling you’re feeling, from Dhaba Chicken and Railway Canteen Lamb to Spiced Potato and the Nukkad Special Paneer for veggies. Why not try one of their Chaats as a starter or side? An authentic Indian savoury snack and coming in at only £3.50 – you can’t beat it.
If it’s genuine Italian street food you desire, then Pizzoli’ have you covered. Owner Antonio was born in a small town on the slopes of the Etna Volcano, Sicily, and the production of flour and pasta makes up a lot of his family heritage, so you could say he knows a thing or two about real Sicilian cooking.
Antonio’s talents are exhibited in bread in all its forms; from his speciality pizzolo, which is a flat bread pizza that can be filled with a variety of ingredients, to traditional focaccias topped with red onions, olives, caciocavallo cheese and sundried tomatoes. Pizzoli’ also proffer homemade lasagne, as though dismissed straight from a Sicilian kitchen, and if you fancy something a little lighter, sample their arancini balls. These risotto croquettes can be filled with ham and cheese, ragu, or four cheeses, and they’re absolutely delicious.