Although Welsh culture is proud and deeply ingrained within everyday life in Wales, there are a lot of international communities that have set up home across the country and brought exciting new businesses and food with them.
Wales is lucky enough to be able to celebrate influences from all over the world in its restaurants. Take the Italian cafes you’ll find in every South Wales town – many of them date back to the early 19th Century when families moved over from Italy in the hopes of finding more work and better living conditions. Some of the best Mediterranean food to this day comes from those cafes and small restaurants. More recently, immigration has seen a boost through international students arriving to study all across Wales and bring parts of their culture to us. These are some of the most unmissable world foods from all across Wales.
Cardiff is undoubtedly the multicultural hub of Wales. It’s got the highest non-white population of the whole country and offers the most restaurants, so naturally there’s a lot to find in the city. A walk down the central City Road is enough to see the influences from across the world. From Japanese sushi to Middle Eastern shawarma and Bangladeshi grocery shops, there’s a wealth of global food to try.
Le Mandela Hailed as delivering the comfort of home-cooked meals in a vibrant atmosphere, Le Mandela in Grangetown is the place to go for West and Southern African cuisine. They cover a broad range of traditional dishes including favourites jollof rice, ogbono soup and ayamase or ‘designer stew’, but the standout dish is the grilled croaker fish. 156 Penarth Road, Cardiff, CF11 6NJ. www.lemandela.co.uk
Nata & Co
If you’ve had a wander around central Cardiff recently, you’ve probably walked by a Nata & Co. bakery. The authentic Portuguese company has been rapidly growing over the past few years and has even expanded out to Bath. Their hero products are definitely the pastel de nata, or egg custard tarts, which are made on-site each day. If you can catch them just after being baked, a warm one is an extra special treat. The cafés also serve a range of pastries and cakes as well as lovely Portuguese coffee. 3 Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS www.nataco.uk
Wally’s Deli – Viennese Kaffeehaus Take a trip to Vienna with Wally’s Deli. Downstairs, the shop is filled with deli foods from lots of different countries, but head upstairs and you’ll find a quaint little Viennese Kaffeehaus! Wally’s brings the Viennese coffee house culture to Cardiff with a selection of continental breakfasts, open sandwiches, and gorgeous cakes and patisseries. Wally’s Delicatessen, 38-46 Royal Arcade Cardiff, CF10 1AE www.wallysdeli.co.uk
A little taste of Denmark in the heart of Cardiff, Brød is a cosy coffee shop and bakery serving up freshly baked Danish goods. Proud winners of the Cardiff Life awards in 2016 and 2017, and a Britain’s Best Loaf winner in 2019, you are bound to find the perfect baked good to give you the perfect sense of hygge. 126 Wyndham Crescent, Cardiff/Caerdydd, CF11 9EG www.thedanishbakery.co.uk
Bread & Salt Explore the extraordinary menu of Polish delicacies at Bread & Salt – branch out and try some things you’ve never heard of like their Gulasz (a spiced beef and chicken stew), Devolay (breaded chicken roulade stu ed with cheese), or Leczo (vegetable stew), but if you’re not feeling like branching out, stick to a classic like their potato pancakes! 155 Cowbridge Rd East, Cardiff, CF11 9AH www.breadandsaltcardiff.uk
Yakiniku Yakiniku specialises in authentic Japanese and Korean cuisine. At their restaurant, each table is set up with a cooking station right in the middle for you to cook your own food just to your liking! Customers can chose from cuts of meat such as beef, pork, or ox to cook on the grill. If that’s not your thing, there’s still a range of other options to choose from such as noodle and rice dishes that will be cooked for you. Cae Graw, Newport Road,St. Mellons, Cardiff, CF3 2WH www.seoulhaus.com/restaurant
Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea are all home to a thriving Caribbean community, although Swansea can boast some of the most loved restaurants. It dates back to the Windrush generation, when Jamaican people came over after the war. Port Talbot offered jobs in the steelworks and Swansea had space for healthcare workers. Since then, the Jamaican people have become a strong part of the community.
Jamaican Jill’s Bernie Davies is a bit of an exception. A former lawyer in Jamaica, she initially moved to North England, but completely fell for Wales after visiting. She took the plunge and moved to Cardiff, and then over to Neath after buying a restaurant there. Jamaican Jill’s serves traditional Caribbean food using Welsh ingredients. It’s loved by the community and has opened up another restaurant in Swansea. Try the signature goat curry for an authentic flavour. 55 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5PY. Call 01792 517762 to enquire
The Whole Earth Thai Bistro Just off the main high street in Monmouth is a little taste of Thailand. Owner Prae Hamilton moved to the UK in 1996 and brought the cooking of her home country to life in the Whole Earth Thai Bistro. Hailed as having some of the friendliest service in the area, the bistro has expanded its menu to include a few British favourites as well, although the signature is the chicken Penang curry – try it with jasmine rice. 10 White Swan Court, Monmouth, NP25 3NY. Call 01600 715555 to book
Gurkha Corners Don’t want to stray your taste buds too far from your usual Indian takeaway? Why not head next door to Nepal and try the Nepalese food at Gurkha Corner for similar food with a twist. 10 Nevill St, Abergavenny, NP7 5AD gurkhacorners.com
Latinos Restaurant Latinos is a family run business based in Aberystwyth, offering alternative flavours to the people of West Wales. The food has Latin American and Spanish influences, and meat and vegetables are prepared on the grill. Latinos are currently renewing their menu, adding new dishes and sides, so head over soon to check them out! 19 Portland Road, Aberystwyth, SY23 2NL www.latinosaberystwyth.com
Mama Fay’s A taste of the Caribbean in Aberystwyth! With over 15 years of experience, Mama Fay’s is the place to go for authentic Caribbean food. Named after their chef ’s mother, Mama Fay, the popular restaurant is inspired by her culinary adventures. Try classic Jamaican dishes here such as Curried Goat, Jerk Chicken or Ital Stew. Combining hand-picked ingredients with a unique blend of spices, the experience is topped off with regular reggae nights to properly transport you to the islands of the Caribbean. 2a Portland Rd, Aberystwyth, SY23 2NL www.mamafays.com
Foodbox-Paprika Traditional Hungarian food is served up at Foodbox- Paprika. Serving up favourites like Lángos, a deep fried flatbread top with cheese, Goulash soup and Hortobagy filled pancakes, the menu changes weekly so keep an eye out for anything you want to try. 9 Terrace Road, Aberystwyth SY23 1NY www.facebook.com/foodbox.aber
Freckled Angel Freckled Angel in Menai Bridge is a champion of bringing other cultural influences into traditional Welsh food. Bangor-born chef and owner Mike Jones named his restaurant in honour of a friend who passed away, inspiring him to follow his own dream of cooking for a living. He now dedicates himself to creating a personal, warm experience for diners, citing his food as being European. The concept is small plates taking a tapas-style approach, and the influences are clear across the menu. The dishes are made using local ingredients, but with a twist. The heroes of the menu include Korean BBQ pork belly, grilled langoustines and twice-baked Perl Las soufflé. 49 High Street, Menai Bridge, LL59 5EF. Call 01248 209952 to book
Up A Yard Jamaican Cuisine
If you can’t head to Aberystwyth to enjoy the tastes of the Caribbean, try this one in Holywell! Starting only in 2020 Up A Yard brings island vibes to North Wales. The restaurant aims to provide ‘dishes that are fresh, hearty and simply unforgettable’. The menus are all prepared fresh from Jamaican and traditional cuisine – their King Prawn Curry is absolutely fantastic! The Art and Craft Mill, Holywell CH8 7PN upayarduk.wixsite.com/upayard