100a-102a, Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2BD
A classic case of looks can be deceiving. Al Amin may look from the outside like an ordinary grocers, but once inside this deceptively large shop opens up to reveal a wealth of foods from around the world.
Salsas from Mexico, jerk seasoning from Jamaica, pumpernickel breads from Germany, halva from Greece, sit on shelves next to pomegranate molasses from Iran (great as a salad dressing), Harissa paste from Algeria, De Cecco pasta from Italy and much, much more. There’s a wonderfully exotic range of fresh produce too – fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices all displaying country of origin (an education in itself). As well as traditional varieties, you can pick up mangoes, fresh dates, guava, paw paw, granadilla, yams, okra, eddoe, matoke and apple bananas as well as fresh ginger and many different types of chillies.
Explore further in to the store and discover the Halal butchers and the aptly named ‘Spice and Rice Den’ – a room literally packed to the roof with every variety of rice and dried spice you could ever need in your kitchen. If you fancy something more convenient, there’s the newly opened ‘falafel centre’ – selling freshly-made wraps and baguettes to takeaway and the deli selling freshly-made Indian and Thai dishes including curries, bhaji and seriously good samosa. Everything is made in-house and with no preservatives.
As well as this culinary expedition around the world, it’s equally important to owner Abdul Arain to use as many local suppliers as possible. As part of its extensive range of ‘free from’ foodstuffs, Al Amin stock delicious Booja-Booja dairy free ice cream from Norfolk and Ombar organic vegan chocolate from right here in Cambridge.
With all this and the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff (you can even pay bills here and do ‘click and collect’), it’s easy to see why Al Amin is at the very heart of the Mill Road community.