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Top 5 Things To Do On The Ladypool Road Birmingham

Top 5 Things To Do On The Ladypool Road Birmingham  

The Ladypool Road in Sparkhill Birmingham is the beating heart of Birmingham's Balti Triangle- an area where diverse cultures collide with food, shops, sights and smells. It was once home to numerous 'balti' restaurants and is still the best place in the City to sample both authentic Pakistani and Kashmiri Cuisine (sheep's brain curry anyone?) as well as Birmingham's Balti, first seen on menus in the City in the late 70's and a mainstay since.     
Andy Munro (Author of 'Going for a Balti', a history of Birmingham Balti) and secretary for APAB (The Association For The Protection Of Birmingham Balti)  grew up in Sparkhill and has been witness to the evolution of the area over the decades since.    
He is a weekly visitor, whether to eat the famous Birmingham Balti, enjoy a chai and chat with friends, to pick up some spices or lead a guided tour of the highlights and history of Birmingham's signature dish, he shared his top five things to do on the Ladypool Road, Sparkhill and we went to check them out!    
 
 
1. Head to Raja Brothers- the oldest business on the Ladypool Road and a one stop shop for bargain priced exotic fruit and vegetables, spices, chutney and pickles as well as South Asian cookware. And not forgetting herbal toothpaste, wonderful teas, natural remedies and hair oils that will leave you smelling like you've just completed a spa day in Rajasthan. Raja Bro is a food lovers Aladdin's cave and we find it hard to spend less than an hour exploring everything! The building was originally a cinema which is evident from the outside and has housed the supermarket for over 40 years.    
 
 
2. All that shopping got you thirsty? Then next on your list is Chaiwalla for a traditional cuppa, Pakistani style- try the karak chai or cooling rose falooda 
3. Chohans- a feast for the eyes! Family run and well loved Chohans is established, for over 20 years old and has a fabulous array of costume jewellery-the largest selection of South Asian Jewellery in the UK. Ideal to purchase some eye catching earrings, bangles, bejewelled hair clips, bags or crystal studded shoes! 
 
4. Something sweet to keep up the shopping frenzy till dinner time? You cannot visit Ladypool Road without stopping off at  'Taste of Pakistan' a sweet specialist. Just as pretty as the Jewellery displays in Chohans are the colourful sweet displays in Taste of Pakistan. Our takeaway box selection would include every flavour of barfi (but pistachio and almond are our favs!) and Panjeeri, which we are obsessed with! It is reputed to be a health food in South Asian, a bit like spiced Granola or an Indian inspired crumble topping- made with ghee, toasted nuts, dried fruit- it's a cure all snack, take it with coffee or tea for the ultimate afternoon pick me up.    
 
5. Go for a balti, of course! Once the famous Ladypool Road was home to many Birmingham Balti restaurants catering to curry loving diners and the local Pakistani community, now only two serving the celebrated dish using the recognised method remain on The Ladypool Road- Shababs and the Popular, both are located very close to Raja Bros. Balti restaurants are cafe style and usually BYO. Balti is a casual and inexpensive affair. it's hard to beat a classic Chicken Balti and garlic naan, sizzling with spices, just perfect to complete your Ladypool Road tour. 
 
With thanks to Andy Munro for his recommendations.  
munroandy@hotmail.com  
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