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Alan Hawkins

Professional journalist and communication consultant.

East London Accommodation


There can be no denying that a pie or sausage roll is convenience food at its finest. Whether as a quick and easy lunch solution or a tuck-shop snack, a pie with one of the many filling options is undeniably appealing.

While hunting down the tastiest pie in East London, the team also discovered that one of our favourite snacks is not necessarily the most nutritious. Add a sugared soft drink to wash down a pie and you’ll soon be consuming around 600 calories, close to half one’s daily requirement.

Our local favourite, the Shamrock steak pie, was deemed to be the best of the five products tested despite being the most expensive. All the others trailed far behind with Piemans, available at Spar, Pick ‘n Pay and elsewhere, bringing up the rear by a narrow margin.

In addition to the meatier content of the Shamrock pie, the pastry to filling ratio was the best at around 70:30. A high meat content was also clearly obvious, whereas the filling of the Big Jack and King pies in particular, seemed to have a higher proportion of flour or cereal based gravy.  

In South Africa, we have no set regulations with regard to processed foods such as pies, in Australia and New Zealand this is not the case. Their authorities and the British Food Journal all suggest that pies must contain at least 25% meat. While Shamrock only just made it perhaps, the others were way under this minimum standard.


Most of us indulge once in a while, that’s fine. Tread cautiously however, while there might be some rare exceptions, processed and prepared foods are not good for us. These foods are often high in salts; fats and other camouflaged ingredients. You’re in charge of what you eat, and a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is good for you.   

Due to the convenient location of Pick ‘n Pay’s retail park branch for many East Londoners, including Hawkeye, it’s just such a pity that they fail dismally when it comes to every aspect of customer service. You have certainly earned this week’s Chilly Award. We would far rather be awarding you the Cherry, so come on management, please get involved in turning this around.

This week’s Cherry Award goes to Shamrock Pies, Friesland Milk Bar and The Windmill, all local businesses who have served us loyally for many years. If you haven’t yet tried them, you’re missing out.