People often ask me, where do you get this or that, where can I found these in Angola. Duh!
Of course NOT from here, silly. Most of the things I brought them with me, over multiple occasions, from France or Singapore or South Africa or wherever I was holidaying. That’s why shopping is always so stressful because it defines what we are going to eat for the next 3-6 months.
In fact let me just tell you what it is usually in my suitcases:
- Wrappers: Spring roll wrapper, wonton wrapper, dumpling wrapper
- Chinese cooking marinade: rice wine, rice vinegar, black vinegar, sesame oil, kikkoman soya sauce, hoisin sauce
- Dried noodles: soya noodle, rice noodles
- Dried mushrooms: shiitake, wood ear
- Sichuan Peppercorn, 5-spice powder
- Glutinous rice
- Salted cabbage
- Star anise, cardamoms, mustard seeds, clove, fennel seeds
- Garam masala, tandori chicken masala, meat masala powder
- Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, candlenuts, galangal, tamarind, palm sugar
- Vietnamese rice wrapper
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Korean hot and spicy instant noodles
- Thai Green curry paste
- Tom yum soup paste
- Bak kut teh spices
- Wasabi peanuts
- Cheeses: tete de moine, petit basque, gruyere, emmental, mature cheddar, pecorino, parmigiano reggiano, roquefort
- Foie gras
- Cured meat: saucisse, saucisson, ham
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Anchovies fillets
- Dried cremini mushroom
- Bouquet garni
- Maille Dijon moutard
- Fresh thyme sprigs, fresh bay leaves (from my mom in law’s garden)
- Shallots (from my mom in laws garden)
- Tea : Tisane, dried tea leaves (Lipton Premium, Mariage Freres),
- Nespresso capsules
- Fancy biscuits like le petit ecolier
- Chocolates : Dark, Milk, White
- Nuts: Pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios
- Dried fruits: cranberry, figs, orangettes
- Bread yeast
- Pate feiuilletee (or puff pastry) block
I think that pretty much covers my usual hunts each time I take a break from this country. Note: just the edible section. I can spend half a day just going through aisle by aisle, product by product without buying a single thing. If I can afford the time, I will go several times to get whatever it is I need.
First time usually to check out what’s available, then go home and check online recipes for ideas. I also buy to try it there and then, to decide whether this is worth slugging over all the way here.
The second time I return, it is to buy the important stuffs.
And then one last time, usually a day before I fly off, to hunt again whatever fancy ingredients I want: salmon, endives, romanesco, tofu, tempeh, shrimps, noix de saint jacques, fresh bread, etc knowing exactly how much space left that I have.
And surprise, surprise.. H never lets me go to the supermarket alone. Ha!