In My Suitcases

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:

CHINESE
  1. Wrappers: Spring roll wrapper, wonton wrapper, dumpling wrapper
  2. Chinese cooking marinade: rice wine, rice vinegar, black vinegar, sesame oil, kikkoman soya sauce, hoisin sauce
  3. Dried noodles: soya noodle, rice noodles
  4. Dried mushrooms: shiitake, wood ear
  5. Sichuan Peppercorn, 5-spice powder
  6. Glutinous rice
  7. Salted cabbage
INDIAN & MIDDLE EASTERN
  1. Star anise, cardamoms, mustard seeds, clove, fennel seeds
  2. Garam masala, tandori chicken masala, meat masala powder
SOUTH EAST ASIAN + JAPANESE + KOREAN
  1. Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, candlenuts, galangal, tamarind, palm sugar
  2. Vietnamese rice wrapper
  3. Panko breadcrumbs
  4. Korean hot and spicy instant noodles
  5. Thai Green curry paste
  6. Tom yum soup paste
  7. Bak kut teh spices
  8. Sriracha
  9. Wasabi peanuts
EUROPEAN
  1. Cheeses: tete de moine, petit basque, gruyere, emmental, mature cheddar, pecorino, parmigiano reggiano, roquefort
  2. Foie gras
  3. Cured meat: saucisse, saucisson, ham
  4. Sun dried tomatoes
  5. Anchovies fillets
  6. Dried cremini mushroom
  7. Bouquet garni
  8. Maille Dijon moutard
  9. Fresh thyme sprigs, fresh bay leaves (from my mom in law’s garden)
  10. Shallots (from my mom in laws garden)
  11. Tea : Tisane, dried tea leaves (Lipton Premium, Mariage Freres),
  12. Nespresso capsules
  13. Fancy biscuits like le petit ecolier
BAKING
  1. Chocolates : Dark, Milk, White
  2. Nuts: Pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios
  3. Dried fruits: cranberry, figs, orangettes
  4. Bread yeast
  5. 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!

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