Supermarket Specials

Globalization brings with it many benefits, including the wide availability of specialized food products from around the world.  This is especially true in the United States, with its countless immigrant communities, but even in Kasane, Botswana, we learned, while grocery shopping for two days in a remote cottage.  Trying to figure out what we should cook, we joked that we could make Thai green curry, if only they had Thai green curry paste—and sure enough they did, Mae Ploy brand in little packets of red, yellow, and green (though we didn’t end up buying it).

But as universally popular as Thai curry paste may be, some food products remain local specialties, or at least local favorites.  As ubiquitous as Nestle and Maggi and Kellogg and Procter & Gamble may be around the world, below are some local specialties we’ve encountered on our recent trip, as well as one from prior travels.

Supermarket meat in most parts of the world is limited to chicken, beef, pork, and lamb.  Not so in Africa.

Creole culture makes use of many more parts of animals than a typical American household.  Not only did we see chicken necks for sale, but the bucket of pig tales pictured above.

We saw sugar cane growing all over Mauritius, and knew that they exported sugar, but didn’t realize that locals would be such sugar connoisseurs, able to differentiate and make use of so many varieties.

Without land to graze animals, the Pacific islands are big consumers of processed meat, including of course the global favorite Spam.  This supermarket in Guam, from our previous travels, had an astonishing selection.

Guam K-Mart

1 OCT CO954 from Palau to Guam

On our 12 hour layover in Guam on the way back home, we did like true locals–we went to the K-Mart, supposedly the largest in the world. Being the only store of its kind in Guam, every Guamian (and even some Japanese tourists, apparently taking a break from DFS Galleria) shops there.

I couldn’t help but admire the Spam selection, and bought at least one of each to eat at home.