A trip to the Chinese grocery store

I happened to be in Block 8 this past Saturday and decided to stop by Oriental plaza which is Chinese store/warehouse central here in Gaborone. If it’s imported from China, it’s there. They also happen to have 2 Chinese grocery stores there to cater to the local Chinese population. As such don’t expect to walk in and see anything in English.

They’re not big on presentation though, if you’re used to lovely clean stores like Spar, you will have to lower your expectations for these two grocery stores. They are very small and cramped. There’s very little room to maneuver in the aisles and thanks to the abundance of seafood, the smell inside may take some getting used to.

I have been to these stores before but that was before my cooking hobby so I mainly went there for sweets and noodles. Now though I was more alert and inquisitive. I found a few odd things on the shelf like the chicken below…

And some seafood I could not identify…

After walking around the store with a perplexed expression on my face I decided on what to buy. Seeing as the local store employees don’t know Chinese cuisine very well, they can’t really help you and neither can the Chinese owners because their English is very bad/non existent. So you have to be certain about what you want. I ended up getting a crab, Orion pie (a chocolate marsh-mellow and sponge biscuit) and frozen roasted pork buns.

Mr Crab

I am familiar with the Orion Pies because my Korean friend had introduced a similar pie brand to me before from South Korea. These weren’t as yummy as the Korean version I had but they were still pretty good.

Orion pie

The pork buns just require a few minutes in the oven to warm them up before eating. I assumed they would be savoury but they were VERY sweet! So sweet that I think they should just be a dessert. I’m not sure if I like them or not….

Warmed pork buns

The Crab was quite an experience to prepare but was something new. It is a big deal for those of us residing in Botswana to find a crab because this is a land locked country. Most of the seafood that here is imported from South Africa. Usually crab is bought while still alive to guarantee freshness but the ones here are sold dead. And because they are dead, you have to be VERY careful when purchasing them. But I will cover all that in my next post detailing how I cooked it.

And as luck would have it, one of my sisters in cooking gave me a Chinese cook book just yesterday! It’s a sign.

I will definitely put this book to good use…once I learn how to ask for certain ingredients in Mandarin at the grocery store!

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  1. Pingback: Chinese Food Store

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