Saturday, June 20, 2015


I enjoy shopping for housekeeping. The first time I went shopping, my carts were full and cost about $300! I was like, for ALL THESE!!! So imagine my surprise when I went to an African shop, with that same amount, I came out with few items! It is like back home, where imported products are more expensive than locally made products. I observed African immigrants shop more in large grocery stores than in African shops. An African store opened some months back, it's being a place of hangouts for many Africans, because apart from the usual food stuff, they sell cooked food also. { it was closed down for the second time for not meeting the hygiene standard!}

I find alternative products to Nigerian meals in grocery stores, except for palm oil, crayfish, stockfish and ogbono. For instance, I use Russet potato instead of yam, blend oat to make wheat-swallow, and buy frozen cut-spinach to prepare Efo. Hubby don't eat okro, if not, I will cook okro instead of ogbono ... nay, we don't like ewedu much. I tried their powdered milk, {I like creamer for Lipton} I didn't like it, so I stick to our type of powdered milk.

African shops are mostly owned by individuals and are doing their best to raise their heads above waters. I doff my hat for them, because it takes determination to stay afloat, in the competitive market, paying taxes and meeting the required standard. Some items perish quickly, like yams that gets rotten, and some items stay too long on the shelf, like ogbono, which will taste soapy when cooked, .... and YOU CANNOT SEND THEM BACK, TO GET REFUND! Unlike in the big stores. 

Hence, many like playing it safe and stick to big stores, because losing $21;00 for a tuber of yam, {the weight determines the price} is not cool, since, you can use this same $21:00 to get milk {$2:84},bread {$1:18}, eggs {1:72},cereal {$3:98}, hot dog {1:50}, noodles { $2:00}, Nesquick {$7:38}. This can feed an individual for about a week!

I prefer buying store brands because it is more affordable, and I take ample opportunity in any sales to make good purchases. African shops don't have store brands and no sales day. I buy my ogbono and palm oil from only one place because theirs is 100% original. I tried in two places before I discovered them. I buy the un-blended crayfish to avoid sand. I dislike the blended prawn heads, they sell as crayfish, it taste chaffy. I dry my fish instead, of buying, thanks to Flo, because apart from being cheaper, some taste burnt and too dry.

I shop at both ends because they meet my needs at different times, but I frequent the bigger stores more. I wish there are big African shops like their counterparts, maybe items will be cheaper and returns accepted. Yeah right! If wishes were horses, beggars would have ridden.  


  1. Na wa o. It must be such a challenge to own an African shop over there. Maybe there's a conspiracy not to allow them grow big. What do you think?

    I never thought I'd be one of them

    1. Every business comes with it's challenge. Getting the right location to meet the target market is the most challenging factor I think, because some cities and towns don't have many Africans, so investor must carry out their research well.

      I don't know if there is a conspiracy. Ahaha. All I know is that it will be capital intensify! Some individuals take small business loan to start, then create awareness by socializing, and attracting customers with incentive like reduced price or home delivery.

  2. I shop everywhere, regular grocery stores, farmers markets, Chinese stores and I have been known to wander into even the Pakistani stores. If there is a good deal there I will check it out. The only things I buy from the African store is Palm oil and the big agege bread. For stuff like Ogbono we get those from home whenever someone comes to visit. If you are trying to stretch the dollar, african store might not pay you.

    1. Yes o, agege bread is one of items I don't joke with in African shops. You get ogbono from back home? aww, I envy you! So true, about your last sentence. I also buy expression attachment from African shops. I like the chicken, tripe, cow legs, cow skin and beef sold in Chinese market, I buy yams there also. Pakistani stores are those ones where the chickens are bought live, gutted and cut in one's presence abi? If yes, I am yet to come across any in Texas, only in NJ.

  3. Store brands are serious life savers! Surprisingly, Walmart made me realise that! The only diff is in the name and fame abi? They all taste the same. Some local shops here sell stuff like plantains and noodles that can pass for indomie although, let's face it. Nothing is like indomie! Sure once in a while we do afro shops for like u said, palm oil and also really hot peppers and you find the habaneros (right name?) In afro shops. But stuff needed for eg jollof, fried rice, even egusi soup(meaning the meat and spinach) can easily be gotten at the local stores.
    And about the conspiracy (lmao) I used to imagine so too but some afro stores don't stick to health regulations so it stands to reason that they get shut down and this is mostly with shops attached to restaurants. One afro restaurant shut down a while back not cos of health laws but guess what, they were not sticking with the whole "African food" idea. They were serving African yes but in a Caucasian way and that didn't pan out so well for them. If d locals want German food, they would simply go to a German restaurant abi? Sure African meals are now being fused in European ways but they still maintain the recipe. That was his mistake. Not sure if my comparison is making any sense! But oh well.

    1. A friend made me realize that also! It is only in the name o jare! AHAHAHA.
      Once in a while, we buy indomie from African stores, but we buy more of Rahmen and Mucharan cup noodles.

      Yes, supplements can be gotten from other local stores after buying the primary ingredient from Afro-market. Sometimes, groundnut soup can replace egusi soup sef!

      I get what you mean J. Just like amala with ewedu and gbegeri soup, don't give it any fancy name, or garnish it with any 'flowery' stuff to look pretty, simply mould the amala well and dish out the soup without decorating the sides of the plate with orisirisi. One can either eat with their hands or only fork, but not with knife and fork! Thank you.