international grocery stores – a cavegirls heaven at iSHOP Munich

What was your first choice when your parents would ask you where you wanted to go to have dinner when you were a kid? McDonalds? For pizza? For me it was always one answer: Chinese please.

Now at the “wise” age of 29 and experiencing an authentic Beijing roast duck on a business trip earlier this year, I have no idea how I could ever be obsessed with the German version of chinese food, somehow delicious but obvisouly abound with glutamate, preservatives and god knows what else. But I loved the – to a Bavarian – rather unusual flavors and the spiciness in the soups and sauces. I was hooked.

And I never lost that craving for spices and have to admit I once was quite the adventurous eater – I really want to go back there and try more things again once I figured out what is actually paleo-approved in restaurants by continuing doing some hands-on (or mouth-on?) research.

My “international” food choiced  included the European staples like sushi and the odd mongolian BBQ (tasting crocodile and ostrich meat) and of course the usual tex-mex version of Mexican we have in Germany.

When I moved to the UK, Indian has been introduced to my plate – my big obsession ever since – and also the English cuisine itself was quite … let’s call it adventurous. I loved me my salt and vinegar crisps though. During my uni time, a move to Toronto in winter 2009 caused that I basically lived off the international deli next to my condo and their overpriced indian and paktistani snacks, as it was simply to cold to walk to a propert supermarket. And Canada also introduced me to ethiopian food and a more authentic version of Japanese in the form of ramen.

So there was never anything I did not 100% like to try, expect if it was obvious the dish included raw tomatoes and fish.

And now I am a low-carb paleo and basically all the dishes mentioned above are not on my menue anymore. Great. So I am trying to find the suitable choices at my favorite Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican and Carribbean restaurants (and will let you know about them), in the meantime I make them myself.

So luck me – last winter an ishop outlet opened right around my corner – 500m walking distance and my official supplier when I want to get international in the kitchen and not break the bank.

iSHOP – feinkost aus asien und aller welt – is a German “chain” of international grocery stores, currently available in Bogenhausen/ Munich,  Braunschweig and Hannover. iSHOP offers 5000 international products, including Asian, African and Carribbean/ Latin Americas foods/brands and ranges from spices and sauces, rice and noodles, fresh vegetables and fruit, seafood, frozen asian ready meals and sauce bases, asian beverages, cooking tools and Japanese dishwear. I am particularly obsessed with the seafood, snack packs and of course the entire isle of hot sauces from all over the place.

No wonder, when I walked in last night to grab a bottle of sriracha – my favorite with anything – I walked out being the proud owner of aisle 3-6 because I found so many paleo-approved goodies, which I am going to test out during a rather calm weekend at home.

So what paleo staples does iSHOP carry?

  • frozen seafood (at super reasonable prices for the amount you get) – I went with a pack of clams
  • international produce, not available in usual supermarkets like young coconut, choices of pack choi, lemongrass, yuca, plantains, seaweed, asian salads and herbs, young mangos etc. – I caved an got plantains, you’ll see what for.
  • grainfree flours like tapioca and cassava flour
  • everything seaweed from dried to fresh, as ready made salads or nori sheets
  • oils and sauces – any size and variety of ghee, coconut oil or non GMO hot sauces and spices
  • snack packs like seaweed crisps, roasted coconut, a variety of spiced nuts, plantain crispis
  • various choices of COCONUT water, all natural no added sugar

See why I love my iShop? Because there is just so much choice and the staff is overly helpful to advise how to use the mainly unusual ingredients.

Who shops there? Besides me, obviously I find a majority of Asian customers in the store and the odd hip Munich couple, looking for greens, coriander and coconutmilk for a Thai cooking session. Not your wide variety of people, but if you are into cooking and tasting international flavors, give the store or their monthly offeres a go and get inspired by their philosophy:

Essen macht Spaß – aber nur selbstgemacht! Im i.SHOP finden Sie tolle Ideen für eine vielseitige und leckere Küche.

Food is fun – but only if you prepare it yourself. i.SHOP offers you great ideas for a flavourful and versatile cuisine.

Let me know what you think.

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