Spice up your meals with this handy guide to international grocery stores in SA
Whether you are shopping for your next Italian feast or merely an international expat missing a taste from home, we’ve rounded up some of the country’s top international grocers and delis.
- Urban Ethnic Market supplies African, Caribbean and West Indies groceries, fabrics and beauty products from their store in Cresta, as well as online. With a vast array of flours (think tef, plantain, bambara and cocoyam), meat (goat!), spice mixes and oils, all incredibly well-priced, they’re your one-stop-shop for Afro-Caribbean fare.
- Schwaben Butchery in Edenvale offer the finest continental meat and sausages, imported cheeses, a bakery serving German cakes and coffees, and a wide range of German beers. Their restaurant offers diners traditional German fare with international beers on tap.
- Bazaruto Seafoods in Groenkloof and Centurion are purveyors of the finest seafood including wild-caught LM prawns, oysters, scallops, fish and calamari, as well as chouriço, Portuguese spice mixes and sauces (look out for all things peri-peri). They also stock paella pans and host regular paella-making classes to help you perfect this delectable rice speciality.
- Cremalat authentic Italian deli and restaurant needs no introduction to the Joburg and Pretoria Italian community. Producing their own cheeses, pastas and sauces in-house, they also import anything your tastebuds could desire, including flour (tipo 00, a must-have ingredient for the perfect homemade pasta), wines, salami, pantry staples and much more.
- Market Kokoro’s four stores and online shop stock everything under the eastern sun that you could crave. From snacks, noodles and sauces to frozen dim sum, sweets and mouthwatering mochi imported directly from Japan, Market Kokoro has it all!
- Thrupps & Co is Joburg’s oldest grocery store, and boasts a mind-boggling array of international products, from cheeses (French, Greek, English and Spanish, to name a few), truffles and meat that you won’t find in any other SA grocery (think rabbit and frog legs) to fine wines from all over the world.
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- Sun Sun Asian and Fresh Foods Market in Durban North stock authentic products from all over Asia, all of which are also available for online purchases with nationwide shipping. From delicious samyang noodles and bubble tea pearls to sake and mochi, it’s any Asian foodie’s dream shopping experience. The friendly staff are happy to guide you through the maze of fresh, frozen and packaged products, and will also happily order anything that they don’t have (although it’s unlikely to happen!).
- The Spice Emporium is the city’s iconic family-run business that has grown to include three stores in Durban, a franchise store in Johannesburg, and stands in various national supermarkets. Over 100 years old, they pride themselves on supplying authentic spices, grains, and vegetarian foods from India and around the world.
- Bole Foods, situated in Pinetown, are importers of fine Italian foods, specialising in sourcing some of Italy’s most famous brands, like Prontofresco whole tinned tomatoes, artichokes and olives, Le Conserve della Nonna pesto and pasta sauces, and Ambrosi parmesan and grana pandano cheeses.
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- Rialto Foods in Montague Gardens started with the importing of Italian peeled tinned tomatoes in the 90s, and has since become SA’s leading importer of authentic Mediterranean and Asian food products. They’re sole importers of Olitalia, an authentic Italian olive oil, so head over to their factory shop to stock up on the best in oils, tinned products like anchovies, and Di Napoli whole peeled tomatoes, deli meats, Granoro flour, litres of Kikkoman soy sauce and much, much more.
- Adriatic, also in Montague Gardens, focuses on supplying Italian food products, including wine, delicatessen and catering equipment, but also extends their range to include selected Spanish, Argentinian and French items. From guanciale (Italian cured pork jowl that your life is not complete without) to heavenly gianduja chocolate bursting with hazelnuts, they have something for every palate.
- The German Grocer in Gardens and Milnerton import over 1,000 lines of authentic German products from drinks, sweets, spices and sauces to pickles, beers and deli meat and sausages from Raiths Fine Foods. They even stock toiletries and cleaning products. Fondly known as “Little Germany”, they are bound to have what you are looking for.
- UK Emporium is your one-stop-shop for anything and everything British. Whether you’re craving the original Bisto your mom used to cook with, Taylors Yorkshire tea and biscuits, or a traditional English cider, this Milnerton outlet has you covered.
- Porra Grocer in Somerset West’s Oudehuis Centre promises customers a celebration of local, Asian, South American and European food finds. Suppliers of the best in fresh produce, delicatessen products, a gourmet butchery and artisanal bakery, it’s no wonder their following of dedicated foodies is growing by the week.
- Lello’s Deli by Scarpetta in De Waterkant is a true hidden gem – a tiny, bustling deli run by the third-generation Turilli famiglia. While they’ve gone out of their way to source the best in local artisanal products (the most luscious San Marzano tomatoes from the Garden Route and genuine mozzarella di bufala from Durbanville), they also import anything under the Tuscan sun that your palate can desire. There’s also a wide range of ready-made meals and desserts on offer (ossobuco, beef lasagne, tortellini calabrese, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, tiramisu, and zuccotto, to name a few), and their mouthwatering piadina (an Italian type of flatbread originally from the Romagna region of Italy) has customers returning again and again.
- Hong Da Asian Market in Sea Point stocks a large range of Asian groceries especially Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. Visit the store for authentic oriental spices, sauces, noodles, pastries, wholegrains, teas, porcelain tableware and many more must-haves for your next Asian feast.
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Don’t see your favourite speciality store on the list? Let us know in the comments so we can spread the word about these diverse yet delectable purveyors of all things food- and drink-related.