The United Nations of Food


I always enjoy visiting supermarkets in foreign countries. Yes, I’m weird, but it gives a little insight into what it would be like to live there, and it makes you feel just for a minute or two that you belong. The Carrefour supermarket at Villagio Mall turned out to be one of my first stops with my sister-in-law, who needed to run some errands. First stop, the lamb section. Of course, New Zealand lamb took pride of place. But there was also Australian lamb, and lamb from India, Pakistan, and Somalia. The selection surprised me, and I wondered what the taste differences would be. The price differences My sister-in-law declared that for stews, Indian lamb is the best. The only meat that wasn’t labelled by origin was the camel meat. I’m assuming it was local. Hopefully not the camels from our first day.

Then we moved to the tomato aisle. Tomatoes, you’d think, wouldn’t vary too much. But there were tomatoes from about seven different countries – Spain (of course, it seems obvious), the Netherlands and Belgium (less obvious) and from the Middle East -Jordan and Syria.

The fruit and vegetable section covered the globe – mangoes from Thailand, the Philippines, and all over the place, other produce from China, Chile, India, Africa (Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt) the US, Australia and New Zealand, and dozens of others I’ve forgotten. I drooled over the date section- dates galore, dates with nuts, chocolate covered dates, dates, dates and more dates. Place of origin un-named but likely to be local – though local in this case means the Middle East or North Africa.

“Really,” my sister-in-law said, herself a Chinese-Malaysian married to a New Zealander living in Qatar “we can get anything we want here.”

It truly felt like the United Nations of Food.


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