The most frequent conversation around the expat lunch table is usually about the food items that we miss from home. Although most expats will agree that the longer you live away from your home country, the more things you are able to live without, there are still those few items that we all lie awake and dream about.
For my British friends it is usually breakfast sausage, Cadbury, and “real” cheddar cheese. For the Australians it is hot meat pies, Tim Tamms, and Pavlovas. For the Americans it is typically spicy Mexican food.
German’s typically don’t do spicy, so most Mexican foods found in grocery store aisles are toned down for the German customer. And only recently were we able to find Jalapeños (canned or fresh) in the International foods section of Edeka. So on returning to the states, I always try to get my fill of the Mexican flavors found in Central Washington.
The other day, we needed some ground beef for burgers. Since we were already in the South end of Wenatchee my husband wanted to stop in at Wenatchee Valley’s newest edition: La Mexicana Super Market. Ah…the wondrous and glorious delicacies of Mexico right here in our little Washington village!
We opened the doors and were instantly transported to a place not quite Mexico but not quite America. The shelves were thoroughly stocked with bagged spices and other delicacies typically used in Mexican cooking. One aisle is devoted to a variety of dried chilies; another is devoted to candies and pastries. And no Mexican Tienda would be complete without the wall of candles devoted to various saints.
As you work your way back through the aisles you reach the honey pot of the store. Beautiful arrangements of fruits and vegetables tantalize you with their color and shine. The freshly fried pigs ears beckon you to try just one bite. And then you see the meat counter.
The meat counter was all a bustle of activity. Four guys were artfully carving up meats for various orders. One man was filling containers with freshly made mole. Another was filling containers with a roasted pepper salsa. We perused what sat beneath the glass: brains, tongue, homemade blood sausage, chorizo, rib eye steak, flank steak, chicken, quail, pigs feet, and more. Going into this place when you are hungry will cost you.
Beyond the fact that this is a wonderfully stocked grocery store, it is also a locally owned. The bilingual staff is friendly and welcoming and excited to offer you a taste of what they love. Everything is reasonably priced and comparable to big chain grocers. Who wants to shop at Safeway when you can drive a little further and spend your money La Mexicana Super Market?
What is your favorite treat from home that you can’t live without? Do you have a special place you can’t wait to go when you visit your home town?