Cyrildene Shopping Spree 05/19/11
Robyn Eldon explores Jo'burg's hidden gem: mini China Town on Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene.
A fairly hidden Jo’burg gem that I shop at every few weeks is the mini China Town on Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene. If you can get past the odour of the not-so-sparkling streets, then warm up your arm muscles in preparation for bags of healthy groceries for next to nothing.
Last night, I put together a delicious yellow Thai curry noodle bowl for supper. It took only 15 mins and there were left-overs for Man and I for lunch. Total cost: about R40. So who was it again who said it’s pricey to eat healthy vegetarian and vegan food?
The Thai supermarket has a superb range of spices, curry pastes and coconut milks. This would be your first port of call if you plan on wow-ing some guests with your Thai culinary skills. A pack of Thai curry paste is between R9 and R12 for a decent quantity – but remember to check the ingredients as some are made with fish or crustaceans. There is a myriad brands and varieties of coconut milk to choose from. I went all out for the full coconut experience and skipped the ‘lite’ and ‘no-cream’ versions.
Most of the large Chinese supermarkets on Derrick Ave have similar products, but the one closest to the Thai supermarket is the best tofu supplier at R2 a piece!
This shop even has a wise, old Chinese gentlemen who ensures you have a pleasant experience by selecting your tofu for you and voicing his opinion on any product you look at for longer than 2 seconds. I was shown an astounding array of rice cookers, a neon pink microwave which I am seriously contemplating going back for, dragon shaped salt and pepper shakers and various vacuum packed items I’d rather not know the contents of.
For fresh Chinese vegetables take a stroll right to the end of Derrick, at the T-junction with the road coming from Bruma towards Bez valley. Baby bok-choi and Chinese flowering cabbage are my favourite vegetables, and this grocer never disappoints with quality and freshness.
Across the road from the grocer is a supermarket that stocks frozen springroll sheets and dumpling paper for a quick, easy supper or snack platter for guests. Just add your vegetables, tofu and roll or twist, fry or steam. I also picked up a few sachets of spices for future dishes, these retail for R5 a sachet and are available in red pepper, Chinese 5 spice, ginger and garlic to name a few.
And to find these, look for the aisle with the info board reading “Drunk Snail”…because obviously that’s where they keep the spices!