Imported Groceries?

#1
This seems to be the best place to post for this random question, so I'll try:

Background: I like cooking, and Mexican food is my native cuisine, which the Tankie is fond of.

Most UK visitors here seem to take to it like a duck to water, actually — my theory is that living on curry and heavy food prepares them for the spice and substance of it. I think that's lovely. If you go to any Mexican restaurant here on Sunday around 3 PM, you'll a crowd of the local soccer teams sucking down beer and tacos or birria (goat stew) with two or three English or Scotsmen comfortably ensconced in the group, drinking and shouting in half-Spanish. It's great.

So I'd like to continue cooking Mexican food when I'm there; authentic Mexican cuisine seems like it's in short supply, and it might be a nice thing to serve guests or bring to a meet-and-greet.

I am concerned about the availability of groceries, though. I've been warned that pinto beans, for instance [brown and black beans with a nice meaty flavor] are rarely found so restaurants substitute kidney beans. I CAN substitute a lot of stuff, but just...comes out strangely. :?

So, are there any folks out there that have seen or heard of a market that imports Mexican groceries in the UK? (Tortillas, salsas, canned tomatoes, cheeses, etc.) Or where I might go to look for them? International markets that might be able to refer me along? We'll be living in the Blandford area but I will make a special trip to find what I need....

My last resort is to have my friends send over care packages but I'd prefer to spend my money supporting local stores. Plus I'd hate to get in trouble with Customs. :)

Just a shot in the dark....thanks so much for any suggestions.
 
#2
Hi Tankies yank,
If you can find a large Sainsburys or Tescos nearby-try Poole for starters, you'll find they both sell the El Paso range- tacos, tortillas, chillis, refried beans, fajita "powder" etc. Dunno how authentic they are cos I've never been to Mexico but there's your starter for ten!
If you ever fancy a change from Mexican, go for the Wing Yip Chinese brand in the UK. They've got a couple of amazing supermarkets on the outskirts of London, with restaurants, gift shops etc attached. Some of their most popular lines eg sweet and sour, black bean etc can be found in most large supermarkets but if you're ever in London for a few days, a couple of hours diversion is well worth it. I'm sitting here smug cos I can walk to my local one in 15 minutes!
Enjoy Dorset, it's beautiful-Blandford excepted!!
 
#3
Oh, that's great to know....thank you! El Paso will do all right, I'm familiar with the brand and can modify most of to fit my specs.

Thanks for Wing Yip pointer as well. I'll make it a point to go when we're in the area. Definitely hoping to add some Chinese to my repertoire, as well as taking a curry class at a nearby adult-education center. I'm in the right place for it, after all!

Heh re: Blandford. :D
 
#4
Discovery do a really good range of US/Mexican stuff - available in most big supermarkets. Again not sure how authentic it is, though.
 
#6
Or if you REALLY want to support local trade and are up for a bit of bartering, go to your local Deli and ask them how much to stock minimum order of the ranges you require...
As long as the minimum isn't 500 boxes of Taco's they may well be up for it!

Beebs
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#7
One mention of food on the site and chubbies there.......like a rat up a drainpipe.
 
#9
What did you do to deserve to go to Blandford after spam-land? 8O

Testify in court that Michael Jackson is NOT a fiddler?
 
#10
El Paso fajitas (spell) for dinner the last 2 nights and very nice it was too. Courtesy of Tescos or Asda (Wallmart owned) I imagine as both frequented by Mrs M on regular basis.

Large Tescos very close to Blandford camp.
 
#11
You really dont need to buy "El Paso" or any other pre-prepared products. If you are a "Cook" rather than just a re-heater, all the base ingredients are available at any supermarket. After all, pinto beans and tinned tomatoes are hardly haute cuisine.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#12
El Paso? hahahahahaha.........you bunch of f*cking chavs!

You'll be recommending Home Pride Cook In Sauces next.

How about some 'I feel like Chicken Tonight.........' recipes, you well travelled bunch of LIDL shopping Pikeys.
 
#13
Biscuits_AB said:
El Paso? hahahahahaha.........you bunch of f*cking chavs!

You'll be recommending Home Pride Cook In Sauces next.

How about some 'I feel like Chicken Tonight.........' recipes, you well travelled bunch of LIDL shopping Pikeys.
That's better than some blokes.............one thought I was cordon bleu chef just because I cooked bolognaise sauce - which I was doing because I was too lazy to do anything better! I used fresh tomatos too but think that distinction would have been beyond him. once you are used to proper cooking very difficult to eat anything else :wink:
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#14
Well, when your used to Pot Noodles Poopy, Spag Bol is positively the way to go!
 
#15
I cook 5 or 6 nights a week, and have done for years. Its hardly particle physics, but my friends and family seem to think I,m the frickin galloping gourmet (golden oldie). BTW guys, the ability to cook is a great leg-opener!
 
#16
Wow, my thread expanded while I was away! Proof that there's no subject too innocuous to start an ARRSE slinging contest. :D Let's see...

Biscuits-AB: No, but the Tankie has given me a dirty Sanchez before.

BBC and Murielson: Thank you for the suggestions as well! I’ll definitely try to prod the local markets a bit.

Sandmanfez: As a proud gourmand, surely you understand (con todo respeto, of course! :) ) it's a little more complex than that. Mexico is a huge country divided into many tribal regions and there’s a whole lot after beans and rice. Mexico City recipes (where my family connections hail from) are pretty different, with Italian and German parts, and it is considered "banquet food." The tacos/beans/rice that most people think of are originally from Oaxaca, where they eat much more simply due the fact that a lot of them are impoverished native Mexicans and have to make do with what’s available. California is a fusion of the two. It’s all yum, though. It's not complex but it can be very specific.

Scratch is ideal, but I have gotten the impression that the meats, vegetables and cheeses I usually buy and use here ARE difficult to get your hands on in the UK. Hence my search for a store that imports. Fresh tomatillos, for instance — if I can’t find any good ones but I want to use it in something, I can doctor the tomatillo puree in the can and it still comes out better than substituting red tomatoes. Even the canned sauces from Mexico and California are pretty good because they’re the real shebang; some are better than my sainted Aunt Eva could do them in her own kitchen. (God forbid I tell my family that, though. 8O )

And yes, cooking is a great way into a girl's panties.

Duck Dodger: My only crime *sob* was falling in love with a British squaddie! Sounds like I’m going to be paying for it in one way or another until he gets out. :twisted:
 
#18
That settles it! I am opening a Mexican restaurant in Bournemouth, and I am going to call it Dirty Sanchez's.

Our specialty: 2-for-1 tequila enemas and horsemeat tacos. It'll be a little slice of drunken-college-guys-in-Mexican-bordertown, right in Dorset.

Hope to see you all there. :twisted:
 
#19
TankiesYank said:
Wow, my thread expanded while I was away! Proof that there's no subject too innocuous to start an ARRSE slinging contest. :D Let's see...

Biscuits-AB: No, but the Tankie has given me a dirty Sanchez before.

BBC and Murielson: Thank you for the suggestions as well! I’ll definitely try to prod the local markets a bit.

Sandmanfez: As a proud gourmand, surely you understand (con todo respeto, of course! :) ) it's a little more complex than that. Mexico is a huge country divided into many tribal regions and there’s a whole lot after beans and rice. Mexico City recipes (where my family connections hail from) are pretty different, with Italian and German parts, and it is considered "banquet food." The tacos/beans/rice that most people think of are originally from Oaxaca, where they eat much more simply due the fact that a lot of them are impoverished native Mexicans and have to make do with what’s available. California is a fusion of the two. It’s all yum, though. It's not complex but it can be very specific.

Scratch is ideal, but I have gotten the impression that the meats, vegetables and cheeses I usually buy and use here ARE difficult to get your hands on in the UK. Hence my search for a store that imports. Fresh tomatillos, for instance — if I can’t find any good ones but I want to use it in something, I can doctor the tomatillo puree in the can and it still comes out better than substituting red tomatoes. Even the canned sauces from Mexico and California are pretty good because they’re the real shebang; some are better than my sainted Aunt Eva could do them in her own kitchen. (God forbid I tell my family that, though. 8O )

And yes, cooking is a great way into a girl's panties.

Duck Dodger: My only crime *sob* was falling in love with a British squaddie! Sounds like I’m going to be paying for it in one way or another until he gets out. :twisted:
Ah, I can see that apologies may be in order! :wink:

You may have to just improvise, as there are very strict regulations governing the import of foodstuffs by private individuals. Failing that, smuggling is always an option. It works well for moving high value/tech products into and out of "pariah" states through third parties, but It could be a little pricey for a few tins of puree. :wink:

Ps: Have you tried our British regional dishes? Shepherds pie, Lancashire hot-pot etc are great, and dont even get me started on "Toad in the hole" 8O :lol:
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
It is really quite simple.

I do all the cooking at home. I bake bread, I make Tacos, tortillas etc.

Get a decent cookbook (Jamie Oliver, Grigson, James Martin, not Delia she's a witch), get down to decent supermarket buy fresh food and cook it.

Easy, tastes better, is healthier and women think you are amazing for doing it.

Also means that people want to come to your dinner parties because they know they are not going to get sh!t on a plate.
 

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