Shopping Safari


Do you feel that doing your grocery shopping is a mundane task?  If so, the problem may be YOU.  How is that?  Well, you need to broaden your horizons because you are in a rut.  According to industry research, the typical grocery store stocks about 35,000 products, but the average shopper uses only approximately 260.  That’s a lot of untried products left off your grocery list.

As a result of this thought-provoking information, I decided to dip my big toe into the water of never before purchased grocery stock.  I challenged myself to locate, buy and sample three new (to me) products on my next excursion to the grocery store.  When I took the time to actually look at all the stuff on the shelves, I realized that there really are lots of things in grocery world with which I am not acquainted. Therefore, it was not very difficult to bag some exotic edibles on my shopping safari.

My first purchase was fairly tame and was located on the aisle with canned fruits.  It was Sunsweet dried mangoes.  This product was doubly exotic in that it involves a fruit I rarely eat and one that I have never tried in dried form.  I’ll admit, a dried piece of mango is nothing that would immediately catch your eye and captivate your attention.  But pop it into your mouth.  Oh my!  A taste sensation.

Mango package

This particular product I purchased was made from mangoes grown in the Philippines, a country which has elevated the mango to the status of the national fruit.  Mangoes are native to South Asia, so it is probably not as familiar a fruit to Americans as are apples and oranges which are actually grown here in this country.  India is the greatest producer of mangoes followed by China, Thailand and indonesia, meaning this fruit has to travel quite a ways to get to my table in the U.S. from where it is typically grown.

Mango piece

My second purchase was a bit more daring and was located on the candy aisle–dark chocolate with acai and blueberries.  OK, I recognize two out of three ingredients in that description–dark chocolate and blueberries.  But what’s acai and how do you even say it?  Actually, the contents of the pouch in which it came looked so appealing that I didn’t even stop to look up the pronunciation or what acai actually is  Mmmm.  So glad it was delish because I would hate to think someone messed up chocolate….

acai chocolate package

The acai berry grows on an acai palm, a tree native to Brazil, Trinidad and northern South America.  Might be good to know about this fruit with the Summer Olympics in Rio next month.  Undeniably, it is easier to eat candy made with this berry than to say the berry’s name.  Despite how the word looks, the “c” is pronounced as an “s” and there are three syllables despite having only 4 letters in the entire word.

acai chocolates

So apparently I was on a roll.  I had picked out two products, fruit and candy, which  resulted in a thumbs up review.  But how about some strange vegetable?  Now that’s more of a challenge.  I was not positive of how to pronounce my third and final selection from the produce department–a jicama.  That’s hee–ca-ma.  I could hold this strange looking vegetable in my hand; it had the appearance of a deformed potato.  According to the label affixed, it was a product of Mexico.  Well, that explains the “j” being pronounced like an “h” a la “jalapeno.”


Jicama is an edible tuberous root of a plant in the bean family.  The plant is native to Mexico.  It was spread by Spaniards to the Philippines and on to China.  The white fleshy inside is crisp and full of dietary fiber.  It is often chopped and added to salads.  Since I like a little crunch in my salad, that is how I tried jicama for the first time–sliced and added as a topping to my dinner salad.  Very tasty!  A thumbs up for this veggie which might be a new addition to the next veggie tray I put together.

Salad jicama

My shopping safari to bag new and exotic game was a big success.  By keeping a sharp eye out, an astute shopper can bag something different but delicious.  What not take the challenge yourself?  Identify a new item on your next shopping trip and bag the exotic edible.  Try it–you just might like it.






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