Zihuatanejo is a really long name. It’s a bitch to spell and not so easy to pronounce. Insiders call it Zihua (Zee-Wa). And now so shall you!
In Zihua, Mexico, one can find almost anything. It’s a town of approximately 100,000 and finding the same products you use at home is possible, although you might not find the exact brand you are familiar with. Getting used to new brands is a big part of the moving abroad experience and something one takes for granted when living in the U.S. For example, which brand of milk does one buy? Which brand of bread is the freshest and will last the longest?
Because Andy and I have been here so many times,we are familiar with many Mexican and Latin America products. We prefer them because even if we can find American products, they are very expensive. For example, we can easily find cans of Campbell’s soup, but they cost much more than Mexican brands or brands from Latin America. That being said, we haven noticed very small frozen sections at many stores. Mexicans seem to eat way less frozen food than we do. Fnding my favorite brand (or any brand) of vegi-burger or vegi-chicken nuggets just won’t happen. These are challenging
times : ) Can I live without my favorite deodorant, Lady Mitchum? (most likely). Can I live without my Trader Joe’s hummus (tough one, although they do have one hummus at the store, and it’s not bad). And what’s gonna happen when I can’t find my coveted white truflle oil?
Let me loudly and passionately state that none of this matters, because I found the one thing I absolutely cannot live without–Clorox wipes!
In the U.S., I use these wipes to clean our kitchen . One wipe is all it takes. In Oakland, I would quickly become despondent if a backup container was not in our cabinet. Recently we visited Comercial Mexicana, our local grocery store which is equivalent to a Walmart, and the wipes shouted “pick me, pick me” … and so I did!
Truthfully, Comercial has whatever one needs: electronics, linens, food, clothe and even a huge kids section. They also have a pretty good import section where they sell thing used by ex-pats and by vacationing tourists. Here’s a sample of some of the items we can purchase — all at premium prices. Imported food is a big budget drain, so we’re limited to one or two imported items per week.
- Imported Olive Oil
- Jars of beets (not a fan, but I saw them)
- Several kinds of rice and sushi making items
- Specialty mustards
- Miller Light, Coors Light and Molson
- Rye crisps (tempting but I passed)
- Selected salts (grey, pink and black)
- Poppy seeds (super expensive)
A funny thing happens when ex-pats find something they like at Comercial in the imported section. They buy a lot of it and begin to hoard it, because you never know if it will be available again. And they share this knowledge with one another, and people run to the store as soon as word gets out. It’s quite an interesting phenomenon. If you want your quinoa, you’d better get it now — who knows when it might return again.
So yes, I can get hummus, my favorite snack, but they only sell three kinds instead of the six of seven brands available at a Bay Area market. And, no, it doesn’t taste as good as the hummus I get in the states. And, yes, I can change my preferred brand of deodorant to Secret … or Dove. But as for the vegi-burgers — no dice. I haven’t found any yet. I’m on the hunt. For now, I’m happy with my trusty wipes.
In a future post, I’ll focus more on what Mexican products we are buying and enjoying at the market.