I’ve probably been to five different supermarkets in my search for galangal, to no avail. Even store management don’t know what I am talking about when I ask for it. Earlier this week, I decided to try the newly revamped Checkers in Emmarentia, thinking they may have it because the suburb has a large percentage of affluent Indian residents. I was, again, disappointed at not finding the elusive rhizomes and did the other items on my shopping list in a mild huff. I left the store and, as I rounded the corner going home, I spotted this little shop:

Impulsively, I pulled over into a parking bay, causing the man behind me to toot his horn and shake his fist at me. Very excited, I went into the shop. I could have kissed the lady who mans the shop when, unfazed, she handed me a jar of galangal.

Entranced, I wandered around the store, its shelves loaded with things I’d never seen before, like betel nut shavings.:

Aren't the patterns beautiful?

Had I not been committed to fetching my mother-in-law from her hairdressing appointment, I’d have spent the rest of the day there.
I came away with a small bag of treasures and immediately set to making a chicken biryani. A proper one, for the first time in my life. You see, I have never had green cardamom powder in my larder before now …

I have a feeling my little car is going to know the way to Eastern Temptations blindfolded in the near future!

Eastern Temptations is at 35 Greenhill Road, Emmarentia.
Tel: 011 646 8429


66 Comments Add yours

  1. siggiofmaine says:

    I am so happy you found a wonderful place like that to shop…
    all the wonderful ingredients with names only seen in cookbooks and on tv shows.
    I wouldn’t have the vaguest idea what to do…but like you take photos of the treasures !
    Hope you share more of your adventures in the wonderful store.

    ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine

    1. theonlycin says:

      I definitely will share, Siggi. Thanks for the visit and have a great weekend. xxx

  2. leigh says:

    I know the store, such a lovely proprietor, interesting products, great service, too 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Really super service, the lady is lovely 🙂

  3. Kavita says:

    Oooohh…all those Indian names on that spice rack gave me goosebumps… And yaaaaaaaayyy to an authentic Chicken Biryani! Slurrpppp!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I got goosebumps too, Kav 😀

  4. I wish you lived closer. I passed fresh galangal at the Thai stall at the markets today and I could have bought you some! 🙂 But I have never, ever seen betel nut shavings before!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Eating betel nuts are a bit like chewing floorboards, but they sure are pretty. I’m going to soak them in aromatherapy oil, put them in a pretty bowl and use them to scent my lounge 🙂

  5. bluebee says:

    Do you ever go to the Oriental Plaza, Cin, or is it a no-go zone these days?

    1. theonlycin says:

      I live 5 minutes-drive from the Oriental Plaza and go there often, bluebee 🙂

  6. Sparkle says:

    Good for you Cin and guess what? I am having briyani for lunch today, I asked the lady for extra mild. We work with an Indian lady who’s Aunt runs a kitchen in the industrial area. I’m going to eat it with long teeth because I saw a cockroach once on their toasted sarmi and told myself never again will I eat anything from them. So our HR, director said he wanted to try briyani but the lady cannot prepare for him alone. When they asked me to order with them I didn’t know how to say no and I can’t tell them about the cockroach not knowing how my indian colleague would take the news:-(

    1. theonlycin says:

      Eeeu Sparky, next time order from me and send your driver to collect it! xxx

  7. SidevieW says:

    oooh, sounds like a place to visit and get high on the wornderful smells even before you taste anything back home

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s worth a drive, Sidey 🙂 Maybe we should go for lunch at Lapa Fo sometime?

  8. They will definitely be visited 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Tell the lady you read this blog post, please Leon. She was very glad that I was going to write about her shop.

  9. souldipper says:

    What a coup. Love it when synchronicity steps in. Now you can mix spices to your heart’s delight – create mysterious Massalla that people will beg to know about. I just learned some interesting stories about Indian women grinding and mixing their own herbs and spices to achieve their “signature” enhancements that were kept a secret.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Eastern food is steeped in mystery and secrets, I am having a wonderful time exploring the different food cultures at the moment 🙂

  10. Madmom says:

    Dort and I may be venturing into that hood for the carboot sale this weekend (weather permitting) so I will pop in. Thanks for the info.
    Keep warm.

    1. theonlycin says:

      *makes note to stalk the carboot sale with a beady eye to spot a woman with k@k hair*

  11. Tandy says:

    At least now I know where to send my dad next time I cannot find a certain spice here! Have a great weekend xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      If you and Dave get here early enough we can pop over there on the 9th? Otherwise you could send me a list of what you want and I will go and get the stuff for you before you get here.

  12. granny1947 says:

    Well I am glad I DON’T live closer to you.
    I would be the size of a double storey house.
    Instead of the present single storey!
    Love you too.

    1. theonlycin says:

      no you wouldn’t, nobody in my house is fat! xxx

  13. Leeswammes says:

    I love that kind of story – can spend ages looking even though I’m not really a cook. It’s so fun to see all these ingredients that I’ve never heard of.

    1. Leeswammes says:

      Oops, that should be store, not story! 🙂

      1. theonlycin says:

        Store, story … no matter, I like your comment 🙂

    2. theonlycin says:

      I agree, Judith, just looking is fascinating enough 🙂

  14. I also want to go and Eastern Temptations – I would have a field day smelling all the spices and asking the lady a thousand questions! Well found treasure.
    Have a happy weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. theonlycin says:

      When you come up to Joburg I will take you there 🙂

  15. Jamie Dedes says:

    The shop looks darling and lots of fun. Glad you found it.

    So galangal is just ginger, no? This is my fave spice shop online:

    You can find just about anything there. I’m sure they ship outside the U.S.. But now you’ve solved your problem. Phew!

    Do you love the cardamom? Lovely in coffee. Dinner looks great. I’ll be over! LOL! 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      No, galangal is quite different in taste to ginger, although their appearance is similar.
      Don’t I ever wish you could come over … 🙂

  16. So delighted for you, Cindy – what a treat to find the mother lode! And thanks for the education 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Mother lode it is, Naomi 🙂

  17. adeeyoyo says:

    What I find confusing is that some of the spices have more than one name and then I need help. That kind of shop looks as if there would be help and advice available. Nice. When I move out of the care centre the first thing I cook will be a good curry with plenty for the freezer. I don’t use as many spices as you do, but of course biryani is another story…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Adee, are you still in the care centre? I thought you went home last week?

      1. adeeyoyo says:

        I am still here, probably for another few weeks then am moving into a cottage/bed sitter when I am more independent. I will only start walking after I get the brace which will, hopefully, be next Wed 3 Aug. At the moment I don’t dare put all my weight on the right leg without the brace as I am not going to take a chance on the leg breaking again!

      2. theonlycin says:

        Best to be cautious, adee. (hugs)

  18. thestonemaidendiaries says:

    Tipies, groot winkels kry mens amper niks by wat jy soek nie, en dan..tadaaaa, sommer net daar by ‘n corner shoppie slaan jy die jackpot 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Ek verkies buitendien om by klein ‘mom and pop’ winkeltjies to shop 😀

  19. Tilly Bud says:

    They are lovely, those shavings.

    I’m glad to see you happy again 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Tilly, it doesn’t pay to dwell on things too long 🙂

  20. MaanKind says:

    Betel nuts! WHaau, that is a first for me. Only heard about the red juice before when chewed.

    1. theonlycin says:

      No, you don’t want to chew them, MaanKing, rather just look at the picture ;p

  21. SuziCate says:

    I love finding fascinating little shops that I didn’t know existed. It’s so fun to peruse evenif I don’t know what you do with all the things in them! Happy cooking…I have a feeling you’re going to be preparing all sorts of exotic dishes now!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I am hauling out all my Eastern cookbooks, SuziCate, be afraid … 😉

  22. johnell74 says:

    That Biryani looks good, Cin.
    I cook simpler curries, but I am good at eating any curry.
    And those kind of stores have supermarkets beaten into a cocked hat!

    Thanks John.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you for the visit John 🙂

  23. nrhatch says:

    Wonderful! Ethnic shops are enticing . . . here’s to spicing up your life! 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Be warned, Nancy, things are going to get hot in here 😉

  24. Oh, the tempting spice shop ! I would have loved to accompany you there. I imagine the various scents all around you. I had never heard of galangal. Today I made some apricot marmelade and added a few seeds of cardamone. Delicious.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Everything sounds so much more romantic in French, Isa, cardamone … mmmm … dreamy 🙂

  25. How neat! I love it when we listen to those God-whispers and find all sorts of rewards for listening! Green cardamom! I don’t know of it, but I know that just regular ground cardamom here costs about $11 per 1/2 oz jar! I parse mine out very carefully, and keep it locked up tight to stay as fresh as possible! Maybe on that glorious day I get to visit SA, I’ll be taking a trip to that store, and stocking up on some great things!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Have you been nagging God ref. that trip to SA, Paula. We need lots of advance notice so that I can pack in as many things for you to see?

  26. slpmartin says:

    I know too well the excitement of finding such a place…I had the same difficulty finding galangal…and wonder one day into a small market advertised as a ‘fish market’ and found the most wonderful Asian market packed with ingredients I had only dreamed about finding….what joy!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I share your joy, Charlie 🙂

  27. I was thinking the nuts would make a nice resin necklace.

    1. theonlycin says:

      That is a very good idea, Linda!

  28. There’s indeed a few very good shops around that section that can so easily be overlooked at a glance, Cin. Glad you found some new ingredients to experiment with 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m amazed that they have a fish shop and two butcheries and all three manage to survive in such close proximity to Checkers, Lee!

  29. You’re right. I forgot about the proximity to Checkers. I smiled the one day when we walked there because the fruit and vegetable shop (I think) has a 5c glued to the pavement somehow. I have a thing with picking up 5c coins and it only took me a second to realize that it was glued to the ground. I made mention of it and the owner heard me and smiled. I laughed – wondered how many people have been tricked by that before. He must have thought the same thing at that point.

    1. theonlycin says:

      How funny, Lee, I have never noticed the coin before, will look out for it 🙂

      1. As long as you just smile and walk on 😉 I think they have a few good chuckles at passersby; Sneaky 🙂 (and no, laughing stock is not a something you cook with 😀 lol

      2. theonlycin says:

        Going there today, will take a photo 😉

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