If you are not someone who has an African heritage or personal ties to Africa, then the idea of going to an African store may sound a little unusual at first. But actually, you don't have to be African to benefit from visiting an African store. These stores tend to stock all sorts of items that can enhance your life and broaden your horizons. Here are some of the top types of products to look for at an African store.
Cooking with spices will change your life! Spices can add all sorts of different flavors to dishes, and they do so without adding calories to your food. African stores tend to have excellent spice sections. You can look for spice blends, such as "Ras El Hanout" and "Berbere". These blends will come in handy if you want to look up and cook any actual African dishes. Most African stores also sell individual spices, such as allspice, chile powder, cardamom, and cumin. They are often cheaper and fresher at the African store than at your typical grocery store, making this a great place to go when you need to stock the pantry. You can use these individual spices to cook specific African recipes, or just ad-lib with them as you prepare food at home.
Cosmetics and Toiletries
African stores are also good places to buy cosmetic and toiletry items that you can't find at ordinary stores. They tend to stock a lot more natural products, such as natural moisturizers and shampoos. You'll see a lot of shea butter-based products, in particular, since shea butter comes from Africa and is a common ingredient in cosmetics. Other ingredients often featured in African cosmetics include argan oil, marula oil, and mongongo oil. If you use or want to use any of these ingredients, the African store is the place to go for a good selection.
African diets tend to include a lot of grains — and a lot of different grains! Instead of relying so heavily on wheat as people do in the U.S., Africans eat teff, millet, maize, sorghum, and an array of other grains. So, if you are looking to diversify the grains in your diet, the African store is a great place to go. Not only do they tend to have bulk versions of these grains, but they often have seasoned mixes of these grains you can make and serve as side dishes.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many great types of products African stores often stock. Visit one of these stores yourself, and enjoy browsing. You're sure to have a great time and find some useful products.