Shopping for food in Kupang is something that requires a lot of time and a lot of planning…Since we do not know how to cook Indonesian food, and do not want to eat rice 3 times a day, we have to try to find things we are used to eating/making. Eating a healthy and varied diet here is quite a challenge…We have come so far now that what we eat is mostly quite healthy, but we are still struggling with the variety, or lack of it…
So back to shopping in Kupang…We are starting to learn where we can get different things
that we need for our daily living. We have found out which supermarket sells tomato paste, we know which bakery we can go to, to get brown bread ( but we actually eat very little bread due to the lack of something to put on it…) We were very happy and quite surprised when we found brown flour in one supermarket, but we have not done as much baking as planned due to a lack of something as simple as baking paper… We have found a restaurant where they sell broccoli and red pepper, and we also realized that the little corner of a shop where they sold a bit of meat is actually the butcher in Kupang…There they have minced meat which we are extremely happy about + some kind of smoked beef which we like and eat many times per week…
There are of course things that there are a lot of in Kupang. Rice for example…and palm oil…and bananas…(but they would for sure not pass any EU control)…also dry biscuits and wafers…and food supplement powder…Another thing which there is a lot of here is fresh fish. We have a lot to learn when it comes to gutting and preparing fresh fish, city people as we are, used to buying fish fillet…We have had two attempts, and they were not very successfull…Chicken we haven’t even dared to try to buy yet. Plucking off feathers and removing heads and other parts just don’t seem to tempt too much at the moment. Maybe in time if we get desperate enough for some chicken…(but we do go to KFC-Kentucky Fried Chicken-the only `western` style restaurant in Kupang 🙂 )
We have found the one and only supermarket here where they actually sell fruit and vegetables in addition to all the other things. That is probably where we do most of our shopping. (Incidentally, if you ever go shopping at this supermarket, you may hear the Kaptein Sabeltann song, `Hiv og hoi! Snart er skatten vår!…` over the loudspeaker system. On a few occasions the shop announcer has given the microphone to one of our gutta boys, who have then gone on to sing this norwegian pirate sea-shanty 🙂 ) But last time we came there the fruit and vegetable corner was completely empty. We don’t know what happened, we’re curious to see if that was a temporary or permanent thing. Normally they have lots of nice apples imported from New Zealand and China, but one thing they don’t have is bananas, cucumbers and tomatoes… In the beginning of our time here we were wondering where to get those basic vegetables. There are vegetable markets here, and also places where they sell fruit on the street, but they are quite out of our way. But then one day we realized that they were closer than we thought. It just took us a while to see that the motorbike loaded with vegetables that drove past our door every morning was actually there to sell…Also at the kindergarten there are some vegetable trolleys passing by during the day. There they have a little bit of some things. After a while we also realized that another motorbike drives past here everyday with fresh fish in a bucket on the back of his bike.
Kupang is a very spread out city, and driving here is probably our least favourite thing, so we have to try to plan well. Most of the shops we use are quite far away from our house. Also at times the shops run out of things, and only a few days ago we had to drive around from shop to shop to look for milk. And we’re not talking about fresh milk, there is none of that here. We’re talking about long life milk. But we must admit that we are a bit picky, we’re not happy with the full cream milk, we want the low-calorie version (which in reality is very close to whole milk in Norway when it comes to fat content) Daniel said yesterday when the boys ate supper: “I wish we had taken milk with us from Norway”
We also have to mention that people who have been here a lot longer than us say that the
availability of things you can get in the shops here has improved a lot the last years.
Maybe some of you wonder what the prices are like…we have been very surprised to see that they are as high and in some cases even higher than in Norway. And that is not just the imported things but also the locally produced things. Thinking then that the salaries here are extremely low compared to Norway, we really wonder how people survive. There are rich people here, but the big majority live very simple lives. That is a big subject that we might come back to another time.
Living like this helps us appreciate the small things in life…The joy we feel when we find floss (tanntråd) in a shop for example, or an even more necessary thing like suntan lotion…Or how happy we feel when the shop has filled up their milk supply…The joy of composing a new meal that everybody likes…And the enormous thankfulness we feel for being able to buy australian oats!!! (havregryn) So we at least know what we have for breakfast everyday, together with raisins that we have actually found in two different shops! Life is so good, God is so good to us, we feel so happy to be where He wants us to be, and He blesses us so much!