I’m moving to Shanghai at the beginning of February and I can’t wait. I’m excited about the new culture, lifestyle, experiences, language and food I will smell, touch, see, taste and enjoy. However, like any native that emigrates to a new country, there are going to be things that you will miss, especially food!
Now, I don’t have any intention of moving across the world to search for the local chips shop or bakery that can rustle up a salad sandwich, absolutely not. And I will never understand when people go on holiday or move to another country and continue to eat the food of their native land, without giving their host countries delicacies a chance.
Not only do I not survive on processed or packaged foods here in the UK, but going overseas and buying European foods can be expensive and in some instances, hard to come by.
But I’m human and I have favourite foods and foods that I enjoy and will miss. But it’s only food! I’m moving to a continent that has an abundance of exotic, colourful, seriously cheap, unusual foods that is readily available in wet and dry markets, street food vendors and grocery stores. So there will be no excuse to go hungry or complain. And if that’s not enough, I’m going to be less than 1- 2 hours away from all of South East Asia and the rest of Main Land China that also has an abundance of amazing foods. I know I’m going to be spoilt for choice!
MERIDIAN SMOOTH PEANUT BUTTER
Are you smooth or crunchy? I’m happy to debate or argue with anyone about which is the best brand of peanut butter! Of course making peanut butter from scratch in your blender is always the best method, but if you don’t have the time and don’t mind buying peanut butter like me, then Meridian Smooth Peanut Butter is by far the best on the market. And no, this is a marketing plug.
I found out that there is a Holland and Barratt in Shanghai, but I’m not going to buy western food in Shanghai or my beloved peanut butter, I’ll wait until I visit the UK and buy the 1kg tub and indulge.
Why do I love this brand of peanut butter?
Roasted nuts with the skins on
No palm oil
I’ve grown up with the smell of Ackee being cooked with onions, a mix of peppers, callaloo and accompanied with fried dumplings. Ackee is a fruit that is very familiar in African and Caribbean homes and as a vegan, I eat it on a regular basis steamed with different fruits and vegetables. I love this fruit.
Unfortunately, living in the UK we don’t have the luxury of picking fresh Ackee of the tree’s that grow in our back gardens or over-hanging from the trees from other people’s gardens. We can only get them in small or large tins. Although they’re are not as fresh, as we never really know how long they’ve been in the tin, the distance the tin has travelled and the real contents of the tin. If you can buy a tin from a reputable supplier and brand the Ackee still tastes great if you prepare and cook them well.
I cook Ackee the same way my mum does, with a mix of onions, peppers, carrots, callaloo, mushrooms and mix vegetables. I usually accompany it with sweet potato, spelt pasta, Black, Red or Wild rice.
If you’re are looking for an alternative to eggs because you’re looking for something other than tofu, then Ackee is a great substitute and can be eaten any time of day with anything you fancy.
Why do I love Ackee?
No saturated fats or cholesterol
High in fibre
Great source of Vitamin C
Rich in Vitamin B1 and B2
Provides small amounts of Vitamin B9
Prevents oedema and water retention
Supports weight loss
Subtle taste and versatile
If I was creating this list in order of priority or in numerical order with my favourite food being number one, then plantains would be at the top. I love plantains!
Like Ackee’s I’ve grown up in a household where I ate plantains literally every week with different dishes. Being plant-based has increased my love and consumption of this sweet and versatile banana. I boil, bake, steam and very rare occasion fry, all of which have their own distinct taste. You can eat plantains for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As part of my food prep for my flight to Shanghai, plantains and Ackee are part of my meals!
Plantains are now available everywhere, literally in every supermarket, market stall and European shop selling fruits and vegetables, there’s no excuse not to try this Caribbean treat; And there cheap too, which means adding it to all your meals or eating them on a regular basis is a reality. You can buy either 3 for £1 or 4 for £1 and you just store them in the cupboard or a dry place in the kitchen.
Like ripe banana’s that you eat without cooking (as plantains have to be cooked and cannot be eaten raw) the longer you leave them to ripen the sweeter they are; however if you plan to bake or boil them, don’t leave them to ripen too long.
Why do I love plantain?
You can eat them with pretty much any meal
Good source of fibre
Beta-carotene which means you can produce Vitamin A
Contains Vitamin C
Low in fat
1 plantain contains 1.6 grams of protein
Who doesn’t love avocados?! When I can get unbruised, ripe avocados I am really happy. This great source of fat is another staple in my kitchen that I will miss when I move. I can eat this fruit with anything and everything as well as adding it to my juices. My dad had an avocado tree in his garden and like Ackee’s they freely grow from trees in the Caribbean. This is another exotic fruit that is readily available everywhere including the really large ones. Places like Aldi and Lidl sell packs of 4 for under £2 and sometimes have special offers for 1 for 49p.
Why do I love Avocado?
Contains the following Vitamins and Minerals – C, E, K, B5, B6, Folate and potassium.
Avocados also contain small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin)
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat
Contain more potassium than bananas
This high-fat food is loaded with monosaturated fatty acids which is great for your heart
Filled with fibre
Can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Filled with antioxidants
Supports weight loss
BFREE LOAF AND WRAPS
I personally know a lot of people who say they don’t eat bread, can’t eat bread for a number of reasons – aesthetic’s if you’re committed to the fitness industry and the dislike for carbs being at the top of the list and being misinformed about healthy bread options! However, a few years ago at the Just V Show exhibition, I discovered the best free-from everything bread and now wraps by the BFree Brand and I absolutely love it.
My favourite from this brand is the brown seeded loaf and the wraps, which come in Sweet Potato, Multigrain and Quinoa and Chia Seed. I can’t tell you how good these taste and how versatile they are. They’re a must try! I don’t eat bread all the time, but I do use the different wraps for my food prep meals and I fill them with fruit and veg.
Why do I love this brand of BFree Bread?
Great source of protein
A huge range of breads, wraps and rolls to choose from!
These are just some of the regular foods I really enjoy and incorporate into my lifestyle. There are a few more plant-based foods that I will miss, such as Spelt Pasta, Agave Nectar and my yearly treat of the Vego chocolate bar . However, I’m going to develop a new love for lots of different fruits, vegetables and foods in Shanghai and when I visit the UK I can indulge in the foods I’ve missed!
I’m looking forward to my new plant-based lifestyle in Asia and I’m eager to learn about the foods that I can incorporate into my diet. And then I can create a list of Asian plant-based foods that I love in Shanghai!
Thank you for reading x