My new favourite shop for spices

We spend a lot of our time in Cape Town on the Atlantic Seaboard, especially around Sea Point and Mouille  Point. Main Road in Sea Point is an amazing place – seriously, if you want to buy something or get something fixed you’ll be able to get it done in Main Road. So imagine my delight when my theory was proved correct yet again with my discovery of an amazing spice shop.

I was making a Massaman curry for dinner using Rick Stein’s recipe from his Far Eastern Odyssey. A lot of different spices are required and I found myself short of black cardamom seeds, mace and tamarind. I’d scoured all the local supermarkets with no luck and was determined to find all the ingredients to produce the perfect, authentic curry. I’d pretty much given up hope, until I recalled a spice shop I’d spotted and decided to give it a go.

Spice in the City is right on Main Road next door to the Adelphi Centre. It’s run by third generation South African-born Indian, Raziyah Johnston, who grew up in Ireland (how’s that for an exotic combo!). With a background in PR and the diplomatic service, in 2011 Raziyah decided to take a leap of faith and open up her own spice shop. This all stemmed from a desire to share her passion for food and cooking and both her shop and Raziyah herself are a real inspiration.

The shop is a total treasure trove. This is the sort of shopping I get truly excited by! Spices, sauces and other specialist ingredients abound (needless to say my three missing ingredients were very quickly located). Raziyah charmingly offers advice and recipe ideas and will happily talk food (all with her lilting Irish accent), making a visit to the shop an enjoyable social occasion as well as a necessary shopping expedition. Her enthusiasm and knowledge really shine through.

The shelves are packed with tempting packets of spices

The shelves are packed with tempting packets of spices

As well as the comprehensive variety of products available, spices are available in different sizes. Great news for me as I’d much rather buy smaller portions so I can keep it the freshest and tastiest possible.

You'll be drawn in by vibrant colours and tempting aromas

You’ll be drawn in by vibrant colours and tempting aromas

She also has a comprehensive range of legumes, pulses, seeds, chutneys and speciality teas available.

Pop in for some spices and advice from Raziyah

Pop in for some spices and advice from Raziyah

I guarantee a visit to Spice in the City will inspire you to get those spices flowing! After my second visit I left with a recipe for crab curry, and assurances that it really wasn’t an intimidating dish to cook. Watch this spice, sorry space…

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