Eating Afro-Caribbean food in restaurants can be time-consuming and not always convenient for busy Londoners. Unless you want plantain chips from Tesco or Sainsbury, African food is seldom available in big superstore chains. Local grocery shops offer the usual plantain and peppers but it can be tricky to find more specific products.
This is why more African grocery shops (physical and online) have appeared in London. Their goal: providing affordable and available African food for everyone.
Africa Shopping Centre
In Brixton, Electric Avenue is filled with grocery shops and off licences. However, Africa Shopping Centre stands out by the variety of products it offers: from the Ivorian attieké to fufu, to yam, onga cube, fried shellfish, plantain and more. Africa Shopping Centre has a broader choice than most grocery shops, especially when it comes to food from smaller African communities in London.
Africa Shopping Centre, 24-26 Electric Avenue, SW9 8JR. Open every day, 8am-8pm
Chez Chiyonika is a Congolese grocery shop providing food like chikwangue and Kongo Bololo as well as other typical Afro-Caribbean fayre, including meat and fish. The shop also has a beauty section, with hair and skin products. They also have a website where you can buy their groceries as well as CDs and DVDs — plus they offer free local deliveries.
Chez Chiyonka, 3 Station Parade, Upper Clapton Road, E5 8BD. Open every day, 10am-8pm
Top Food Centre
Right next to Chez Chiyoka is Top Food Centre whose mantra could be summarised as "we serve African people" — which, handily, is also the message on the store front. Opened in 2011, Top Food Centre doubles as an off licence and grocery shop, providing European and African groceries alike.
Top Food Centre, 4-6 Upper Clapton Road, Lower Clapton, E5 8AE. Open every day, 10am-8pm
Bims African Foods
This legendary African grocery shop has been open for more than 20 years. Its selection of food and drink is impressive: you can find alligator pepper, jumbo, pounded iyan, a large variety of peanut paste, ogi, okra, gari, attiéké (spelled atchake), as well as plenty of leaves, from potato leaf to bitterleaf. It also sells African masks, bowls, hats and pearls.
Bims African Foods, 102 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4RZ. Open Mon-Sat, 9am-8pm
Stella's Groceries and Vegetables
Further away from Bims on Peckham Rye, Stella's is smaller, but nonetheless well supplied. The shop has fresh fruits and vegetables, such as plantain and gombo, as well as a large selection of non-alcoholic super malt, Ghanaian sweet breads (agege breads), fresh patties and a few brands of powder milk, including the classic Nido (cereal powder milk).
Stella's Groceries and Vegetables, 154 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4NB. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm
Online grocery shops
Similar to Ocado, a few websites deliver groceries in London and the rest of the UK.
Based in London, AfroExpress was launched less than a year ago. Its aim: making African food and groceries accessible for all. It provides all types of African groceries and drinks as well as meat and fish, supplying to businesses, events and private customers. Customers order groceries via text message, sending a list and paying on delivery. AfroExpress only delivers inside London for the moment.
AfroExpress. Delivery price is £6.99 on a minimum spend of £20
Olumo Foods is a family owned business specialising in delivering Caribbean and Nigerian food. It sells vegetables, food seasoning, meat and fish, puff puff and especially fresh vegetables.
Olumo Foods delivers all around the UK. There is no minimum order for delivery, but the delivery charge is £14.98. If you order from Monday to Friday before 9pm, you’ll have a next day delivery.
Opened in Sussex in 2011, Afrocarib provides a large range of items, from ready meals to South African, Ghanaian and Caribbean groceries, meat, cosmetics, kitchen supplies and more.
Afrocarib is one of the very few online shops delivering not only to the UK, but also mainland Europe, the USA and Canada as well (easier to do business). Order online or by phone. In the UK the delivery can take from one to five days. The delivery charge is £7 for orders weighing less than a kilo, £8.99 for orders weighing up to 27kgs and £18.99 for up to 57kgs.