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Aug 25, 2008 09:00 AM

NZ faves in Bay Area?

I'm looking for a little gift for some New Zealanders ...... any retail stores in the East Bay or SF? I did find one lead - Mangal's Market in San Leandro ..... it's cash & carry. Anybody have any experience with this place? Worth a trip down there? ( I llive in Richmond )
TIA :~ )

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  1. Mangal's definitely has a lot of products from New Zealand I've never seen anywhere else, though the customers seem to be mostly Samoans and Fijians.

    Mangal's Market
    1699 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      As Robert has observed: most of the clientele are Pacific Islanders. The store is located in downtown San Leandro - there is a retail space with the wholesale business to the rear of the building. A few fresh items ...... fresh taro leaves, green banana looking things but mostly shelves filled with cans and bottles of items from New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and other Pacific Island environs. Marmite ( of course ), Weet-Bix, pallets of tinned corned beef, spaghetti in cans, baked beans ( English recipe ), crackers from NZ and even chips from NZ ( but check the expiration dates ) Around the edge of the store are freezer cases with various cuts of lamb, some frozen fish and other miscellaneous items.

      1. re: gordon wing

        I would be inclined to give them something they cannot easily get down under. Weet-Bix, Arnott's crackers, Anzac biscuits (a crispy oatmeal cookie), the canned foods you mention are readily available as are many Southeast Asian foods, albeit some (but not all) are tailored to English tastes. I've been able to find some of these foods at Cost Plus Imports of all places, and United Market in Marin.

        Things like avocado and really good chocolate were harder to find.

        1. re: AntarcticWidow

          thanks, these folks are actually ex pats who have been in the US for many years and I just wanted to give them something iconic that would be a nice reminder of home. my mention of the range of items carried at Mangel's was more for the benefit of interested Chowhounds - don't think my friends are missing the Ox and Palm corned beef ( but somebody must because they carry huge amounts of it )

          1. re: gordon wing

            Ah, now I understand. I would pass on the canned goods myself.

            Some products that I have been able to find here ... ANZAC biscuits are wonderfully crispy/crunchy until the humidity softens them up - even then, they are delicious. I bought two packages to carry me through my trip around the South Island. I was delighted to find that United Market in San Rafael carries them.

            If you are inclined toward baking (homebaked treats are always nice), there was a dessert I had in a coffee shop in Dunedin called a Ginger Crunch. It is similar to a shortbread cookie with an icing over the top that had ginger overtones.

            One of the best finds I discovered was Manuka Honey. It has a distinctive flavor, unlike any I have tasted here. I bought a jar from a farmer's market in Nelson and brought it back with me. I have seen it at El Cerrito Natural.

            The Pasta Shop carries Alexandra's Brand Dukkah (an NZ import). I'm not sure if it was a food fad or not, but 2-3 years ago, you would be hard-pressed not to find dukkah as one of a trio of dips in a starter's menu.

    2. Fiji Market in San Bruno has some NZ items.

      Fiji Market
      621 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. At Mangel's Market there is lots of New Zealand Lamb ( frozen ) - a variety of cuts.

        2. Don't know if you already bought something. South Bar which is an Australian/New Zealand restaurant in SF has an online store. Don't know how many of these items are from NZ or desirable by New Zealanders ... but here you go ... how about NZ booze?