Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Family Food Center, Doha, Qatar

Today I went back to one of my favorite old shopping places, the Family Food Center. I have to go early in the morning, as there is hardly anywhere to park. I only needed three things, but I always find cool things there that I forgot I needed.

It was really a quick trip, a reconnaissance, mostly to see what was there, but also because I want to make something special for AdventureMan and I haven’t found the key ingredient anywhere else. Almost all the stores have corn flour, but only Family Food Center has Corn Meal, which is the critical ingredient for corn bread, true comfort food if you are from the Southern part of the United States.


Not only did they have corn meal – but they have Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits / Polenta, which I was bringing back by the suitcase full from Seattle – at not much less than the price they are charging here! 15QR comes to $4.13 and it seems to me I was paying between $2.99 and $3.59 in Seattle. Crank in the shipping factor, and the space factor, and the “paying for extra baggage” factor, and the mess factor – I am willing to pay 15QR to have it conveniently HERE when I need it to make cornbread for my husband, who will think I am amazing! Wooo HOOOO!

They are also the only store in town where I found my sweet friend that I can hardly do without to get my day started:


Vanilla Caramel, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven! 🙂

Because most days I have lunch by myself, AdventureMan eats at work, I found another old friend that I can’t eat when he is around because he can’t bear the smell. He has Southern roots, I have a lot of Swedish in my background, and oh how I love pickled herring.


I make a salad with it, and use the juice it comes in for salad dressing. It soothes the Swedish part of my heart. No, you don’t have to like it, you just have to tolerate that there are people in the world who like to eat pickled herring. You might be like AdventureMan, he finds it very difficult to believe:


The sweetest part of the trip was just icing on the cake. I found everything I needed, the store was uncrowded when I got there, and as it started filling up, I was able to walk right up to the checkout and leave. I didn’t really need help with the bags, I only had three or four, but the bagger-guy was already out the door, so oh well, I guess God just wants me to be generous today. As he was putting the groceries in the car, he said “Madame, we have not seen you for a long time!”

I was shocked. It’s been three years since I was there. I said “I’ve been living in Kuwait, but now I am living again in Doha,” and he said “Welcome back, Madame, we have missed you!”

June 21, 2009 - Posted by | Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Food, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Moving, Qatar, Shopping


  1. I am shocked and amazed! 😉 By the pickled herring picture, not the pickled herring itself. Being Dutch I eat pickled herring on occasion as it is a very traditional Dutch food. So why my amazement? The label says: Originele Zweedse Haring, which is not Swedish, but Dutch. Am I to understand the Dutch are IMPORTING herring from Sweden? What happened to our own? And are they then exporting it to Qatar?

    It is a strange world, indeed.

    Enjoy your haring!

    Comment by Miss Footloose | June 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. I loved the end of your story, the bagger guy recognizing you after three years. You can believe it’s not for nothing — you must have always acknowledged his existence with a smile or a comment, not like so many people who don’t even look at “service personnel” and treat them like pieces of furniture.

    Comment by Miss Footloose | June 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. Chanced up on your blog… i love trying out diff food. never got a chance to dig into pickled herring. will definitely pick it up on my next visit to FFC… is it at the airport branch?

    Comment by qatarfoodie | June 21, 2009 | Reply

  4. LLOOOLLL; I didn’t even pick up on that, Ms. Footloose! I just assumed it was Swedish, or Norwegian! (had to Google the spelling on that one!)

    Hmmm, Qatarfoodie, now I am thinking – the herring may have come from the MegaMart near the Ramada; I hit both places that day. Yes, I go to the FFC near the airport because there is a better chance of finding a place to part, plus I love their upstairs, so much STUFF!

    I have a question for you – have you seen Vietnamese salad rolls in Doha? They are uncooked, noodles, beansprouts, lemon grass, mint and sometimes shrimp or chicken inside, you dip in peanut sauce?

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  5. yeah must be Megamart as I have not seen anything like that in FFC.
    I have not seen the rolls anywhere, but you can get the rice wrappers in FFC. So i guess you will have to get your hand dirty with that. Anyway will keep an eye open on this. And on googling I found out the peanut sauce is more of hoisin sauce garnished with chopped peanuts. Somepeople do use peanut butter, but my guess is its more for the crunchiness.

    Comment by qatarfoodie | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  6. Qatarfoodie: found Emborg brand herring today at LuLu’s 🙂 Beware! You may not like pickled herring! I was raised with it; it may be a cultural thing. BTW, I can do the sauce! I can do a great sauce! It’s the roll that’s hard . . .so fresh, so GOOD!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  7. LOL! You must have nabbed all the family Swedish/Dutch/Norwegian loves-pickled-fish genes, as I’m siding with AdventureMan on this one! Bet you took all the loves-pickled-beets genes, too….
    Hmmmm, if our food preferences can be heritage-based, someone has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do about my Mexican, Italian and Asian food cravings…

    Comment by sparkleplenty | June 23, 2009 | Reply

  8. LOL, maybe Big Diamond, too; she and I always order a pizza with anchovies! As for the rest – being foodies, maybe? 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 23, 2009 | Reply

  9. […] pleased I was to find some (and in fact actually the diet version also!)  in the Family Food Centre so that once more I can enjoy that paragon of pleasure, the Scottish drink par excellence; with the […]

    Pingback by Mike’s Meandering Mumbles » Blog Archive » Irn Bru | July 15, 2009 | Reply

  10. hi
    I know this is an old post to comment on… but this post inspired me to post something on my blog… it took a few months for me to get going… like pickling even the post was getting pickled… when you have time drop in

    Comment by qatarfoodie | November 15, 2009 | Reply

  11. Great post, Qatarfoodie, and I learned something about Qatar I didn’t know. I have never seen – nor been served – the red chili sardines, and they look (to me) delicious! I would love to know more about serious traditional Qatteri cuisine. Have you eaten at Tawash in Souq al Waqef? What did you think?

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  12. please send the draw result

    Comment by hafistu | May 18, 2010 | Reply

  13. We are exoprt company from CYPRUS.we like to contact with your company.
    please gives us the Email and the person who is in charge of import items to your company.
    imp exp mngr

    Comment by LEFTERIS LAZAROU | June 11, 2011 | Reply

    • Sorry, Lefteris Lazarou, I am just a lowly blogger. The Family Food Center is just a store I reviewed, not my store.

      Comment by intlxpatr | June 12, 2011 | Reply

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