The List

A

A1 steak sauce
Available at the American Food Store.

Almond extract: arôme amande amère
Available at most French grocery stores. Comes in a small glass bottle, usually near the vanilla and baking powder. You can also find almond paste, almond slivers and ground almonds.

Applesauce
Available in glass jars or cans at most grocery stores. CityDia carries a selection of applesauce cups that are great for kids. Some have no added sugar. The American Food Store occasionally has Mott’s brand in individual serving cups.

Artificial sweetener (saccharine): edulcorant
Available at most French grocery stores. Comes in a large glass jar with red lid, usually near sugar and flour. Stevia sweetener is available at Le Parcours (also called Chez Hoballah or the French Fry store) and the American Food Store. Other brands, such as Equal, Sweet-n-Low and Splenda are at the American Food Store.

Asparagus: asperges
Fresh asparagus is available for about a month in February. Frozen asparagus available at Le Parcours (also called Chez Hoballah or the French Fry store) on the Corniche and also at CityDia.

Aunt Jemima’s
Pancake syrup and mix are found at the American Food Store.

B

Bacon: poitrine fumée
I find what is labeled ‘bacon’ is more like what we call Canadian bacon. Poitrine fumée is like thick-cut country ham. The CDA brand is quite good and available at Hypermarché Exclusive for about 600-700cfa for a small package of 4-5 slices. But the best is the homecured and smoked poitrine fumée from La Boucherie Nouvelle in Point E.

Baked beans
Several brands available at the American Food Store in Almadies, or Heinz brand is available at some French grocery stores, usually in the import section. You can also doctor up a can of cheap Cassoulet beans (first take out the meat add-ins) with ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, bacon and liquid smoke.

Baking powder: levure chimique
Available in small packets (about 2 tsp) at any grocery store or buutik. They are often in pink or yellow packets. Look for them near the vanilla-flavored sugar and instant yeast. Or you can buy American brands (and quantities!) at the American Food Store in Almadies.

Baking soda: bicarbonate de soude, bicarbonate alimentaire
Sold in a blue and white box at Casino stores or Arm & Hammer brand at the American Food Store in Almadies.

Barley: orge

BBQ sauce
Heinz BBQ sauce is available at some French grocery stores and Hypermarché Exclusive. The American Food Store also carries Sweet Baby Ray’s.

Berries
Netto brand frozen mixed berries available at Hypermarché Exclusive and Saprolait downtown. In some recipes, you may find that you can sub chopped, soaked bissap for cranberries. Or Craisins can be found at the American Food Store in Almadies.

Betty Crocker
Cake mixes and frostings are available at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN and the American Food Store.

Bisquick
Available at the American Food Store.

Black beans: haricots noirs
Available in small and large cans at Hypermarché Exclusive (VDN), Foodstore and Equipments (VDN-Sacré Coeur), Casino (Hann Maristes) and the American Food Store (Almadies).

Blueberries
Frozen blueberries available downtown at Saprolait or at Casino.

Blue cheese dressing
A great recipe here. Ken’s brand is available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Bread
Two things to know: 1) The best artisan breads are from Eric Kayser downtown, 2) The best local bread is called ‘tapalapa‘ and is available at most buutiks.

Breadcrumbs: chapelure
Fresh breadcrumbs available at Casino.

Broccoli
Available frozen at CityDia, Casino and Hypermarché Exclusive. You can find it fresh occasionally in the spring.

Brown sugar: Available at some French grocery stores and an entire shelf of choices can be found at Hypermarché Exclusive.

Cassonade: light brown sugar, similar to granular raw sugar
Sucre de cane: cane sugar, available in light or dark
Sucre roux: medium brown sugar, granular
Viergoise blond: softer light brown sugar
Viergoise brun: softer dark brown sugar

Brown sugar is available in Burkina Faso, so if you’ve got friends there or a trip planned… Or you can ‘cheat’ and bring maple flavoring from the US and add a drop or two per cup of sugar called for in a recipe.

Brownie mixes
US brand name mixes are available at Hypermarché Exclusive and the American Food Store. French mixes are available at Casino stores and CityDia.

Buckwheat flour: farine de sarrasin
Available at most French grocery stores.

Burritos
Old El Paso kits available at Hypermarché Exclusive and other stores.

Buttermilk: Elben
There are many possible substitutes for buttermilk, but the best I’ve found is Banic brand fermented milk/yogurt lait caillé nature which comes in a plastic bag with green writing. It works perfectly in many American recipes. A word of caution – lait caillé also comes sweetened in flavors, so if you want plain buttermilk, definitely look for nature. If you can’t find Banic, look for any unsweetened lait caillé in the yogurt aisle.

Butternut squash
Available nearly year-round at vegetable stands. Delicious!

C

Café Bustelo
Available at the American Food Store.

Cake mixes
US brand name mixes such as Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines are available at Hypermarché Exclusive and the American Food Store. You can also find French brands at CityDia and Casino. Note that these usually make smaller sized cakes than the US mixes.

Candy bars
Your best bet for American sweet treats is the American Food Store or Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Cappuccino mix
For American brands, try the American Food Store. Or Nescafé makes several varieties, available in the larger French grocery stores. City Dia carries a European brand with a couple flavors such as hazelnut.

Cereals
A great selection of US brands is available at the American Food Store and the bagged ones are actually not a bad price. You can also find a decent selection at Hypeemarché Exclusive.

Cheetos
Available occasionally at the American Food Store

Cheez-its
Available occasionally at the American Food Store

Cheez Whiz
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Cheddar cheese
City Dia occasionally saves the day at 7,000cfa/kilo! For about the same price, good substitutes are Edam, Mimolette and Gouda. Also found occasionally at Casino. CDA carries a sliced Cheddar, but the quality is not as good.

Cherries
Fresh cherries are available (at a serious cost!) at CityDia around the end of the year. Jarred cherries (with pits) are available at French grocery stores, near applesauce. Need to add thickener and sweetener to make pie filling, but this is a good start.

Cinnamon sticks: canelle en baton
Hypermarché Exclusive or CityDia

Cinnamon, ground: canelle moulu
Hypermarché Exclusive or CityDia

Cilantro: coriandre or persil chinois
Available at vegetable stands. Scarce at the end of hot season though.

Cloves: clous de girofles
Whole cloves are available at Hypermarché Exclusive or CityDia, but ground cloves you’ll probably want to bring from the US.

Coca-Cola soft drinks
You can find classic Coke as well as Coca-Cola Light and Coke Zero – occasionally available in regular, lime, orange, lemon and caffeine-free. Cherry Coke is available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive. Sprite and Fanta (several varieties) are easily available. For other US soft drinks, head to the American Food Store.

Cocoa: cacao non-sucré
Available at French grocery stores. 1848 is a very high-quality brand.

Coffee
US brands are available at the American Food Store, but Cor Coumba in Point E and Café Layal roasters in Plateau are musts for coffee-lovers.

Coffeemate
Available at the American Food Store and occasionally at Dakar City Casino.

Cornmeal: semoule de maïs, semolina
Excellent for making Southern Girl’s cornbread. You can find local cornmeal, but in general it’s either much more coarse than in the US, or it’s ground like flour. Either can be used with a bit of adapting your recipes… and your expectations!

Corn on the cob
We have great sweet corn! The season starts in January and lasts several months. You may need to ask for it though since it’s stored in large bags so not always visible at the vegetable stand.

Country ham
Jambon fumé is similar to a thinly sliced Virginia Country Ham if you heat it in a frying pan.

Country sausage
You can make your own using ground pork (chair à saucisse) which can be found at Casino at the butcher counter.

Crackers
American Snack Cracker packs, Cheez-its and Goldfish crackers are available occasionally at the American Food Store.
Ritz brand are available at some stores, but Tucs or Krit are a good substitute.
For Saltines, try the Leader Price brand ‘crackers salés’.

Craisins
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Cranberry juice
Available at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN and also at the American Food Store.

Cream cheese
You can substitute Kiri cheese squares or petits suisses (the ones in mini-yogurt pots) for carrot cake icing. For cheesecake, you can use well-strained (24 hours or more) lait caillé nature. Trust me.

Cream of tartar
Available at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Cream of wheat
Available occasionally at Dakar City Casino.

Cream soda
Available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

D

Dill relish
Available at Foodstore and Equipments on the VDN – Sacré Coeur.

Doritos
Available at many grocery stores, and other special flavors occasionally at the American Food Store.

Dr Pepper
Available at the American Food Store and regularly (single or by the case) at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

E

Enchiladas
Old El Paso kits available at Hypermarché Exclusive and other stores. Or Marie (of Marie’s Kitchen) can come to your house and make them with fresh tortillas!

F

Fajitas
Old El Paso kits available at Hypermarché Exclusive and other stores. CityDia carries their own brand.

Flour: farine
For all-purpose flour, look for Type 65. French all-purpose flour is more like what we call cake flour in the US. Whole wheat flour may be available from Shady Shack at ISD for about 700cfa/kilo.

Folger’s
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

French onion dip
Powdered gratinée d’oignon makes a very respectable French onion dip when made with crème fraîche épaisse. Tip: crush the croutons or they swell and get soggy.

French’s mustard
Available at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN and the American Food Store.

Fried onions: oignons frits
Commonly used for topping green bean casserole, these little guys can be found at larger French grocery stores in the apéritifs section alongside crackers and pretzels.

Frosting
American brand cake frostings are available at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN and the American Food Store.

G

Gatorade
Available at the American Food Store.

Ginger: gingembre
Fresh ginger as well as powdered is available at markets at most grocery stores. You can use it to make this tea for sore throats and colds and also these soft honey and ginger cookies. You can also find locally made candied ginger.

Gluten-free
Check the ‘bio’ (organic) sections of French stores but the jackpot is at the American Food Store. Also check Dakar Eats archives for more Senegal-specific tips.

Goldfish crackers
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Graham crackers
Available occasionally at the American Food Store. Petit Beurre cookies are a good substitute for making graham cracker crusts. You can also substitute the small cookies labeled Biscuits Thé for making s’mores. Another tip from a Dakar Eats reader: “Check out CityDia in Mermoz and look for speculoos original cookies. They taste and look like graham crackers.”

Granola
Muesli is really quite fantastic granola, but it’s expensive. Here’s a recipe for home-made granola. Our favorite store-bought brand is at CityDia.

Granola bars
Available at the American Food Store.

Grape jelly
Smucker’s brand available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Grits
Available occasionally at the American Food Store. But polenta is close enough if you’re a homesick Southerner. Or, even better… Grits, Senegal-style!

H

Hamburger Helper
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Heinz
In most large French grocery stores you will find not only the original ketchup, but also Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, a wide range of mustards and mayos, tomato products, and a new line of purees, dips and a curry sauce.

Hellman’s
Available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Hotdogs
Oscar Mayer brand vailable occasionally at Le Parcours (also called Hoballah’s or the French Fry store) on the Corniche.

Hot sauce
For US brands, the American Food Store is your best bet. The local piment sauce is delicious too!

I

Ice cream
Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs are available (for a price!). If you want a fresh scoop, try Mami Mia on route de Ouakam near the ancienne piste roundpoint or one of the N’Ice Cream locations.

Icing sugar: see powdered sugar

J

Jalapenos
Available at Foodstore and Equipments on the VDN and the American Food Store.

JIF
Available at the American Food Store.

Jiffy
Muffin and pie crust mixes available at the American Food Store.

K

Kellogg’s cereals
Available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive and the American Food Store.

KitKat bars
Available at CityDia.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Available at the American Food Store.

M

Masa flour
Available at the American Food Store.

Mayonnaise
Hellman’s brand is available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN. The Calvé brand is also a favorite.

Mint: menthe or nana
Available everywhere 🙂 If you’re wanting to make mint ice cream, may I recommend NOT using syrop de menthe.

Miracle Whip
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Molasses: mélasse
You can buy imported molasses at the Lebanese grocery stores. Be careful though – it can be much stronger than molasses in the US. I use half mélasse and half honey for making molasses spice cookies.

Mounds candy bars
Bounty bars are a great substitute! The blue packages are milk chocolate and the red are dark chocolate.

Mountain Dew
Available at the American Food Store.

Mozzarella
The best deal in town is at CDA. Big 2-kilo blocks or bags of shredded mozzarella for about 9000cfa. The quality of the block mozzarella is better than the shredded though. (Sen Express can go pick it up for you if you’d rather avoid the trip downtown!)

Mrs Butterworth’s
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Mushrooms: champignons
Dried mushrooms are available at Foodstore and Equipments on the VDN – Sacré Coeur. Frozen mushrooms can be found at Hypermarché Exclusif and other stores. Fresh mushroom are sometimes available (for a price!) at Casino stores and City Dia.

N

Nutmeg: noix de muscade
Available whole (entier) or ground (moulu).

Nutri-grain bars
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

O

Oats, rolled: flocons d’avoine
Available in cans at many stores. Ay Hypermarché Exclusive you can occasionally find 500g bags for under 1,000cfa, instant as well as steel cut. Flavored packets from the US are available occasionally at the American Food Store. CityDia also now carries oats at a good price.

Oreos
Who needs ’em? We’ve got Biskrem! 😉 But real Oreos are available in most chain grocery stores, and even some buutiks. Hypermarché Exclusive has chocolate-covered Oreos and mini Oreos and the American Food Store has a good selection.

P

Pancakes
Several brands of mixes are available at the American Food Store, including Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima and Bisquick. Also Aunt Jemima’s syrup.

Pam spray
Found at the American Food Store. Other brands are at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Peanut butter
Read this first!
US brands available at the American Food Store and UK brands (small jars) at Hypermarché Exclusive. Natural, local peanut butter is also available in two qualities: one for cooking mafé (tiggadegué) and the other for eating as is. For homemade PB cookies, use the latter.

Pecans: noix de pécan

Pepsi
You can find Pepsi soft drinks in 33 cl cans, 50 cl bottles or 1.5 liter bottles. Choose from regular Pepsi, Pepsi Max (sweetened with aspartame), Pepsi Max Citron or Pepsi Max Capuccino. The pink bottled Pepsi Light (also sweetened with aspartame) is marketed for women, so back off, guys.

Pesto
Available at most French grocery stores. The City Dia brand is our favorite.

Pickle relishs
Available at the American Food Store. Dill relish is available at Foodstore and Equipments on the VDN – Sacré Coeur. French ‘aigre-douce’ pickles are not sweet, but rather mild and can be chopped to use as relish in recipes such as potato salad and deviled eggs.

Pizza
The closest to American-style pizza is at Yum-Yum in Ouakam. Read our Pizza Awards post here.

Powdered milk
Many brands of whole powdered milk are available, but the best quality are Nido, Laitcran and Bridel. Skim powdered milk is available at Dakar City Casino and Hypermarché Exclusive – look for boxes rather than bags or tins.

Powdered sugar: sucre glace à saupoudrer
One popular brand name is ‘Daddy’ and it comes in a bright pink container, shaped like an hourglass. Available from most French grocery stores. There are now also local brands that are a bit coarse, but work for most recipes.

Powerade
Available at the American Food Store.

Prego sauces
Available occasionally at the American Food Store. CityDia’s brand is good too.

Pringles
Good news! You can find these everywhere.

Pumpkin
For Libby’s go to the American Food Store around the holidays. For making pumpkin pies and quick breads, you can use local naajo pumpkin or even carrots as a substitute.

R

Ranch Dressing
Hidden Valley brand available at the American Food Store.

Raspberries
Netto brand frozen raspberries available at Hypermarché Exclusive.

Reese’s
Peanut butter cups and peanut butter are available the American Food Store.

Ricotta cheese
Available in larger French grocery stores, or you can substitute fromage en faiselle or chèvre in some cases. Both work well in lasagne, but who wants to spend that kind of money? Here’s a recipe for making it from scratch in five minutes.

Rice milk
Available at the American Food Store.

Ritz crackers
Try Tucs brand instead. I actually like them better!

Roasted red peppers: poivrons rouges grillés
Available from French grocery stores and CityDia. Check to see if they’re packed in water or oil as both are available.

Root beer
Available at the American Food Store.

Rotel tomatoes
Available at Foodstore and Equipments on the VDN – Sacré Coeur.

S

Salad dressings
Unless you want French vinaigrette, the American Food Store!

Salsa
A word to the wise: French brands are often sweet rather than spicy. Here’s my Dad’s recipe – good stuff.

Saltines
Try the Leader Price brand ‘crackers salés.

7Up
Available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Shake-n-Bake
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Skippy
Available at the American Food Store.

Skittles
Available occasionally at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Smucker’s
Available at the American Food Store.

Soup
Canned soups (minestrone, for example) are available at Hypermarché Exclusive. Dried soup packets and boxed soups (purées) are also available and CityDia has a decent selection. The Knorr brand is quite good. If you want to make a cream of ____ soup from scratch, here’s a good recipe.

Sour cream: crème fraîche
I use crème fraiche and think it works just fine. You can add a squirt of lemon to it if you prefer. Available at any French grocery store. The épaisse is 30% fat content and légère is 15%. You can also strain lait caillé nature for several hours (try a coffee filter) to make sour cream.

Soy sauce: sauce soja

Splenda:
Available at the American Food Store and at French grocery stores.

Starbucks
Available occasionally at the American Food Store. Also check Dakar Eats blog – we have an exclusive supplier!

Strawberries
In season starting in February. A good price is under 1,000cfa/tub or 3,500/kilo in full season.

Stove Top stuffing
Available occasionally at the American Food Store

Sweet corn
In season starting in January. A good price is 100cfa/ear.

Sweet potatoes: patates douces
Available at vegetable stands. Be sure to ask for the orange ones because the white variety is more common. Great for sweet potato fries!

T

Tang
Available occasionally at the American Food Store. Foster Clark’s Orange is a good substitute.

Taco seasoning
Found at the American Food Store. In a pinch, just use ground cumin. If you’re in a pinch and have access to a spice cabinet, here’s a recipe.

Tex-Mex
Check out the selection at the American Food Store. CityDia carries their own Tex-Mex brand with tortillas, fajita kits, salsa and sauces. You can also find Old El Paso brand kits and salsa.

Tortillas
Homemade tortillas (whole wheat or white flour) are available Wednesday afternoons at Dakar Academy and by delivery the rest of the week. You can buy Old El Paso brand (or others) in many stores. Or you can substitute pita bread.

Tortilla chips
You can buy Old El Paso brand (or others) in many stores. Often there are ‘nature’ (plain) or ‘chili’ flavors.

Tostitos
Available occasionally at the American Food Store.

Truvia
Available at the American Food Store.

V

V8
Available at Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN.

Velveeta shells and cheese
Available at the American Food Store.

Vanilla extract: arôme de vanille
Vahiné brand available at most grocery stores, usually near sugar and baking ingredients.

W

Wheat bran: son de blé
Look for it in the ‘bio’ (organic) sections of French grocery stores.

Whole wheat flour
May be available from Shady Shack at ISD.

Worcestershire sauce
Heinz brand is available at most grocery stores.

Y

Yeast: levure boulangère
Available in individual packets or in bulk (500g) from most French grocery stores.

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33 comments

  1. Hello. I’m currently studying African Folklore, especially about the Senegalese food, at an university in the US. This website gives a lot of information that I’m really interested in and I want to know more about the market in Senegal. At the French grocery store, who are workers? and customers? Where are there products from? Thank you.

  2. Asalam malecum, Sato.

    There are quite a few larger grocery stores in Dakar, most of which carry French products as well as some American, Lebanese, Senegalese, etc… It’s an impressive mixture. The customers are equally diverse, I’d say.

  3. Kari! This is just like your website for Lyon. 🙂 Love it. Hey, where did you get the chair à saucisse? We may need to pick some up next time we’re in Dakar and try that sausage recipe. I’ve been missing sausage and the Lebanese varieties just aren’t doing it for me. Is it loose pork or does it come in a casing?

  4. Hi Amanda,

    You can get the chair à saucisse at most of the stores with a meat counter (Le Caddie, Casinos, etc…) It’s loose ground pork + pork fat for about 3,500 cfa/kilo. I need to buy some to make sausage for pizzas soon!

  5. Hi Kari. There is also a lebanese grocery store on Lamin Gueye, Haidar Grocery. It is almost directly across the street from Royaltine Pattisiere. I’ve found cake mixes, oreo cookies, philedelphia cream cheese, and boxed chocalate milk for kids lunches. Check out his store when u r in the area.

    Also today I discovered a store close to me on 37 Felix Faure, Touba Darou Wahab. She carries Sauve shampoo & conditioner, suave kids shampoo, Dove soap & body wash. She also has many american makeup brands. Prices are reasonable.

    Take care,
    Nada Keaik “Us Style”

      • Hi! Baking soda is called bicarbonate de soude and is sold in small white boxes usually. You can find it at Casino and CityDia shops, or pharmacies and corner butiks. Just ask for ‘bicarbonate‘.

  6. Kari! This is just like your website for Lyon. Love it. Hey, where did you get the chair à saucisse? We may need to pick some up next time we’re in Dakar and try that sausage recipe. I’ve been missing sausage and the Lebanese varieties just aren’t doing it for me. Is it loose pork or does it come in a casing?
    +1

  7. Hi… I am living in Dakar and I just love make food. I have the similar list of all the store in Dakar, my husband( Fabio) will send a e-mail for you , give names the others stores, by the way your blog it is amazing !

  8. Bread : the best “pain riche” (millet bread) is sold in a bakery near Tilène Market.
    Restaurant : Savana on “Corniche est” where you can see, smell and hear the sea. If you do not like the steps there is another way up.
    New Supermarché : DIA, from Spain, the staff are super polite. Apples cheaper than Casino.

  9. Hello, I am looking for ‘oyster sauce’. We are just moved and are living in Yoff. Any idea where we can find this? We couldn’t find it at our local CityDia & also not at first site in Casino (Almadies). Many thanks!

  10. Hi all… what a wonderful resource. I just arrived in Dakar with a daughter who is allergic to dairy and eggs. I am having a hard time finding specialty products other than the limited selection at Casino. Any suggestions?

  11. Hello Leslie
    You mignt want to try the Bio food store “La maison verte”; it’s downtown, on n° 24 Victor Hugo street, phone num 33 822 36 22. They carry lots of grocery products along with children and adults skin care

  12. Just looked through this 2015 list….thanks, Madame Dakar Eat. A couple of things: baking soda is also found at nearly every buutik and also many pharmacies when not available in the grocer stores (by name of bicarbonate de soude). Two of the best places to purchase strawberries when in season is the fruit stand near the Hann Mariste Catholic school OR Marche’ Kermel….I usually buy a flat at a time downtown. Enjoy!

  13. Hello
    I am looking for almond milk, soy milk or any non-dairy alternative milk in Dakar. Do you know where they sell such things?

  14. Hello,
    Returning from the US, I bought some packs of Beech-Nut Rice Single Grain (Rice and Oatmeal) for my 6 month baby to try it, as the ones we have in the Pharmacies are so sugared for her. My daughter really loved it. Now that she has eaten all, I wonder if we can have it in Dakar, or any other recommended alternative.
    Thanks in advance.

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