Quick Shop, North Dallas’ South African Convenience Store
During Hidden Gems Week, Observer’s food and drink writers celebrate a plethora of different, delicious restaurants and bars in the Dallas area, places not often (or never) mentioned by major food media outlets, trendsetters, bloggers or chefs will. We take you out of the ordinary to help you discover something new.
Quick Shop on Coit Road in the far north of Dallas is no ordinary supermarket. It is a South African shop selling a range of snacks, desserts, sausages and frozen foods from South Africa, Kenya and other Commonwealth countries including the UK. The owners of Quick Shop take great pride in their selections: For the African immigrants in North Dallas, this is a lifeline home.
Here are some things to try if you drop by:
Biltong: A common form of bucking in South Africa. Biltong is not as chewy or chewy as the American type and is flavored with a subtle mixture of sea salt, pepper, and coriander. Quick Shop has biltong that has been specially cured for the shop by an experienced manufacturer and is available in slices or in bulk. The owners take great pride in the quality. I got a sliced bag and grew as I snacked on it over the next few weeks to enjoy the meat more and more.
Chilli sticks: Like biltong, but spicy and in the form of tiny sticks. They’re drier and tougher, but they chew long enough and the meat turns into a pliable tenderness, releasing a flow of chili powder and spices. (Imagine that chewing gum always tastes better when you chew it.) By the way, there is another sausage meat at Quick Shop that was also specially made for the store according to its specifications: Droëwors, a thin piece of meat that is similar to the Americanized version of is beef jerky and is seasoned with coriander seeds.
Food: take a bag of dried pigeon peas; Try adding some dried nettle to your meal. top a sandwich with crab spread; Or choose between Vegemite, Marmite or Beefy Bovrite, a beef-flavored spread that you can put on toast. (We jumped on a large jar of gooseberry jam instead, but maybe soon boiled some pigeon peas.)
South African candy bars: Milo, Chomp, Tex and Cadbury’s Top Deck, which, tragically, is not in the shape of small cylinders.
Piri-Piri Sauce: Piri-Piri is a peppery hot sauce that is very popular in South Africa and Europe and is most commonly used for chicken. Quick Shop has glasses from competing brands, including a lemon and herb sauce, a mild variety rich in tomatoes and of course pure hot sauce.
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Sesame Snaps: With so many snacks and sweets to choose from, including candy bars, I went for these little sesame and sugar crackers. (That’s the whole list of ingredients, really.) They have a good crunch and come in tiny packs of three.
A selection of South African chocolate bars: they are uneven. Chomp is just horrible, with plastic, bad chocolate coatings made from simple sugar waffles. Tex, on the other hand, is great – like a giant Kit Kat with a layer of chocolate chips. Cadbury Top Deck is a decent mix of milk and white chocolate, but the bar isn’t in the shape of a top hat which is immensely disappointing. My favorite: Nestle Milo, a huge Nestle Crunch bar with malt and a little smoother chocolate.
McVities Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits: OK, I have another sweet treat. During the summer I was living in London working on a thesis, these “digestives” – really chocolate-iced crackers – made up probably half of my calories. There was a week where I ate a packet every day and snuck into the corner shop every night to just buy one packet that I told myself would be the last. Now, in 2017, my cookie package lasted a full four days. It’s good that Quick Shop is at the top of North Dallas.
Quick Shop, 17509 Coit Road, No. 6. 214-431-8841. Open Monday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer’s food critic since spring 2016. He also writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for Observer and MusicWeb International.