Food means a lot to us. Familiar dishes provide the comforts of home, and new culinary discoveries fuel a spirit of exploration—a way to experience delicious new cultures and expand our palettes. Food connects us through shared experiences and helps us feel more at home in the world. Even when you might be on the other side of the globe from home or that home culture, you know it when you taste it.
For example, let’s say you want to learn more about Caribbean culture. You know you like the culinary staples, like jerk chicken, but want to make some new discoveries. If you live near one, you can head to your nearest international grocery store, of course, to browse products and see what looks good. Sadly, though, we know that many areas may not even have an “international foods” aisle at any of the nearest stores.
Or maybe you’re originally from the Caribbean and you’re missing home. Whether you’re missing your favorite brand of plantain chips or you’re craving crunchy snacks like Big Foot, Chee Zees, and Cheeze Curls. Either way, you’re craving these snacks—but you’re not in the Caribbean, you’re in Chicago.
While the “international aisle” approach might feel “good enough,” you don’t have to settle for the in-store or in-aisle experience.
Luckily, there is (now) a better way to discover and order cultural groceries. We’re OjaExpress—Chicago’s only ethnic grocery delivery service. We make it easy to shop groceries from a number of different cultural communities, including African & Caribbean, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Hispanic, and European markets.
Get in touch with your tastebuds, with OjaExpress
Whether you’re looking for a specific snack item or want to explore some new tastes, look no further than OjaExpress for a unique shopping and discovery experience. We’re passionate about empowering customers to explore new cultures and reconnect with their own, with a process that makes it simple: select a cultural community, shop cultural groceries, pick up or get them delivered.
Let’s look at how the process works. First, we’ll look at how to find that specific snack or treat you’re looking for, and then we’ll briefly discuss how to browse OjaExpress and order Caribbean snacks online.
How to find the snacks you’re craving
OjaExpress caters to those who are searching for specific snacks or other items, as well as those looking to discover new favorites!
Finding something specific
Let’s say you want to find classic plantain chips, one of the most popular Jamaican snacks. When searches for “caribbean store near me” come up empty, OjaExpress is there to help you find what you’re looking for.
Here’s how it works:
- Head to OjaExpress, and select the relevant cultural community. In this case, African & Caribbean is the right choice.
- Next, input your zip code so OjaExpress can find the grocers in your area that carry Caribbean food products. Clicking the “Find my local grocers” button lets you see grocers in your area and browse their inventories.
- Use the search feature, near the upper-right corner of the site, to look for “plantain chips.” Search results will uncover several options for plantain chips available in your area, grouped by a grocer.
- For example, if you live in the Lincoln Park area and set the zip code to 60614, you’ll discover two different grocers in the area—Manny Grocery and La Fruteria in this case.
- All that’s left to do, then, is browse through the options, add the exact product(s) you want to your cart, and then check out. The checkout process includes selecting either delivery or pickup options. Either way, your snacks are near.
This method works really well for specific, common products. Other examples available through the OjaExpress grocer network include spicy beef patties or various products that use tamarind (like tamarind seeds and soda).
The other type of OjaExpress shopping experience is suited for culinary exploration and discovery. Maybe you have a vague idea of what Caribbean food and snacks are like and want to try some of the most popular items—or maybe you truly are just browsing, looking for anything new to try.
Here’s how you would use OjaExpress in more of a discovery-based experience:
- This process begins by accessing OjaExpress, selecting the appropriate cultural community, and inputting your zip code to find Caribbean grocers in your area.
- When you look at the grocer list without searching for a specific food or snack item, you’ll see all relevant grocers in your area. For the 60614 zip code, you should see 7 different grocers. From this view, you can see each store’s most popular items as well as location information.
- Once you’ve decided which store you’d like to browse, click the “Shop Here” button to browse their inventory.
- Add items to your cart, and check out—same as the final steps in the previous process.
You don’t have to settle for the “international aisle” any more
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the international aisle: for many communities, simply being represented at all can feel like a win.
But there’s a better way with OjaExpress, an experience driven by our core values, which include:
- Enabling a convenient shopping and discovery experience that’s like shopping with a personal culinary guide
- Making access to fresh, high-quality products as easy as an Amazon search
- Celebrating cultures and helping people to support and shop locally while exploring globally.
Learn more about OjaExpress
Head to our website to learn more about us and our passion for connecting people with a unique customer experience that opens the doors to a world of flavor and possibilities, whether that means reconnecting with home or discovering new worlds within your own neighborhood.