Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers
What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Bring wine! Local wine is dreadful and imports are limited in range and very expensive. Two small supermarket/deli combos called Gorgeous and Novis respectively have a small range of speciality imported goods including some nice cheeses, olives etc. Good bread can be purchased at the two shops above and the Hyatt Hotel bakery shop. Those will access to the US Embassy Commissary make the most of it. The rest order from IDS and Justesens multiple times a year. Pack toiletries - there are very few western-style items available and very expensive when they are. Toilet paper is available. Bring pet food & litter as these items are not usually available here except at the US Embassy Commissary, for those lucky enough to have access. If you are bringing a grill, bring all the things you need to run and clean it. - Aug 2020
All the liquids. Uht milk for when they run out in the commissary. Laundry detergent, way more than you think you need. - Mar 2020
Not my first consumables post, so I came prepared. Shampoo, medications, cat litter, laundry soap, hand soap, dish soap, wine, alcohol, bring which ever extract you like for baking (vanilla, peppermint, almond, etc), spices, etc. You can save a lot of money by using your consumable shipment. The commissary is great, but can run low on inventory while waiting on a shipment. If it is a liquid and you can't live without it, put it in your consumables. Fill the crate with toilet paper and paper towels. For those with kids or if you are an artist, art supplies should be brought with you. Especially liquid supplies. The school has plenty for the classroom, but if they want to have it at home bring it. You can find stuff locally, but lower quality and pricy. - Feb 2020
More wine and beer that we like...more dish soaps... - Feb 2019
We maxed out our shipments so we couldn't even dream of shipping more. The common theme is to ship liquid items since you can't ship them in through the embassy mail. - Aug 2018
What I was happy to have brought:
Canned fruits - pineapple, berries, mandarine oranges, pear, peaches.
Canned fish - sardines (available in local stores, but pricy).
Asian ingredients - Thai curry pastes, fish sauce (available in Fantu sometimes), Pad Thai sauce, Chinese sauce, Dried noodles, Instant Noodles (we were not fond of Indo-mee, and other Vietnamese brand noodles), coconut milk cans (available in Fantu sometimes)
Sugar and short grain rice. Rice that we bought in a local grain shop turned out gray and did not taste good even though we throughly washed prior to cooking. Packaged imported rice was good, but at the end of our stay, we could only find Basmati rice.
When we go overseas, we bring back butter, cured meats, and cheese. Our friend recently bought 1kg of cheddar cheese for 2500 ETB in Addis. - Jul 2018
Anything with liquids, because you cannot ship liquids through pouch. - Jan 2018
Bring your favorite brands of soaps and detergents, since you can't send those through the pouch. Any particular beers or wines you like. Pet food and cat litter are not really available outside the commissary and there you have only one choice, so put Fido's favorite kibble in your consumables shipment. - Sep 2017
Laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap, tooth paste, pasta sauce, peanut butter/jams, cat/dog food. As someone else said, if we could ship perishables - definitely cheeses (all sorts), veggies and meats. - Aug 2016
If there was a way to do it - almost everything - meat, dairy, good veggies. We use Amazon quite a bit, but there are limits. A consumables post, but living out of cans is an unpleasant prospect. Hard to know what to bring until you are actually here, and it depends on how you live. We spend most of a day every week preparing food for the week. Shopping (usually 3-5 different stores and markets) to find necessities is very time consuming. We bake bread here (available bread is not good and rarely fresh), we make yogurt and process our own dairy (from UHT), etc. Cleaning veggies is a necessity with water/sanitation issues and epidemic disease fairly common, if unacknowledged by GOE (cholera, typhoid, etc.). Good place to lose weight; interest in food disappears after a few weeks of this routine. - Aug 2016
Generally, any liquids you'll want for the duration of your time here (Contact solution, any brand-specific cleaning products, etc.). Also, if you have kids, bring any large items you might want with you (outdoor play equipment, bikes, highchairs, etc.). It's crazy expensive to try to buy those things here. - Feb 2016
A lot of Western food items. - May 2014
Lots of coconut oil (so many uses). Nuts are expensive or unavailable, so ship a variety of nuts in bulk. Grapefruit seed extract, expensive but a gallon will last forever and you can clean your food and sanitize dishes with a drop or two. Food-grade hydrogen peroxide for cleaning veg and fruit. Fish oil (helps stave off sunburn and reduce use of sunscreen) - at altitude sunburns are easy to come by. Anything else you can't get via pouch or mail due to regs. Mosquito nets. - Jan 2014
Cooks go through oil and sugar like crazy, so more of those would be useful. (Often sugar shortages in town.) More Mexican/Asian food ingredients. More toddler squeezy fruit snack pouches, as those can't be shipped via the pouch. - Nov 2013
Cheese, more car repair parts, pet food, etc.... - Jun 2012
Check with local contacts or work colleagues before coming - if you are able to ship things in, there are all kinds of goods not available locally that it's nice to bring. Packaged foods, imported wine and specialty foods, etc. are very hard to come by. Pet food is impossible to find (and the price of gold) here - I'm glad I shipped it in large quantity. - Jun 2010
An SUV instead of a Sedan. I'd also ship plenty of warm clothes--layers are good. Long sleeve shirts to shed in favor of t-shirts as the day heats up. The quality of toys and kids' stuff is pretty low, so I'd recommend bringing gifts from the West. - Mar 2008