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Atlas Trading Company makes Cape Town even spicier

Visitors to Bo-Kaap shouldn’t miss this Indian spice shop

While strolling through Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, turn into Wale Street and you will spot a pink house with a simple green logo: ‘Atlas Trading’.

The Atlas Trading Company has been selling spice since 1946. "The building was first owned by another man who then sold it to my father," says Wahab R. Ahmed, managing director. "At first this place was a normal shop where Indian products were sold, and then the emphasis was changed to spices.”

There is a variety of spice on sale; from well-known curries to barbeque mixes and the more exotic spices, such as Methi Kasoori or Sajiera. Whether you’re a tourist or a desperate housewife you will find what you’re looking for in this unique shop. "So far there hasn’t been one case where we couldn’t help a customer," assures Wahab.

Spices are on sale in front of the shop (therefore packed in small packages) or can be bought out of big boxes in the back.

But there’s much more than just spice in this aromatic store. Walking through the shop, Wahab shows me some of the other products: different kinds of beans and rice (which are also stored in the huge boxes), nuts, coconut milk and oil, dried fruits and incense sticks. Most of the products are imported from India; but some of them, for example the special sugar beans, which grow in South Africa only, are sourced from Cape Town’s surroundings. Some spices are brought from India as a whole, and then ground. "Because of that we can guarantee that it is 100% spice, without any additives," says Wahab.

And is there a bestseller?  "Of course, there is one," says Wahab, "it’s Leaf Masala, a mix of 12 spices which match with everything – curry with beef, chicken, vegetables, you name it."

We end our small tour through the fragrant room—it felt a bit like walking through an Indian bazaar. Leaving through the front door into the street, we’re struck by the colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap shining in the bright sunlight. Cape Town has got enough colour, enough spice – but as they say: you can’t get enough of a good thing.

by Anne Wallrabe

Atlas Trading Company
94 Wale Street | Bo-Kaap | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 423 4361

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:15pm, Saturday 8:30am – 12.15pm, and Sunday closed

Discover the Bo-Kaap with a city tour or in the Bo-Kaap museum.

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