While skyping with my mom yesterday, she asked me, "Bryan, have you been able to go shopping?" Her worried, furrowed brow told me that I haven't shared with anyone what the food procurment situation is here. There are grocery stores in Buj, and despite the political/economic crisis, their shelves are stocked with plenty of delicious fare for the discerning mzungu.
My first introduction to Bujumbura grocery shopping was my first full day in town and some co-workers took me to Au Bon Prix (At the Good Price). Au Bon Prix is a store mostly for foreigners, with foreign products at foreign prices.
Cake mix, soy sauce, Pringles - they have things that one would assume you wouldn't be able to find in Burundi.
They also have wine and beer, although it's on the pricey side for this Californian.
Fruits and vegetables are great in Buj, and Au Bon Prix has a good selection of fruits and vegetables, although many prefer to go around the corner to a store that is exclusively fruits and vegetables, Les Quatre Saisons.
Where does a carnivore find meat in Bujumbura? The grocery stores have small selections, but the best bets are an Italian-owned butcher called Italbu and a Greek-owned butcher called Boucherie Nouvelle. I've made bolognese sauce, taco meat, beef fajitas and wonton filling with the delicious meats here.
Rounding out our options, there is Mutoyi, which some Americans don't like because everything is behind the counter and you have to ask for it (like in the olden days), but which has the most delicious fresh juices and yogurt that I've had. Finally, there is a diplomatic duty-free store with a great wine selection, an imitation Carrefour which has great glassware and frozen things, and Cafe Gourmand, which has baked goods and bread that even French people like.