Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wishing you a very FISHY Christmas in Madagascar

UPDATED 14 JAN 15 5 OCT 2015:

There are no visions of snowflakes and snowmen during Christmas in Madagascar.  The skies are the brightest brightest blue you've ever seen and the puffed out bleach white towering clouds appear nearer here than anywhere else in the world.  So instead of a turkey--treat yourself to seafood this Christmas!  If you just want to know how to get it--rather than here me pontificate--scroll down and see my 3 SIMPLE STEPS.  Otherwise, read on!
One would think that on one of the largest islands in the world, fresh seafood would be abundant!  That there would be tuna and swordfish stacked high in the street, fresh shrimp and calamari flying through the air.  

When one considers, however, what being a large, but poorly developed, island means it quickly becomes evident why it can be hard to find fresh fish in the capital--a capital located a good 10-20 hours over tortorous roads from the nearest fishing port.   

My beautiful wife and I spent nearly our entire first six months here languishing in a desert of fishy sorrows...until SOPROMER.

DISCLAIMER:  You can get freshwater fish that is equivalentISH to tilapia or snapper in the supermarkets here but this was not what we were hungering for. 

We heard about the company from a friend here who had heard about it from his friend at the UN. This company imports freshly-vacuum-packed fish from the coast each week.  And the fish is a bargain--we have delicious tuna, swordfish and mahi-mahi--none of it more than $10 a kilo (so less than $5 a pound)!  Our personal favorite, though, is the swordfish--much to my lovely wife's chagrin--this mouthwatering morsel often elicits inappropriate moans from me at the dinner table.  

Of course, I only have pictures of the tuna--so those will have to suffice.  

Most importantly in all of this, we've never gotten sick eating the fish from SOPROMER!

Okay, so I know what you are thinking:

blah blah fish yummy weird commentary blah blah blah Jack just tell me how I order the fish!

3 Super simple steps:

1.  Email and ask to be added to their weekly email list.  
2.  Wait for the email and respond.
3.  Pick up your delicious fish the next week and enjoy


I am currently trying to convince the owner to just deliver to people's houses in Ivandry (or other neighborhoods).  I've suggested they charged a delivery fee of 5,000 Ariary (which would be tres cher for Madagascar) but I would gladly pay 10,000 Ariary for the ease of having it delivered to my house--especially since the truck rolls right past Ivandry on the way to its store by the French High School.  So far I have been unsuccessful but this is on my list of things to achieve before 2016!


The company doesn't necessarily realize what toro (i.e., the fatty underbelly of the tuna that costs beaucoup bucks at sushi restaurants in the US) is--one time, a solid quarter of the tuna filet was buttery-melt-in-your-mouth toro.

I am still looking for a connect to get salmon.  At Hediard restaurant, my lovely wife and I had a delicious, heavenly salmon filet--so I know its possible--I just haven't yet found the hook up.  You can also get it as LE CARRE (sometimes) and also the new restaurant SAPPORO Kyoto in Ivandry from what I've heard.  I suspect many of these restaurants actually buy the frozen salmon that they sell at Leader Price and cook it in enough butter and duck fat as to render it delicious.  That said, I've had the frozen salmon from LP and it is edible.

I've provide some snap shots so you would know the general locations of each store--once I visit them in real life I will provide a more exact location.


I also wanted to provide with an informational email from SOPROMER.  Here's my quick translation of it (with the original in french below):

We welcome you to our group of SOPROMER customers;

We receive fresh fish each week from two suppliers in Tamatave for fish like (tuna, espadon, dorado...) packaged in weights of half a kilo up to 3 kilos according to your needs.  From Morondava we get fish like capitaine, vivanea, merou....) packaged in filets from 400g up to 1 kilo.

They are vacuum sealed to keep them fresh for from 1 week to 10 days and kept in temps from o to 2 degrees Celsius.

Only time we don't get them is when there's bad weather on the east coast.

For deliveries, we have a shop in Ambohibao as well as in Ambatobe (across from French high school).

We send out an email each week for you to place your orders and then a second one confirming it.



Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue parmi les clients de SOPROMER.

Effectivement, nous recevons des poissons frais chaque semaine de deux fournisseurs à Toamasina pour les poissons pélagiques (thon, espadon, dorade coryphène,...) présentés en longe de 500g à 3 kg suivant besoin du client, et à Morondava les poissons de fond (capitaine, vivaneau, mérou, ...) présentés en filet de 400 à 1kg toujours suivant besoin du client.

Les produits sont conditionnés sous vide pour mieux le conserver en frais (une semaine à 10j) avec un bon froid qui varie de 0 à 2°C.

Suite au mauvais temps qui a commencé à la fin de la semaine dernière, les bateaux sur la côte Est ne sont pas sortis pour la pêche. Aussi, nous n'aurons pas d'arrivage de poissons pélagiques pour cette semaine. La prévision d'arrivage serait plutôt pour la semaine prochaine.

Pour la livraison, nous avons un point de vente à Ambohibao (30m après la pharmacie) sinon à Ambatobe juste en face du lycée français.

Je vous enverrai un mail début de semaine prochaine sur les prévisions d'arrivage et vous pourrez m'envoyer par retour votre commande et à la réception des produits je vous enverrai un deuxième vous confirmant les produits que j'ai pu vous réserver  avec les montants. Vous pourrez ainsi envoyer quelqu'un récupérer les produits avec le règlement.

Disponible pour tout renseignement complémentaire,


Responsable Commerciale
033 11 275 44

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