A bouquet of Meso-American spices and finding the Inca Gold of sodas.

Mexican House of Spice
2022 Douglas Street
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 388-6602

Open 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

I may have found where most of the Mexican, South American and Caribbean restaurants in town gets their spices. Upon entering the Mexican House of Spice, I was treated to a delight of scents, an array of packaged spices, a towering amount of canned goods and plenty of sodas to make my eyes go wide. I was very impressed with the fact that no shelf looked half bare or empty. Had there been a deli, I’d be salivating.

Anyone looking to stock up or experiment with the flavours from Mexico, Latin America, Africa and Jamaica may already know about this store. But in an area of town that I rarely tread, to enter this store made me wonder what it’d be like walking through a street market in Mexico. What I experienced here was a teaser, and I’m providing as many high quality pictures in this entry so readers can see what I saw. Their flyer states that they carry a variety of tortillas but the list does not end there. There is no way I can mention them all, but here’s a sampling: queso fresco, dry chillies, Ibarra and abuelita (chocolate), mazapan, plantain flour, cock soup mix and even banana leaves. I think the stores in Chinatown should be jealous.

This place even sells sombreros and ponchos too. But in what caught my eye were the number of sodas in the refrigerator and along the shelves. I now know where to buy Colombiana Cola by the 2 litre when a trip to La Fogata Latina is not required.

While James and I were impressed with that one drink, I may have struck gold with another drink simply called Inca Kola. It’s packaging certainly caught my attention, and I had to buy one chilled can to try out. Its sweet lemony flavour certainly has me ready to leave one country and enter another. The higher corn syrup content certainly made this drink very smooth.

In looking up how this drink became the national brand in Peru—I found this entry on “Marketing Weblog:”

Lindley, a Peruvian company founded in 1910, launched in 1935 Inca Kola, a uniquely flavored, sugary drink with low carbonation, under the slogan “There is only one Inca Kola and it’s like no other.”

By the mid 1940s, Inca Kola was already a market leader in Lima, and, thanks to innovations introduced in 1945, bottling volume expanded greatly, growing steadily and positioning it as a traditional Peruvian drink, using national and indigenous iconography and images.

I’m sorry Colombia, but I’m ready to move south to Peru. Each region has its own unique drink, and I want to try them all. Even though I don’t recall seeing these regional drinks in menus when I visited a few South American themed restaurants in the States, it makes me wonder how much European domestication has occurred to cause these drinks to appear in select markets. Although the Corporación José R. Lindley S.A. Company holds the rights, Coca-Cola manufactures the drink in the United States. This larger global force saved the Lindley Company in what I interpret as near bankruptcy, and I’ll have to thank them. The real gold is in accepting that each country has its national pride. Colombia has its own Cola, Peru with its Kola, and what’s next? Argentina, here I come!

Mexican House of Spice on Urbanspoon

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