Jeff and I hopped on the scooters yesterday for some grocery shopping at Tops, our favorite food market, so I thought I’d take some pics for you all to see.
Why do we take the scooters rather than drive? Because of traffic and the way the one-way roads and u-turns are designed, it is MUCH faster on the scooters.
Why is it our favorite market? It is large for here, meaning it has lots of choices in one place. It still is not one-stop shopping by any means; we still get different things at different places throughout the week, but here we can grab basic things to have on hand. It isn’t the cheapest place, nor is it the most expensive (Villa and Foodland are more pricey, and we stay away from there so as not to be tempted as much to buy so many American products that of course are way expensive.)
What do we normally get here?
- some produce
- chicken or ground beef, maybe pork
- eggs, yogurt
- crackers, nuts, beans
- oils and sauces
- flour, sugar, Bob’s Red Mill products
- cookies, chocolate
Things come in small packages, and cost quite a bit. There is another store we sometimes go to called Makro, and it is somewhat like a Costco; they even check and highlight your receipt on the way out. At Makro you can get a little bit more in bulk, but the bulk here is like the “normal” U.S. size for things. At Makro we’ve bought yogurt 4-packs, larger foil and plastic wrap, chocolate chips, flour, yeast, syrup, oats, spices/seasonings.
Above you see only a small part of the rice aisle – as you can guess, rice is a common commodity in Thailand. We don’t make it at home often, as we can get it already cooked super cheap right in front of the apartment. Above you see how juice comes, in shelf-stable boxes, lots of added sugar syrups – we never buy it, except sometimes splurge on American brand orange juice from the fridge section (I think only twice since we’ve been here!) Those pics also show some nicely packaged veggie items with corn, and seaweed snacks. Taylor loved seaweed in the states that we’d buy at Sprouts – here it is readily available everywhere for her. I’ll pass – I prefer my seaweed wrapped around sushi!
Bangkok is a huge city with almost anything available once you discover where to find it. But you will pay the price for imported items! I would like a potato masher, but the one above at Tops is almost $10. I will just use a fork for now! Salsa? Sure – $7.50 for the small jar. And since I am a native Californian who grew up with REAL Mexican food, I don’t even want to splurge on that jarred stuff! Jeff has tried to make it here like we did at home, but Thai red peppers have a totally different taste than the ones used back home. We’ll be bringing back the right kind of dried peppers with us next summer!
Canadian maple syrup? Sure. Seen above ranging from $9 to $21. At home I only bought 100% maple syrup. Here in BKK, I confess to buying the “maple-flavored” stuff for less than $2. I can’t read the ingredients, but I am sure it is pretty fake – actually we like the taste though!
Take a good look at those cherries up there lined up in rows and wrapped nicely in a bow – are you sitting down? For about $40 we could have them! No thanks. I will stick with the fruit lady’s delicious local fruit available outside our apartment for less than a dollar a bag – pineapple, watermelon, sour mango, papaya. And supplement with dragon fruit and passionfruit from our organic bi-weekly produce drop-off.
We actually enjoy our grocery shopping “date”, usually do it once every other week. In between, Jeff will pick up the milk we like from another store. (It used to be available here, but not any more. We like Um brand milk, from a dairy up north. Most milk here is reconstituted from powder, so we opt for the real thing, even though it’s harder to find.) And almost every other day or so we grab fresh fruit from the stand out front of our home. If we need anything else, we send the kids down to the store that is right on the apartment property or the Seven Eleven that is right out front – we’ve been known to grab butter, foil, toilet paper, bread, milk (powdered only), junk food snacks, etc. at the last minute, and actually enjoy the convenience.
Mom, don’t have a heart attack – that’s me on my very own scooter. You can see in the photo just how many other people ride scooters to the mall as well, and that photo only shows two of the 6 or 7 lines of motos that are parked there. So, in that backpack is half the food we bought, and Jeff has the other half in his backpack. Mine had the eggs! They have always made it home in one piece!