2/16/13

Grocery Shopping Philippine Style



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Spam (Photo credit: mrdodgy)

The first thing an expat asks when they arrive where can I get this?


Getting your groceries in the Philippines can be a chore to say the least. It is not like shopping back home in Sugar Land Texas.  It becomes hard to just one stop shop and find all your needs in one location.  There are plenty of grocery stores in the Philippines yet the selection at many, oh my.  Well lets just say not so good.  They will have shelve after shelve dedicated to Tuna, Spam, Sardines and the then have shelve after shelve of the different types of pancit or noodles.   This is the local grocery right down the road from me.  They also two whole aisles dedicated to snack food.  One aisle dedicated to just canned meat.  I never knew spam came in so many flavors and seasonings. They only have 12 Aisles and 4 I just avoid.   Also if an item is popular they will run out of it for months and months.  So sometimes I just shake my head when I try and find what I just saw in the store a week ago.   

Now I have broke this down in the stores I shop at here in Cebu Philippines  


S&R -  This is a membership organization.  It cost 750 pesos ($18) a year to be a member.  It is a bulk seller of items or warehouse club.  Yet they have individual items for sale that are tad higher in price. Yet they have a very large selection of imported items that can be purchased.  This is a good starting point for the impossible food item you may crave.  They have a very nice selection of frozen foods and frozen items that other stores seem to lack.

Rustans and Shopwise - These are the same outfit with different names.  Now they are a regular grocery store that tend to cater a little to the western taste.  They have a nice selection of cheese and wines.  In addition they have good quality meat products.  The stores are very customer based and seem to have a good grasp on maintaining inventory.  We do most of shopping here.

Robinsons -  This is a cross section type store. It will have some western favorites however it is a majority Filipino culture.  They have very good fruits and vegetables and the meat department is adequate. Yet if you are looking for beef that will be hit or miss.

Metro Gaisano -  We do a lot of shopping at Metro Gaisano.  I have found that I can get most of my staples here.  The price is good and the stores are normally very clean.  Finding western food is difficult yet they do tend to have a varied selection.  The meats seems good and have a decent selection.  This store has a very nice produce area and always seems to have fresh vegetables.

Last on the list Gaisano -  Now there is a diffrence between Metro Gaisano and Gaisano.  Gaisano is a grocery store.  I will give them that much.  Yet the selection is very poor and what I described above was a Giasano.  It is just a horrible place to shop.  I avoid these places like the plague.


So where do I do most of my shopping.    

Tim Potter Philippines shopping at the local market.
Philippine Market Tim Potter And Zol 

Since Ayala Mall in Cebu Philippines has both a Metro Gaisano and Rustans.  We head there once a month and do all the big shopping.  We can hit the Metro Gaisano and get all the needed items.  We will work through the lines and seeing what favorites for me they may not have.  Then head down and get the other items in Rustans.  

Enjoy


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