When I first came to a large Thai supermarket, it seemed to me that the prices were not at all low: chocolates, cheese, rolled oats - all this cost more than in Russia. And this despite the fact that there was still no crisis and there was a good dollar exchange rate. I kept thinking what kind of food I would eat in Thailand. Quite quickly, I came to the conclusion that in Thailand (however, as elsewhere) it would be much cheaper (and also tastier and healthier) to eat local food - rice-based dishes and tropical fruits. And what I saw then was imported products brought from afar, therefore, by definition, they are more expensive..
Having got used to it a little and having studied the assortment of supermarkets, I realized what I like here and what not. I fell in love with Thai rice so much that I now order it in Moscow, I fell in love with mango and papaya. In any case, it's great that there are almost all products, and you can always find a suitable basket option for yourself..
The content of the article
- one Products in supermarkets in Thailand
- 2 What I was missing
Products in supermarkets in Thailand
Supermarkets in Thailand are represented by several chains, whose stores can be found throughout the country: 7/11, Tesco Lotus, Big C, Tops Market, Makro. 7/11 is a chain of convenience stores within walking distance of almost any property in Thailand. Wholesalers, cafe owners or owners of a very large family are often purchased from Makro. We can say that this is the Thai analogue of Metro. Tesco Lotus and Big C are the most common supermarkets in Thailand, such an analogue of Auchan. Each resort has at least one or two large hypermarkets of these chains and many small.
7/11 (or in other words 7-eleven) is a chain of 24-hour minimarkets across the country. They are found in every city, on almost every corner and are very popular with both Thais and foreigners. Only there is nothing special there - water, soda, chips, canned food, yoghurts, coffee, cookies, muffins, ice cream, ready-made frozen meals in plastic containers that just need to be heated in the microwave, sausages. In other words - fast food.
At 7/11 we usually take something for breakfast - cupcakes for tea, condensed milk, yoghurts. As well as chilled or frozen rice with shrimps, it is sold in trays and you can either reheat it in the microwave right in the store, or already at home. It saves a lot when moving around Thailand (7/11 is available at every gas station), and is also suitable for a certain supply of food in the refrigerator in case you are too lazy to leave the house or there is no time. More about 7-eleven.
Tesco, Big C, Tops Market and Makro
Tesco, Big C, Tops Market, Villa Market and Makro are full-fledged large stores with a choice sufficient for a Russian person. If you want something familiar, this is also there, just more expensive. The only thing that still needs to be looked for is ordinary cottage cheese, not sweet yoghurts, as well as some cereals such as buckwheat. It is worth mentioning Villa Market, this is a shop for foreigners, it has the largest selection of imported products with corresponding prices..
First of all, you need to get used to the fact that in Thailand there are no supermarkets within walking distance, which we are used to in Russia, instead of them 7/11. Therefore, in order to buy normal food, you need to travel by transport, as you do at home, having gone to Auchan. You also need to know that there are three types of chain supermarkets: small, medium and hypermarkets. You can, of course, go to small ones, but the assortment will be similar to 7/11. Mediums usually have a completely normal set of products, but there will be nothing but them. Hyper has everything, including appliances, furniture, clothes, and so on. It is in hypermarkets that you should go, there is the largest selection. By the way, you can order from Tesco or Big C to your home, which is very convenient, I wrote about this (delivery from Tesco). It is a pity that not all cities are available.
Over the years, foreign products are no longer such a rarity in Thailand. In large Makro and Tesco you can find not only beets, ayran, an analogue of our cottage cheese and natural yogurt, but also pickled cucumbers, buckwheat and even mint gingerbread! In Pattaya and Phuket, where the majority of foreigners, including Russians, supermarkets make special racks «imported products». It is there that you need to look for buckwheat and real Italian spaghetti, dear to your heart. In addition, for expats and Russian cafes, enterprising compatriots have long established the production of cottage cheese, kefir, dumplings and black bread. Sometimes small stalls with these products can be found next to large supermarkets in tourist areas. I wrote about this in more detail in the post - How to find familiar food in Thailand.
Of the usual products in a large Thai supermarket Tesco or Big C, there are stalls with fresh meat (mainly chicken, pork and beef, but the rest can be found, including duck and lamb) and seafood, which are laid out on ice. Quite a large selection of fresh pastries, paradise for those with a sweet tooth.
Apples and oranges are considered overseas fruits here and are more expensive than ours and than local Thai fruits. The fresh fruit and vegetable sections usually contain a large tray of greens that are sprinkled with water all the time. Greenery in Thailand is eaten a lot. Along with the parsley and basil we are used to, many different herbs are sold here in bunches, unknown to the Russian people. From familiar vegetables, you can buy carrots, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes.
The fruit section in supermarkets is one of the most pleasing to the eye. Almost all year round you can find coconuts, watermelons, papayas, mangoes and other Thai seasonal and imported fruits..
Meat, fish, seafood, as well as vegetables and fruits can also be bought at thai markets, the prices are usually always cheaper and the products are fresher, as they are brought directly from the farms in the morning. Although in Macro, in this regard, everything is about the same.
There is often a tray next to the fruit section with fresh juices in ice, peeled and cut fruit in a package. Chopped fruit is a joy for the lazy, you don't need to peel or cut it. We were also lazy and often bought, and a little later it became a tradition to sit on a bench near the supermarket and sharpen tropical fruits.
Dairy products in Thailand are not very popular, so there is a large dairy department, either in large supermarkets or in those where foreigners often visit. In small ones from dairy, usually chemical drinking yoghurts with a large amount of sugar and betagen - a Thai fermented milk product. Also very sweet and taste for an amateur. Sausages, cheeses and other «exotic» (from olives and pickled gherkins, to raspberries and currants) are sold in large supermarkets, but in small «local», somewhere on the outskirts, of course, this will not happen.
The usual muesli, oatmeal, baby food, vegetable oils, crackers, as well as soda like Coca-Cola and chips can be easily found here. Although traditional for Russia, gingerbread and dryers cannot be bought in most supermarkets. I wrote separately about that, how to feed a child in Thailand.
They also sell ready-made dishes such as fried rice with chicken, noodles, meatballs, sausages, salads. All this often happens in inflated bags tied with an elastic band. This packaging method is one of the characteristic features of Thai food service..
Discount promotions are often held in supermarkets, usually there is a stand with discounted goods, where someone is always rummaging around. There are also discounts for certain types of products. Moreover, employees walk around the supermarket all the time and re-stick price tags. In the evenings, the discount can be up to 50 percent or more. It is not customary to store ready-made food for more than one day in Thailand, therefore, by the end of the day, packages with ready-made dishes are sold for a penny.
It is convenient to come to large supermarkets and stock up on food for a long time, just like in other countries. Purely Thai features - a large selection of different varieties of noodles and rice, they are sold in huge bags and are quite inexpensive.
Some specific prices for products
Surely everyone will have different purchases, but just in case, I will list what kind of food costs how much in Thailand. and what I bought in Thai supermarkets. Separately, I did excursion on prices in Tesco, went to the supermarket and took pictures of staple products with price tags.
- Vegetables: onions, carrots, tomatoes, two types of papaya, mango, watermelon. Usually in those cases when the market was far away or it did not work. Prices are comparable.
- Chopped fruits: papaya, pineapple, melon, guava (average 30-50 baht per tray). There was a promotion in Chiang Mai at Tops Market «buy two trays for the price of one», it turned out cheaper than on the market.
- Baking: freshly baked banana muffins at 40 baht for a few pieces, croissants - 5-15 baht a piece, donuts - 10-15 baht a piece, white toaster bread - 40 baht per package.
- Drinks: juices (80-100 baht), bottled tea thai tea (40 baht).
- For cooking: rice and rice noodles, spices, mayonnaise (100 baht), sukiyaki sauce (40 baht), tofu (30 baht), eggs (50 baht). By the way, I got hooked on sukiyaki sauce, well, just a mega thing.
More prices for example:
- Oatmeal in the region of 50 baht per pound, depending on the size of the package
- Potatoes around 30 baht / kg
- Mangoes from 20 baht / kg (for local greens) to 100 and more baht for large yellow
- Young coconuts from 18 to 35 baht apiece
- Milk from 40 baht per liter, drinking yoghurts - 25-40 baht per bottle, depending on the size. One yogurt in a glass - around 20 baht
- Freshly squeezed juice in a small bottle 45 baht
- Dragon fruit 45 baht / kg
- Pork from 100 baht / kg, chicken about 50-60 baht / kg
- Beer from 30-50 baht per bottle (depending on size, 0.33 or 0.5)
- Local cigarettes 30-50 baht per pack, foreign (like Marlboro) - about 90 baht
What I was missing
At first, I missed the usual Russian cheese, black bread and chocolates. But after my mother came to visit, brought a present and I ate everything safely, the desire to eat these products disappeared for another six months. Moreover, I later found delicious bread in the bakery, occasionally I took Lindt chocolates (they are even better than ours), well, I somehow cooled down to the yellow cheese and switched to Camembert / Brie from Macro.
So, living in Thailand only in winter, I don't feel short of anything at all. Perhaps, if I had lived there for years, it would have been different. And it's even great to change the kitchen 2 times a year, so as not to get bored. Probably, you only want red caviar sometimes, but you can also buy it in Tae (they sell it in social networks). In general, on all my next visits to Tai, I already acted according to a ready-made scheme, switched to Thai food and already knew, where to find familiar food in Thailand.
How will it be with you, I find it difficult to say. It seems to me that only something very specific can be missing. Or it may be inconvenient and unusual to go to a special place for bread, instead of buying it around the corner, as in Russia. Now there are quite a few small bakeries with delicious baguettes, ciabats and other buns in Phuket and Pattaya, but if this is not near your home, you will have to go looking.
There is also another conclusion: in order to eat like at home in Russia, it is better to rent a house with a kitchen and a stove and cook on your own. If you like Thai food, then you can generally only eat in Thai cafes, no need to cook and wash dishes.