January 26, 2017

Grocery shopping in another country


I wanted to talk to you about doing groceries in another country. Which I think is a most peculiar thing. 

Photo credit: whc7924 
If you are from a Northern European country like Germany or The Netherlands, like me, you know that in the supermarket we have an endless amount of choices in different products. In this post I will be speaking about The Netherlands, as I am Dutch.
My parents actually live quite close to the German border, so sometimes we even do our groceries in Germany, as they still have a butcher within some supermarkets and other products are just cheaper..

Every time I go abroad, I forget that we have such big supermarkets and so many choices.I think in my country we have a lot of influences of the U.S. in that area.
A thing I always have to get used to are the supermarkets abroad. You have no idea which ones are cheap or expensive, unless they are from a huge brand like "Carrefour" for example. And they have different products, so you always spend searching for half an hour in one isle, eventually asking someone and than having her/him pointing it right out in front of you. - Isn't that one of the most embarrassing situations -

What I absolutely love about it though, is that in a supermarket you can really see what they eat in a country. For example, when I was in Madrid, you could only find bread that was really sweet because apparently, Spanish people love sweets and pastries, etc.
In Malta you can find vans on the street selling fruit and vegetables literally in every town.

I think what is really different from most Northern European countries and Southern European countries is that in the south, you can often find fresh fruit and vegetables of good quality against a very low price. And they still have the "specialists" by which I mean, a butcher and a vegetable/fruit shop, a bakery, etc. I think this is disappearing  at a fast speed in The Netherlands.
Another advantage of this is, when you're a student and you need to cook for one, you don't need to buy in bulk. If you go to a butcher you can tell him how much you want of something, which will eventually be cheaper and you don't have to be afraid it goes bad in the fridge, because you can't finish it on time. Same goes for the fruit and vegetables of course.

A few tips I can give you if you're travelling or temporarily in another country:

1. Find the nearest markets, as you can buy fresh, good quality products for a good price.

2. Find a butcher instead of buying in the supermarket, this way you prevent buying poor quality frozen meat or end up buying way too much.

3. Check out the different supermarkets before you even buy anything, compare the prices so you know which one is cheaper than the other.

4. Ask the locals, because of course, they always know where to get the good stuff!







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