Monday 8 April 2013

A to Z 2013: Grocery Stores

For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically with the theme of Winnipeg versus Davao City. Not to prove a winner but simply to explore the differences and similarities between my home town and my current location.

G is for Grocery Stores!

One of the two SM Supermarkets in town.

Unfortunately I don't think I ever took photos of the grocery stores in Winnipeg. If you are from or have been to North America, you may well be familiar with your average chain grocery store. A huge warehouse set in a vast expanse of concrete. North America is all about big open spaces and over consumption!

Snacks at Gaisano!

Winnipeg is the same. We have multiple examples of the big three Canadian chains: Sobeys, Safeway and Superstore (aka Loblaws out East and the parent company). Of course you can find some amazing smaller specialty shops but that's not what I'm writing about today.

In Winnipeg, I could driver over to my choice of any of those three stores, pick up a weeks worth of groceries, all on my lunch hour. After having eaten lunch. No big deal. In Davao, shopping takes way longer and you kinda have to go more often.

You can often find cut up fruit for only a few pesos more per kilo. No stones, no skin, no work... sold!

Here, not any one store will have all that you are looking for. The one with the great produce is sketchy on the meat, the one with the good baking supplies doesn't have the right milk, the one with a decent cereal selection doesn't have nice bread... and so on. Which means heading out to pick up groceries a few times a week.

We are rather picky about where we get out meat...

And those few times can be an adventure! Sometime new products will suddenly show up and then just as quickly disappear. If you see something you'd like to try, you best not wait until next time. My husband stocked up on giant jars of very reasonably priced German apple sauce to make him famous apple butter BBQ sauce once they appeared. We haven't seen them since.

It seems like really weird stuff gets randomly imported. I once found honey from Winnipeg! Some local products are really cool. Obviously we love the fresh fruit. And I've fallen in love with coconut jam. The UHT milk takes a little bit of getting used to but it's ok.

I love Kablon Farms jams and jellies.

Sometimes the cashiers will read the labels on products as they are scanning them. I don't think you're ever allowed to bag your own groceries so if the bag boy is away you have to wait. And if you want to pay by card... bring a book! Some places will get you through quickly but some have to write down you debit card number by hand on a ledger and you have to sign stuff.

There are always lots of employees around so things look really nice. But even in some of the nicer stores one can still see the occasional cockroach scurry around. My dad always told me to wash the tops of cans before I opened them and now I actually do!

Why yes, those fishmongers ARE wearing bow ties!


  1. Damyanti from AtoZ said you needed some attention, so I popped on by ~

  2. Wow, that fruit looks amazing! My favorite place to buy groceries here in California, USA, is a small health food grocery store, and Vons. They each have organic produce, and sometimes they both have very unique things to try in the ethnic food section. I always love trying new things. :)

    From A to Z, Kristen's blog:

    1. We used to love little boutique shops in Winnipeg, too. There are a few here too, but I wanted to talk about the bigger shops this time. We love finding new items!