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Mar 12, 2012 01:10 AM

Best food and grocery stores in the world?

I was wondering what the Chowhound community think are the best food and grocery stores are in the world? I'm thinking of smaller one-off stores, ethnic groceries and large chains (like Whole Foods).

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    1. Kleinmarkt Halle, Frankfut am Main, Germany.

      1. The two best I've ever been to are both divisions of much larger department stores: Harrod's food halls (note that is hallS, plural) in London, and Kaufhaus des Westens (universally known as KdV, pronounced ka-dey-vey) in Berlin. Both offer a jaw-droppingly amazing selection of foods.

        Between the two I'd have to give the edge to Harrod's for sheer volume and variety, but I can happily spend hours in either, wandering the aisles and drooling.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BobB

          I second Harrods for everything wonderful, nowhere else is such an array of cheeses, breads, meats, butcher and fish halls, the list is endless and the place itself beautiful.

          Marks and Spencers food departments - sigh I miss them living in the US - their ready to eat meals are second to none, Colin the Caterpillar cakes, sliced packaged tongue, pastries, bakery, - stop stop I'm drooling. My last visit to London last month saw me straight into M and S.

          1. I think there's a conceptual roadblock and some important incomparables at play complicating any definitive account or ranking, if that's what you're seeking to do. Be great to have a rich selection of various "great places" around the world, but how do you then compare up and dpwn scale--from superb "one offs", of which there must be thousands in often very different cultures, and how do you rank/compare Berkeley Bowl with a Peck in Milan or Volpetti in Rome or even Eataly in Torino or NY? To say nothing of spectacular places in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. The idea of a "grocery store" itself would have to vary across cultures, too. too. But an interesting assignment.

            4 Replies
            1. re: bob96

              Agreed, and I think that's true of any "best of" list, regardless of the topic. You'll never create a list of the best of anything, it's too subjective. If my list ends up with a lot of fantastic stores on it, I'll be pleased, whatever order they end up in. Interestingly, I have all four you mentioned already on my list.

              I am looking for more in Asia and Australia, though, so if you have any suggestions please let me know!

              1. re: Lina

                Great--keep us posted. I keep thinking about the comparison difficulties--as important as it is to Rome, Volpetti would not have the same pride of place in, say, New York or Los Angeles. And the big public markets like those in Barcelona or major Asia cities almost trump anything that can be called a "grocery store" here. But good luck and enjoy your interesting ride.

                1. re: bob96

                  Yes, I'm not including markets as I think that's a different kettle of fish entirely, although I think I'll include some food halls. It's a tough call.