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What Are Your Favorite Supermarkets(s) (Anywhere in the World)?

No need to limit the responses to a specific region. What have been your favorite supermarkets in your travels, or where do you (should the need be) commute out of the way to when at home?

Every time I think about this question, 6 places come to mind:

-Akafudado/Peacock/somewhere in Tokyo or Chiba that I don't necessarily know the name of
-Geant in Manama (which is more of a Carrefour/Walmart but they had a rad dessert section)
-Another place I don't know the name of in Yenibosna, Istanbul (it was tucked away in a shopping center)
-Emporium in Bangkok
More nameless places in Brussels (for their dessert and prepared foods selections)
-Wegmans

I like a lot of Trader Joe's products too, but it's never a pleasant shopping experience. Could be the narrow aisles or the fact that I'm in New York that keeps 'em off the list, for now.

What's on your list?

-
Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com
http://collaterallettuce.com

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  1. At home (UK) it's Waitrose. Great service and really good products. Not cheap but worth the money.
    Abroad it would be the AM:PM stores in Japan. Now defunct I think but loved the take on a 7/11. Especially liked their egg salad sandwiches , always seemed to have semi soft egg yolks.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      I hear that. Most Japanese convenience stores are the complete opposite of convenience stores in much of the rest of the world. That is, the Japanese ones are approachable.

      1. re: BuildingMyBento

        I'm from London so even being acknowledged counts as friendly (this is central London, different in your local corner shop who will let you pay later if you are a little short)
        I've always found stores in the US friendlier than the UK but maybe there's a different service ethic. I'm used to the get in and get out with the minimum of fuss dynamic but saying good morning/afternoon/evening and a goodbye afterwards always lifts the transaction. As for Japan, i spent a month there and being obviously foreign and with the language barrier it's hard to judge how more approachable the stores are.

        1. re: Paprikaboy

          I wasn't talking about the people, I was referring to the stores themselves!

    2. Carrefour at Calais. Always on our list of places to visit.

      1. Coop in Switzerland, loved all the grab and go prepared foods, lots of selection, fresh and yummy!

        1. Mustafa's in Singapore. a 24 hour multi-level store selling every possible thing you can imagine. You can buy a sari, a set of wrenches, a gold necklace, souvenirs, and groceries all in one transaction. It's always a must when I'm in Singapore.

          I also like Tesco in Kuala Lumpur. It's clean, well organized, and has a huge selection of both local and imported items.

          1 Reply
          1. re: boogiebaby

            Forgot about Mustafa Centre. That is a trip in itself, and another benefit is that the money changers below change quite a bit more than the usual dollar, euro or yuan.

          2. I have to say that Central Market, right here in Austin, is a pretty fine store.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tim irvine

              +1 for Central Market, but the Southlake location. I always bring visitors there and they're completely wowed.

            2. I remember fondly the Red Owl store in my rural Minnesota hometown.

              1 Reply
              1. re: John E.

                If we're going to walk down memory lane, then I have to mention the plain Jane A&P in the town where I grew up (Southern Indiana), that I will always remember for the aroma of fresh ground coffee. That was back in the early '50's, when A&P still offered coffee in beans with grinders right there in the store, something that disappeared shortly thereafter, only to reappear in the last decade or so. What goes around comes around!

                These days I am a Wegmans man.

              2. Mi pueblo in salinas, CA- every and any mexican grocery you could need and a great taco counter in the back, often with tamales

                Whole foods in monterey, CA- specifically the produce, almost all local from the fields in the last day or so

                Esselunga in milan- an entire aisle both sides of gorgeous (cheap!) oils and vinegars and an endless variety of snacky crackers

                1. Byerlys in Minneapolis. They were a huge gourmet grocery store before such a thing was common. I grew up near one in the Mpls burbs. I remember gawking through the glass cases of caviar and the big tanks of lobster in the 1970s. The one in Edina, MN had wall to wall carpeting and huge glass chandeliers.

                  They still carry whatever is new and usually something unique you haven't had before. Norwegian salmon flown in that day, aged beef, are typical offerings in the meat dept. I also have a particular addiction to their blue cheese dressing. Not sure if it is childhood nostalgia or that it has a unique flavor, very umami but not anchovy fishy.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      Lunds is the slightly lesser sister of Byerlys. Byerlys bought them out a while back IIRC.

                    1. Great topic! Looks like someone will poach this idea for a future food book. You seem to be pretty qualified from you list.