23 April 2014

Kinshasa FAQs: Grocery Shopping

There is an art to grocery shopping in Kinshasa. It is learned through trial and tribulation and accidentally paying $20 for a melon. Most grocery runs are actually marathons because it is nearly impossible to go to one store and get everything you need - on a budget. Our families dispatch the most willing shoppers, the men of the house. Mostly because Jill and I can go longer than them without eating. On a good day, a trip takes 3-4 hours and only leaves us several hundred dollars poorer.




Groceries in Kinshasa are expensive. There's no way around it. We've learned to deny ourselves many items, and celebrate in the adrenaline rush of a $5 box of expired cereal. But be careful with produce and check your receipts. Everyone has fallen victim to this scenario at one point or another:

Mandarins: $23

Mandarins: $3 (neighboring store)


Here's a rundown of our favorite stores. Of course there are many, many others. A comprehensive shopping trip will take me (read: Adam) to at least 4 of the following places:


City Market: Avenue de L'Equateur



Pros: City Market is a possible one-stop grocery store. Most everything you need can be found here. Pets, groceries, sporting equipment, school supplies, and hookahs galore! Tip: Head for the promotion section first. Our favorite finds there have been Craisins, pickled peppers and Fruit Roll-ups. So good.

Cons: Most items are imported and thus prohibitively expensive. Sometimes crazy expensive. Therefore, City Market is more of a one-stop shop for the single guy UN worker. Not so much for the teacher's family.



A word about pricing in grocery stores. Most of the time they're found on charts scattered throughout the store. Each item has a number and letter code. Then you have the task of matching the code with the price on the nearest chart. Like this...


Example: This Turbo-Jet Steam Iron is E08. According to the chart, E08 costs 19,521 FC. Simple as that. There are many theories as to why this ridiculous system exists. Feel free to weigh in below.


Back to the rundown.

GG Mart: Avenue Tombalbaye

Pros: This Indian-owned grocery store is relatively new on the scene, but if I had to pick a one-stop place, GG's my choice. Their prices are good on just about everything and they have a large selection. Tip: If you have a TASOK ID, you get a discount!

Cons: There are several enticing promotion tables, but steer clear. We've ended up with too many bug-filled boxes of cereal and pasta. And moldy veggie burgers.

Fooled again by that promotion table!



Hasson et Frère: Avenue des Aviateurs, across from the U.S. Embassy



Pros: Another one-stop option. Hasson et Frère's website (!) claims they're the largest department store in Central Africa. I might add quotes around "largest" and "department store." But they do have lots of things at Kinshasa-reasonable prices. Including cheap liquor and mini shopping carts for the kids. What more can you ask for? Plus the only grocery store bathroom (it's upstairs...for 200FC).

Cons: You have to pay for produce, meat and cheese at a separate cash register at the back of the store. They won't tell you this until you're at the front checking out the rest of your items. Closed on Saturdays. Constantly rearranging. What's the deal, Hasson?


Kin Marche: Avenue Mpolo Maurice, across from Kin Mart



Pros: I quite like Kin Marche. It's dumpy, the AC is rarely working, and it's located across from the higher priced Kin Mart, so I feel like they've gotta have good deals. We get juice, canned foods and flat bread here. As long as we've lived in Kin, an extremely attractive security guard with a million dollar smile has worked outside. Hypnotized by this smile, Adam buys him a Snickers every time we're there. Over six years, that's a lot of Snickers. Totally worth that smile.

Cons: Not really your best option for one-stop shopping. Parking can be impossible. But this is when the Snickers relationship comes in handy.


Extra Plus: Avenue de L'Equateur, on the opposite side of 30 Juin from City Market




Pros: Extra Plus is a good size, never crowded grocery store. It's Portuguese-owned, so there's quite a selection of nice European sundries. Oh and their rolls are incredible. This is our stop for meat, cheese, bread, and milk. We spend a good fraction of our salary on our girls' milk drinking habits, so we get our milk here. By the flat. They also have a nice local and imported produce section. Tip: They'll give you a discount (remise) on your total of $50 or more. But you might have to remind them. Oh! And my favorite feature of Extra Plus - they blast Celine Dion.

Cons: Expensive cleaning supplies, paper products, canned foods and pretty much everything else I didn't mention above. Sometimes they give you your change in candy. Good for the kids, weird for the adults. Also, they blast Celine Dion.


SIECO (aka the Portuguese Store):  Avenue Lokonga

Pros: Small, but Kinshasa-great prices on most everything. When we first moved to Kin, SIECO was the only store with prices posted in USD and they didn't use the chart system. Alas, I think they got in trouble with the government for making the shopping experience too easy, so they had to switch to scavenger hunt style pricing.

Cons: Located at the end of 30 Juin in a hard-to-find corner of the city. (Take the right at the end of the boulevard and then the first left. Go until the road ends. Voila, SIECO.) Closed on Sundays.


Iyafu (aka the Indian Store): Avenue de Marche, around the corner from the original N'ice Cream

Pros: Bulk dry goods. Raisins, dry coconut, spices and tons of dry legumes. Also, Gripe Water! Rumor has it a Dr. Pepper or two have been spotted there.

Cons: Small selection of other items.  


Shoprite: Avenue de l'OUA

Our initial excitement for Shoprite has waned.

Pros: When Shoprite first opened, we got a little excited (see photo from our original post about its opening above). It was the first chain grocery store and it was kind of a life-changer. But like many grocery stores in Kinshasa, it opened with excellent prices, then joined everyone else in the trend of high prices for some items, low prices for others.

Cons: Watch out for their "promotions." Take note of the price for these items as they ring up at the cash register; sometimes you don't get the posted promotion price. I'm told by my African auditor friends this is a common scheme in stores like this.


Tip: Put your promo items through the checkout first. Then you can catch any "errors" before they've totaled your bill.


All in all, grocery shopping in Kinshasa is getting cheaper and easier. I think. Or I might have lost perspective. Kinshasa shoppers, what do you think? And are there stores I've left out that you like? How about Regal, Peloustore, Kin Mart, Netty's, etc...

And if you're moving to Kinshasa and you like to hyper-analyze photos (like me), you might want to see what you can get at grocery stores. Here are a few images from various places.

Baby gear.



A variety of appliances. 

Cheese counter.


Goma Cheese. (About $11 a wheel these days.)


Meat.

Cereal, for that special occasion.


Baking equipment.



Laundry detergent.

 
Charts. And more charts.

Lastly, let us pause to reflect on $25 strawberries. They're going like hot cakes.



Previous Kinshasa FAQs: The Airport.



80 comments:

  1. I love posts like these. Such an amazing window into a place. I don't think I could deal with all those charts, or $25 strawberries!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Reminds of shopping in Malawi, except with a larger selection of stores. Every shopping trip took hours, you went to basically every store in town and still came home without half the items on your list and it was terribly expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I only go to these stores when I'm so desperately craving for a "home-product" (it's mostly from Colruyt) that I'm ready to spend the money. For everyday shopping you just go to the street market (like e.g. at UPN) and eat chikwangue, mango, banana, kamundele, pain victoire or what have you and rarely surpass 500 frc. But no strawberries, that's like caviar in Kinshasa. Another example is the so popular "nice cream" ice cream salon. It's so crowded you have to fight to have a seat, while in the same street you have a CFC (chicken restaurant from City market) with lots of space, more flavors and less than half the price.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Update: A reader mentioned S&K as a good grocery option. We've never been there, but definitely worth a visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One opened in IPN and it's always full. I went there once and prices seemed better price than most supermarket. I heard Pelou in Delvaux has lost a lot customers.

      Delete
    2. One opened in IPN and it's always full. I went there once and prices seemed better price than most supermarket. I heard Pelou in Delvaux has lost a lot customers.

      Delete
  5. I loved going to Kin Mart - I liked the clean looking meat selection. City Market always smells so bad to me and I get a little sick looking at their meat counters. You could always find chicken breast at Kin Mart - skinless/boneless. And I loved buying the labneh (sour cream substitute) and other lebanese yogurts in the big tubs. Parking is tough for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is insanity!! Thanks for sharing even the seemingly mundane things. :) It's interesting for those of us who have never lived in Africa (not that I mean to lump all of Africa together, but you know what I mean...)!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Searching for Best online shops? Check this out!!!
    Online shopping

    ReplyDelete
  8. Online stores just like your local grocery store offers different discounts on special occasions. Customers get great opportunities to shop for an extensive range of products without wasting their time and energy, and at the same time save good bucks.

    Dallas tx grocery delivery

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm congolese but have not been living in Congo Kinshasa since 1996 and loads have changed since i almost feel like a foreigner when i visit. I am loving this. Great tips.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm congolese but have not been living in Congo Kinshasa since 1996 and loads have changed since i almost feel like a foreigner when i visit. I am loving this. Great tips.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Now a days getting affordable grocery product like atta, Flour and Rice than you are at right place. Here you have options to get this kind of discount price product.
    Buy Atta Online

    ReplyDelete
  12. Find fresh grocery items vegetables, grains, daal, pickles etc from India’s best online grocery store Groceryonwheels.com in easy way. You are just one click away from your quality groceries.

    Indian Grocery Bay Area

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your post really cool and interesting. Thanks very much. Indian Grocery delivery

    ReplyDelete
  14. However there are a large number of people who like to cook their own platter or want to add their own twist of taste with the Asian cuisines, but the biggest problem they face while experimenting with these cuisines is the availability of authentic ingredients. But not to worry anymore, as the Asian food stores are here. tescoviews.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hiii guys!! Do ul hav any idea where il get baking supplies like fondant, whippin cream, corn syrup and a bunch if other items used for cakes! It would be of great help if ul cud help! I hav chekd in shopryt but u dnt get anythin for baking really! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hiii guys!! Do ul hav any idea where il get baking supplies like fondant, whippin cream, corn syrup and a bunch if other items used for cakes! It would be of great help if ul cud help! I hav chekd in shopryt but u dnt get anythin for baking really! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love to see this interesting blog. Really nice grocery items.If anyone is looking for Grocery bay are in US may follow : Indian Grocery Bay Area

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey I don't have words to describe this post. I simply want to say that absolutely informative post. It inspires me a lot. Keep posting.
    Rated #1 Herbal Incense Super Store - LegalZensense.com

    ReplyDelete

  19. Online grocery Shopping in gurgaon with supplies,personal care,rice,household supplies along with discounts on Online Grocery item,Grocery tore online,Groceries,Grocery Items,Grocery Supermarket,Grocery shopping,Online grocery shopping in Gurgaon with cash on delivery facility Free Home Delivery, www.superration.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a fantastic blog I have ever seen. I didn’t find this kind of information till now. Thank you so much for sharing this information.
    buy herbal incense online

    ReplyDelete
  21. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though. Great Thanks.

    legal spice

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nice post, impressive. It’s quite different from other posts. Thanks for sharing. Wholesale Bizarro juice

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am interested to find out what kind of products from maize are sold through supermarket and in what size and type of packaging. For instance, in South Africa they sell mielie meal that is consumed as porridge. Is it the same in Kinshasa?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Nice blog..! I really loved reading through this article... Thanks for sharing such an amazing post with us and keep blogging...
    online grocery store in Nairobi

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.
    grocery store in Nairobi

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.
    online supermarket in pangani

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very nice post.I'm in kinshasha since one and half year.the writer has covered almost everything very nicely. There is one more store like G.G.Mart ie. New Lys near G.G. Mart. Almost similar to G.G. Mart..

    ReplyDelete
  28. Awesome,
    Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome blog...
    online supermarket in south-b

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi,
    Thanking for informative article and keep update and keep educate us
    buy bakery products online south-c
    buy detergents online pangani

    ReplyDelete
  30. nice collection of groceriesMarkets I really like your blog, because the staples stores and Indian Products on your market of UkGrovery Thanks for sharing I truly suggest this blogger and helpful for all

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for your Blog... Useful information.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Awesome,
    Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome blog...
    online supermarket in nairobi

    ReplyDelete
  33. Awesome,
    Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome blog...
    online grocery store in nairobi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Afrobas, We offer a complete white label grocery delivery management system for supermarkets, grocery chain and startup to build and grow their grocery business. Try it now with free sign up!.

      Delete
  34. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.
    online supermarket in Nairobi
    online supermarket in pangani

    ReplyDelete
  35. I just love this blog, thanks for sharing such a nice infomation about Grocery .

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.
    online drink store Nairobi
    buy soft drinks online south-b

    ReplyDelete
  37. Useful Information, your blog is sharing unique information....
    Thanks for sharing!!!
    grocery store in Nairobi
    online supermarket in Nairobi
    online supermarket in pangani

    ReplyDelete
  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Online shopping is fun, easy and almost addictive (in a good way!). The world of Internet is a parallel universe for the real life. It offers so many opportunities and you remain anonymous.

    Online Shopping Site

    ReplyDelete
  41. Your post is really outstanding. the para-4 is good. This blog too much informational for me. The Day2day store
    mhow is a great online grocery store in mhow which is provide fresh vegetable, fruit and branded products.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it..Share Market Company .

    ReplyDelete
  43. I just love your blog, Thanks for sharing such a nice information about Grocery Stores .

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks in favor of sharing such a fastidious idea, piece of writing is nice, thats why i have read it…
    Grossistes des olives au Canada

    ReplyDelete
  45. Buy Gold from 200 grams to 50 kgs in one shipment these days on the satisfactory charges for the best pleasant gold mined from the democratic republic of Congo.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Buy Gold from 200 grams to 50 kgs in one shipment these days on the satisfactory charges for the best pleasant gold mined from the democratic republic of Congo.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Nice Article!!!Best Indian Grocery Store Online in Dallas,Texas for all the indian's who are missing home taste

    ReplyDelete
  48. Welcome to the Indian Online Grocery Store, We are located in Canada. We are providing Indian grocery home delivery services in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta, Surrey, Canada. Get Indian grocery online with free home delivery services.Indian Grocery Delivery Vancouver

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thanks for sharing such beautiful information with us. I hope you will share some more information about best grocery shopping app. Please keep sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Nice Post...!!
    Want to get easy and fast local grocery delivery services at reasonable prices? Hire Senpex for sure. We partner with retailers and grocery stores to provide timely delivery services to meet personal & business needs.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Nice Post!
    When we talk about the online grocery stores, then there is nothing better than Marche Du Coin. Yes, this online platform is a one-stop solution for all your grocery needs. We at Marche Du Coin fulfill your all grocery needs with the best quality of products. We are one of the leading online grocery stores in France, always strive to perform our best and meet the consumer’s expectations in the best way.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Trukky is one of the foremost trucking companies, delivering the plethora of transport services to its esteemed consumers across India. We are the “best-in-class and cost-effective transporter” as defined by our customers and serving this industry for many years.

    Delhi to Mumbai online Truck Booking in
    Delhi to Bangalore Truck Booking

    online Truck Booking in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  53. The article was up to the point and described the information very effectively. Thanks to blog author for wonderful and informative post.
    taco bell survey

    ReplyDelete
  54. Not all people are able to use beautiful words in life, there are some people who can translate the words of their mind into words, you are the only one of them, you have written this post in a beautiful way.
    Gurugram Escorts
    Bhiwadi Escorts
    Escorts in Sector 16
    Noida Call Girls

    ReplyDelete

  55. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information...


    tellthebell

    ReplyDelete
  56. Excellent and very exciting site. Love to watch. Keep Rocking.
    krogerfeedback

    ReplyDelete
  57. I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious...

    tellthebell.com

    ReplyDelete
  58. Great article Lot's of information to Read... Great Man Keep Posting and update to People..Thanks

    tellthebell.com

    ReplyDelete
  59. Aldebazar is one of the best website where all the grocery items are available at best prices. If you want any grocery item online then visit the aldebazar website.
    gujrati jeera khakhra
    kerala lemongrass oil
    chai ye thandak
    kerala clove extract
    karachi bakery osmania biscuits

    ReplyDelete
  60. Decent blog..! I truly cherished perusing this article... Much obliged for imparting a particularly stunning post to us and continue writing for a blog...
    krogerfeedback

    ReplyDelete
  61. For the most part inconceivable survey. I altogether love this blog.
    greatpeople

    ReplyDelete
  62. They are helping retailers to own visually appealing stores and sell thousands of items under wide-ranging categories. Online premium store

    ReplyDelete
  63. I found very important information on the internet. What you cover through the post is a very important article, good work, and great effort. I love it and enjoy reading it all. Continue, keep posting.
    Packers and movers in Cyber City Gurgaon
    Packers and movers in Rohini Sushant Lok
    Packers and movers in Sohna Road Gurgaon
    Packers and movers in Palam Vihar Gurgaon
    Packers And Movers App

    ReplyDelete
  64. grocery pickup app Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Of course, your article is good enough, 슬롯사이트 but I thought it would be much better to see professional photos and videos together. There are articles and photos on these topics on my homepage, so please visit and share your opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  66. One of the best wines which I have every seen before we will be getting any type of bottles here too old alcohol even I'm seeing this Bagga Wines Since 20 years.At the same place in Koti Hyderabad
    Nita Wines in Churchgate, Mumbai
    Privacy Policy
    Star Wines in Powai, Mumbai
    Disclaimer
    G Town Wines L1
    Variety Wines Merchant in Juhu, Mumbai
    Bagga Wines in Putlibowli Koti

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...