Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Grocery Shopping in a Foreign Country

I was told that one of the most challenging things about moving to a new country is grocery shopping. And this is true.

A Few Points -
  • I cannot read nor speak Finnish.
  • Grocery stores range from the size of a 7/11 to the size of a Target. The ones I live around are about the size of 7/11s.
  • Just like in the US, there are 50 options for one item. (example: yogurt or butter)
  • A challenge is not necessarily a bad thing. When thinking about my food shopping and cooking, I thought, "challenge accepted!" I was ready for something new.
I've gone to the grocery store almost every day that we have been here. I would have gone everyday, but the holidays, during which the stores were closed got in my way. I love the European style of food shopping, which is to shop for what you need almost daily. To make sure you follow this custom, the refrigerators are all small.

There's one store right across the street from our temporary apartment (awesome! would have been better if it were a small Wegmans, but still great). I've found our basics in there, like the needed produce of garlic, lemons, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, and grapes.  The produce is actually decent, not the best I've ever seen but certainly not the worst (I'm looking at you Harris Teeter in Shirlington). Good thing about the produce is I don't have to read anything, I can pretty much figure those items out without reading. I do need weigh them myself, which I've forgotten to do a few times.

I also found whole milk, soy milk, cereal (a knock off of Cheerios multigrain), store brand yogurt (which was actually really good), pasta, olive oil, vinegar, salt, butterish, eggs, and ice cream. I'm pretty sure I bought some sort of margarine instead of butter, but I could not find the butter, which seems silly since it's a pretty basic item.

The first night here I made pasta with sauce (just jarred because we had just gotten off the plane that morning. I'm sure my father is shaking his head right now). We also had a nice salad. I was really proud of myself for going to the store and making a successful dinner, on an electric stove top too.

Well things have gotten harder since then, people are demanding something other than pasta!

I'm not a fan of buying meat and fish out of a cooler in some tiny grocery store. I'd like to make sure it's fresh. So today Sam and I went to the paradise of grocery stores, Stockmann. Yes, it's that nice. I've been to nice grocery stores in the US and this is among the best. Beautiful design and amazing, fresh food. You may be confused if you go to the website because it looks like a department store, like a Macy's, but it's the most amazing and enormous department store with a grocery store. I picked up some fish, beef, and curry marinated chicken. The staff working the meat and fish counters spoke English, so this was easier.

Now to figure out how to use the oven.

Sorry there were no pictures, but I've been spoken to before at grocery stores for taking pictures of how wonderful they are (side eye Wegman) so I avoided that situation.

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