Whether you’re a full-time expat or simply a backpacker on an extended overseas experience, it’s easy to miss the wide variety of foodstuffs available from the supermarket at home.
While we certainly don’t have the same selection as what you’d find in Mexico City or Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Escondido’s got a great selection of international products available considering the city’s size.
Here are a few tips on what you can find and where.
Super Che’s got an impressive spread of imported goods for small town Mexico.
This is the local branch of the national grocery chain at the bottom of Avenida Oaxaca. Surprisingly, considering Huatulco’s size and relatively more affluent customer base, Puerto’s Che has a wider variety of foreign products than Huatulco’s!
Most of the imported foods are found in the aisle running alongside the wine to the left as you enter the store. You can find almost any type of oil or vinegar (except malt!) and there’s a wide selection of condiments and salad dressings from around the world.
You’ll find a pretty good collection of Italian foods, and of course Italian pasta is way better than the Mexican stuff. There’s also a decent selection of supplies for cooking up Thai and Chinese dishes. Unfortunately most of their Japanese stuff is Kaparo brand, which is totally inferior.
There is also a collection of rices, couscous and polenta which are sometimes out of stock. The key with Super Che is to stock up when you see what you want as it may not be there next time. They also have a collection of organic products and international cheeses.
MiniSuper 69: a tiny shop with a whole lot to offer.
One great thing about 69 is that they divide up industrial sized bags of goods into smaller, well-sealed bags and sell them at reasonable prices. So instead of buying a whole Costco sized box of wasabi, for example, you can get a little plastic cup for less than a dollar. This is especially nice when you only need a little bit of something for a recipe.
They’ve got a great selection of Asian products for the novice to a pro chef. You’ll find everything from Udon noodles to wanton papers, as well as several different types of Thai curry paste and Vietnamese cooking supplies.
They also have the best spice collection and a great chilled food section, too. This is the one place in town I consistently find quinoa, tofu and any other type of grain and seed, including cous cous, wild rice, and other specialty rices.
Other things you’ll find are cigars, a nice wine selection, imported meats and cheeses, Ghiradelli’s brownie mix, American soft drinks not found elsewhere (like Mt. Dew), foreign candy bars, and a lot more. Plus, they’ve got 2 big screen TVs out front on the patio and are always playing international sports.
MiniSuper Rubi: If they don’t have it, Rubi will get it.
Conveniently located at the crossroad of Hwy 200 and the road down to La Punta, MiniSuper Rubi is one of my new favorite shopping places. They offer some great snack options that, while pricy, are a healthy treat and hard to find elsewhere. I’m talking about big bags of baked pita bread and lentil chips.
They also have a very decent selection of Costco products like nuts, granola, spices, cheeses and grains. The owner, Rubi, does a Costco run every month or so and you can order supplies through her with a small surcharge. MiniSuper Rubi is one of the few places in town to stock 2L bottles of Sprite Zero and Fresca Zero.
And now, for a couple honorable mentions…tips to help Puerto newbs get the best into their shopping trolleys.
– Best coffee in town: N Duva, head up Avenida Oaxaca and turn left on 4th, it will be a couple of blocks and then on your left. Try the mezclado, which is a combination of dark, medium, and light roasted beans. All the coffee they sell is grown organically in the hills of the Sierra Madre. They’ve often got awesome Italian pastries, and you can order ground coffee to go or Roberto will brew you up a latté on the spot.
– Top quality Angus steaks: La Porteña, there are two locations, one in the market and one across the street. Their imported cowboy steaks and t-bones aren’t cheap, but they sure are good when you’re planning a Christmas BBQ!