Saturday, April 20, 2013

What's in my grocery cart? - Kenya Living

Because I know how one can obsess over the smallest details while waiting in your home countries... (and because I have time to do so with Jennifer coming to clean my house tomorrow!) I thought I would show you what to expect for grocery costs.
 
The kids and I went grocery shopping at Village Market today. This grocery shop really only samples where most Expats, and Mzungus (foreigners) shop. Of course you always have the option to shop in open air markets, etc.
 
You will first get acquainted with Nakumatt. The larges grocery chain in Kenya. I highly recommended you apply for a Nakumatt card as soon as you arrive. The points can be redeemed, and yes, it will only take 5 months to get the darn thing! Luckily, they will give you a temporary card, even if it almost turns to dust before you get the real deal.
 

 

There is a great butcher shop in Village market called Prime Cuts. Great quality meat.
Chicken is kind of expensive here in Kenya (in comparison to other things). 4 breasts here for 1058Ksh = $12.50. Despite the fact that this is a staple for us back home, this is only the 3rd time I have bought it here due to the cost. This will last us for 2 meals.

 
Nakumatt groceries as follows:
 
Pick n Peel juice (100% juice) - 175Ksh x3 = 525ksh = $6
 
Berry Company juice - expensive, you can't buy berries here. A small frozen container (like small as in what you may use in 1-2 servings) is $7, so I bought this goji berry and pomegranate juice for my morning smoothies. - 395Ksh x 2 - 790 Ksh = $9.50
 
Quick Oats - 480Ksh = $5.75
 
4 AA Duracell batteries - 285Ksh = $3.50 (Yes, batteries are pretty cheap here!)
 
Italian peeled canned tomatoes - 140Ksh x 2 = $3.50 A little more expensive because they are imported, but I trust Italy's food regulations a bit more... and the Italians know their tomatoes after all!
 
Bio Tomato Concasse - 140Ksh = $1.75 Pasta sauce is expensive, so I typically make my own.
 
St Dalfour Peach Jam - 435Ksh - $5.00 expensive because  it contains no sugar or artificial sweeteners. Healthy options = $$$
 
Brookside plain yogurt - 85Ksh x 2 = $2.00 I don't know if my head was in a daze all this time I've been buying yogurt... but almost all yogurt here on the shelves include 'permitted flavours and colouring'. This freaks me out. So, I now buy the plain and the kids add fruit and honey to it.
 
Fresha whole milk - 38Ksh x 4 = $2.00 Just recently we have discovered that the 500ml bags of milk are the way to go. The other milk spoils quickly and doesn't taste as good.
 
Brown bakery bread - 85Ksh = $1.00
Cheese bread - 135Ksh = $1.50
Okay, here is the harsh reality about Kenya. They are not so good at baking. I highly recommend staying away from all cakes etc, no matter how good they look. The 'cake' is hard, dry and dense and the icing is often very salty. Blech. The bread is either crumbly or dense. So you have to pay $$ to get a decent loaf. The best bread I have tried so far, is at the Art Café... they even have sour dough, called Farmer loaf.
 

This lovely produce is from an amazing little store called Zucchini. I think much of this food is organic, but not certified. Why do I think that? Because, many times the broccoli is loaded with aphids just like the organic broccoli back home. They also have some unique little treats, like yummy Hummus and vanilla bean pods. (PS - you cannot get real vanilla extract here, that I have seen - so throw some in your luggage!) The quality is here is the best and often times cheaper than the Nakumatt. Stamp a punch card to get free fresh juices. :)
Greek yogurt - 195ksh = $2.40
Mushrooms - 249ksh = $3.00
Broccoli - 90ksh x2 = $2.00 The great thing in Kenya is that many foods are cut up for you and conveniently packaged for the same price! :)
Soup mix - 50ks - $.60
Sliced carrots - 65ksh = $.80
Ginger - 14ksh - $.17
Onions - 63ksh - $.75
Peppers - 89ksh - $1.05 (Peppers are so cheap compared to back home!!)
Mangoes Apple - 284ksh - $3.30 (this is expensive, you can get them at the market for 20 shillings.)
Black Passionfruit - 43ksh - $.50
Bananas Sweet - 209ksh - $2.50 I recommend the sweet baby bananas - and buy them on the green side, cause tomorrow they will start to turn brown!
Apples - 270ksh - $3.25 (Apples/oranges are imported and are expensive.)

$74.32 for this grocery shop. We stay away from any processed or convenience foods, as they are expensive. Cereal is about $8 for a small box. We also stay away from deli meats and many cheeses as that can significantly add to our bill.

The catch with all this stuff, is that the produce turns very quickly. You need to restock your produce at least every 3 days for most veggies like zucchinis, peppers. I know buy tomatoes green cause they ripen very quickly on my windowsill.

And another tip - you need to wash this stuff well!! I have seen the state of the creeks and rivers here where people get their irrigation from and I have also heard they may also use nightshade to fertilize (human manure) in addition to the fact that everyone is spray happy around here... they do not understand the effects of the chemicals and think it simply gets washed away in the rains. So, I am vigilant about soaking and washing. I use veggie wash that you can get at Nakumatt, or you can also use vinegar and salt. :)

3 comments:

Gypsy Mama said...

Thanks so much for sharing this!! Very informative, and you are right we are wondering what to expect!

Denise Elysia said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! My husband and i spent a month in Kenya a few years ago, and Nakumatt saved us!! We lived on the samosas. :)

Anonymous said...

IN KENYA THE BEST BRANDS OF BREAD ARE SUPALOAF AND UNITED. THERE ARE ALSO CAKE SHOPS IN CITY CENTRE R THE SUBURBS THAT R IN MY OPINION WAY BETTER THAN SUPERMAKRKET BAKING. TELL YOU WHAT, IN KENYA, THE BEST SECRET TO HAVE IT ALL AS FAR AS GROCERY YET SAVE MORE (I SOUND LIKE WALMART) IS TO SHOP THE KENYAN WAY. THAT GOES JUST FOR UNPROCESSED FOODS LIKE CARROTS, AVOCADOES, TOMATOES ETC, GARDEN FOODS BUY FROM THE OPEN AIR MARKETS, THEY R CHEAP, HEALTHY N BEST OF ALL MOST R ORGANIC.

SAM O.