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5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru

It is essential to pay one of the many Grocery stores in Peru a visit if you want to experience life like a local or if you are looking to travel on a budget by cooking at home. While everyone knows that eating out during travel or a vacation can add up, not many people talk about grocery shopping on the go. Whether you are visiting Peru for Machu Picchu or plan to hang around the beautiful country a lot longer, grocery stores in Peru will save you a ton of money while allowing you to enjoy local culture and cuisine.

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru

#1: They are rarely referred to as “grocery stores”

Locals rarely refer to Peruvian grocery stores as “grocery stores.” They are more likely to use the term market or “supermercado” which is Spanish for “supermarket”  or simply refer to them as markets. Many people in Peru are not bilingual so asking where the grocery store is in English may be the cause for confusion. Instead, memorize the phrase “dónde esta el supermercado” or bust out Google Translate, one of our favorite travel apps. 

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru | What To Know About Peruvian Grocery Stores

#2: Many Peruvian grocery stores are really large and fancy

Compared to the puny grocery stores in Europe, some grocery stores in Peru are really nice, especially in larger cities. We aren’t sure what we expected, but after traveling Europe, we wrongly assumed everything would be tiny with a small selection. While this is true in smaller towns, the larger cities in Peru have quite large grocery stores that rival Publix, Safeway, Kroger, and other popular grocery stores from North America. Even smaller cities such as Ica had a massive grocery store that reminded us of Walmart.

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru | What To Know About Peruvian Grocery Stores

#3: Grocery stores in Peru sell condiments and sauces in bags instead of jars

Glass jars or plastic containers of sauce or condiments are simply nonexistent or very difficult to find in Peru. From the largest grocery store to the tiniest food shop, everything is sold in bags. Need tomato sauce for pasta? Choose which size bag you need! Looking for mustard, mayo, or ketchup? All sold in little packets! This was interesting because as far as sauce goes, you were unable to see what the product looked like that you were getting since the baggies were opaque. Selections of any type of condiment listed above were very limited because as you can imagine, they are not typical staples of Peruvian or Latin American cooking! This is especially helpful if you are backpacking South America because you can toss the baggies in your luggage and move on! 

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru | What To Know About Peruvian Grocery Stores

#4: You are allowed to choose as many eggs as you want to purchase

Eggs are used in a lot of Peruvian dishes! As a result, grocery stores in Peru simply have huge sections of eggs and bags so you can choose as many or as few eggs as you want to purchase. This was fantastic because the worst thing possible is wanting to make a healthy meal or two while traveling, but then having to buy a dozen eggs and waste the rest when it is time to move on. Instead, simply pick up as many eggs as you think you will use from a Peruvian supermarket and there will be no waste! If you only need two, you aren’t forced to buy an entire dozen. This is a great money saving technique that also reduces food waste.

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru | What To Know About Peruvian Grocery Stores

#5: Fresh fruits and vegetables will either be abundant or nonexistent

Many grocery stores in Peru have a stunning selection of fruit and vegetables. Many other Peruvian grocery stores have a simply sad selection of a few bruised apples and rotting carrots. We really didn’t see an in-between! All of the larger Peruvian supermarkets had a great selection, and some smaller stores did as well, but many had next to nothing.

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru | What To Know About Peruvian Grocery Stores

We assume that locals may get their fresh fruits from fruit stands or another type of local market, but these are very difficult for travelers to find, especially if they aren’t staying in a town for a long time. Google Maps navigated us to local grocery stores that didn’t have many fruits or veggies, and locals didn’t have anywhere else to suggest for shopping in many towns. If you arrive at a grocery store in Peru with a limited selection, understand that slightly bruised apples aren’t going to kill you and are probably free from many of the pesticides used in North America and therefore are most likely better for you!

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru | What To Know About Peruvian Grocery Stores

Now Read About European Grocery Stores

Or Learn About Grocery Shopping In Iceland

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15 thoughts on “5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Peru

  1. Christopher

    This is a very interesting post. I like it. Good tips to remember. I think supermarcdo is what they called the market in Spain too. I love the way you can buy eggs but I’m not sure if I can trust myself to carry them in a bag. That’s an accident waiting to happen…lol

  2. Emily Kydd

    So true about the eggs! I love being able to pick not only my number of eggs but which ones I want. Being a solo traveler I am often less motivated to buy eggs or bread or really anything healthy because I hate the idea of having to leave it behind or it getting damaged in transit because I didn’t eat it all. Therefore, I often resort to ramen, mmmm, salt!

    I was in Peru a few years ago, but I did very little self catering as I actually had a job back then, oh the shame. Good to know next time I am in the region!

  3. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    This is a solid post. On our last trip to Mexico for Guadalupe Canyon, we stopped by a Supermercado in Mexicali. It was one highlights of our trip. It’s an authentic and practical experience wrapped together.

  4. Rhonda Albom

    My daughter went to Argentina last year and she commented that there, the supermarkets were often very small and personable. It’s interesting to see the difference between there and Peru.

  5. Kasia

    I plan my trip to South America at the end of this year or the beginning of 2018. I’m still looking for the best places and good flight deals. I’m glad that in Peruvian stores you can buy as many eggs as your want. Sometimes I just want crambled eggs just for myself and have to buy like 12 eggs :/
    I can’t wait to taste some Peruvian dishes in Peru 😀


  6. Megan Jerrard

    Love this – grocery stores are actually the first place we visit once we arrive in a new city – we’re not foodies at all, so we prefer to book apartments where we can cook our own food. It’s actually really interesting and immersive and quite amusing navigating our way through foreign grocery stores – the eggs in Peru caught us off guard for sure!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      We love going out to eat and not doing the work as much as everyone else, but nothing beats coming home at the end of the day and just relaxing and cooking our own food!

  7. Claire

    Ha, I hated not knowing if a place had fruit or veg before going inside, I was so often disappointed! I like the eggs in bags though, it saves me having a stray egg or two that I never use 😀

  8. J Harvey

    This is really good information. Did you find that most locals tend to go to a local street market to shop more often than not? In Mexico and Ecuador this is usually the case. Anyway, great post!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Not sure about that one actually! Everyone seemed to be buying a decent amount of goods though!

  9. Lauren

    These kinds of things really intrigue me, just because it is so different from what I’m used to! Interesting tidbits for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Mike Cotton

    Great list of things to know about grocery stores in Peru… I’m hoping to visit Peru next year sometime, and it’s always good to get some in-depth knowledge beforehand.

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