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Riyadh



How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

It's said that "everything" is available here, and to a certain extent that's true, but it often isn't the quality Americans would expect. For example, frozen vegetables have thawed and been refrozen, almost always, and are simply a waste of money. You can find things like American mayonnaise and cheese, but they are often past their expiration date and have obviously gone bad. Meat and fresh vegetables tend to be OK, and sometimes excellent.

You can find most normal household care items, or substitutes, but it does take a while to sort out what the products are actually for. In general, we have found food and supplies in local supermarkets to be pretty expensive.

There is a military base about an hour away which is a pain to get to, but the products are fairly reliable when they're in stock, except for the fact that they freeze things like sour cream and cheese for long shelf life, and the results are often disastrous. Better to get those kinds of things in the local markets. - Oct 13, 2017


You can find almost everything you want here -- lots of imported goods (and veggies and fruits), etc. Certain stores definitely cater to expats/Westerners so you'll feel almost right at home. There's a variety of grocery stores ranging from more affordable (Lulu's) to expensive (Tamimi/Danube) and you'll figure out where to go to get the stuff you need. I still laugh a little bit to see Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flours in the 'natural' aisle - mega $$, of course! - Jan 19, 2017
Riyadh has huge and well stocked supermarkets, although you favorite brand may not be available. However there are very nice French, German and Italian brands, not usually available in the U.S., that are available here. The fresh produce is sometimes (stress on sometimeŁ) not very, ah, fresh. Most of it is imported and sometimes it sits on a dock in the heat because somebody forgot or refused to pay a bribe. I found I had to visit two or three supermarkets to fulfill my grocery list. The Tamimi supermarket, close to the DQ, is affiliated with Safeway and stocks many U.S. brands, but do not neglect the French Carrefour chain (great cheeses and other French groceries) or the Jeddah-based Danube supermarkets. Between these three you should be able to find just about everything you want. Buy more than one item of something you really like. I thought the Saudi-produced milk and butter were excellent, however eggs were often brittle and of poor quality. U.S. diplomats have access to a large, well stocked PX just outside Riyadh. Frozen pork and pork products (bacon !!!) are available but rationed. Re-sale or gifting of pork and pork products to non-U.S., non-diplomatic U.S. personnel is strictly prohibited and may cause you to lose your PX privileges. A wide selection of wines, beers, and spirits is available for purchase inside the Embassy, but this is not to be mentioned or discussed with non-diplomatic U.S. Embassy personnel. Here too, re-sale or gifting of alcoholic beverages to non-U.S., non-diplomatic personnel is strictly prohibited and may cause you to lose your privileges. It is permitted to serve alcoholic beverages to guests in your home, even to Saudis, but make sure a wide selection of non-alcoholic beverages are also available. Don't let Saudi guest drink too much, because if they are picked up outside the DQ by the traffic police and they smell alcohol on them, they are in deeeeeeep trouble. - May 20, 2016
Used to be very cheap, but now prices are going up. - Nov 9, 2015
Some local products, especially produce items, are cheaper than in the USA, but imported goods are more expensive. No alcohol ,no religious items, no gambling accessories. Clothes are more expensive, and there are no changing rooms for women (as that would lead to rapes -according to their beliefs). We use the military commissary for American items. - Oct 27, 2015
Lots of huge grocery stores (Carrefour, Tamimi, Hyperpanda). You can get a lot of American goods but it's more expensive because it's imported. Anything else we can't get, we just buy on Amazon. - Oct 15, 2015
About the same as the U.S. We can get everything we need here easily. Lots of American and European foods. - Jan 23, 2015
Good choice. Everything here, slightly more expensive. Riyadh is in the middle of the desert, so expensive. If you want luxury goods though (especially cars), you have LOTS of choice. - Sep 28, 2014
They say "everything" is available here, and to a certain extent that's true, but it often isn't the quality Americans would expect. For example, frozen vegetables have thawed and been refrozen, almost always, and are simply a waste of money here. You can find things like American mayonnaise and cheese, but they are often their expiration date and have obviously gone bad. Meat and fresh vegetables tend to be OK, and sometimes excellent. You can find most normal household care items, or substitutes, but it does take a while to sort out what the products are actually for. In general, we have found food and supplies in local supermarkets to be pretty expensive. There is a military base about an hour away which is a pain to get to, but the products are fairly reliable when they're in stock, except for the fact that they freeze things like sour cream and cheese for long shelf life, and the results are often disastrous. Better to get those kinds of things in the local markets. - Mar 26, 2014
You can find anything you need here. Prices are equivalent or maybe a little higher than Northern Virginia. You may not find the brand that you are used to but you'll find something that is comparable to. - Dec 4, 2013
You can buy most things here in the local grocery stores. - Oct 9, 2013
There is cheap local seasonal produce, although with a limited variety of choices. Everything else is flown in from the US and elsewhere and can be very expensive. You can buy pretty much everything, for a price, except alcohol and anything containing it, pork products, nutmeg and wine vinegar. - Mar 17, 2013
Groceries and household supplies are widely available. Fresh produce is reasonable, but meats and frozen imported goods are pricey. - Apr 7, 2011
Fresh foods are of high quality and are about the same price as in the US. Packaged imported products can be more expensive. - Jul 27, 2010
Everything is here. Basic food costs are much lower than the U.S. - Mar 29, 2010
It's available, just expensive. - Jan 18, 2010
Anything that's imported from overseas (some of the fresh fruits and vegetables, familiar US brands) is more expensive. Getting things that are produced locally or imported from Western companies' production outposts in Dubai is fairly cheap. Most fresh produce has a shelf life of only 2 days -- you can't buy produce to last for a week. - Dec 29, 2009
A little cheaper than the U.S. - Oct 21, 2008
Most European and U.S. products are available, except the obvious limitations of liquid and pork products. - Aug 6, 2008