Ulaanbaatar - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is better than you’d think and, on average, a bit cheaper than in the US. Some veggies are grown locally but most seem to come from China. Fruits come from all over the world. Beef and lamb is Mongolian. Most chicken and pork seem to come from Russia. - Jan 2024

You can generally find what you need; however, you may need to go to different stores or wait a few weeks for things to come back in stock. Grocery items are generally less expensive than comparable items in the United States as long as you are open to local or third country brands. The exceptions is that some fruit (blueberries, strawberries, etc.) are more expensive in the winter and imported cheese is more expensive most of the time. However, its relatively easy to avoid those items and have relatively inexpensive groceries. - Aug 2022

Availability is generally good. There are a lot of imported products from Korea and Germany. At the apartments, you have easy access to the Good Price, however it is more expensive than other stores and is not always well stocked. We find ourselves making a loop of grocery runs from Good Price to UB Mart to Rosewood to EMart (not all on the same day....). Rosewood Butchery has the best quality of meats. Fresh vegetable and eggs have seen fluctuations in availability throughout our tour. - Jan 2022

Groceries are affordable but not overly cheap. If you shop in small, local markets and stores you will save money. If you go to EMart (Korean walmart) or Good Price (western style market) you will spend the same or more. Meat in Mongolia is very cheap but varies in quality. There is not a set way to butcher meat here so sometimes you get an strange cut. Mercury Market is also popular for meat and fresh vegetables. You will be surprised at the variety you are able to find, even in the dead of winter. There is almost nothing we have not been able to find that we really want. - Sep 2020

They have several imported grocery stores. You can get most everything, though supplies can be limited, and costs are at a premium. - Aug 2020

You can find most foods here, but organic or gluten-free foods are harder to find and more expensive than in the U.S. Fruit is more expensive in the winter because it is all imported. In general, you can get most things here. There's the pouch too, so you can order some things to supplement what you can't find here. - Jul 2019

I am really amazed with how many things we can get here. Most products are from Russia or Korea and the availability is truly impressive even in winter (although more limited). American products can be found at a steep price often Russian or European equivalents are more affordable. Sometimes there appear to be shortages (butter! cream!) so one shopping rule here is that you buy it when you see it if you think you will (ever) use it.

Yes, it's a consumable post and you will need that allotment for liquids (honey, maple syrup, olive oil, toiletries) and baking supplies as those are often hard to find and can be pretty expensive. But overall, I spend less on groceries here than I do in the U.S. - Oct 2016

Not too bad. Of late, availability of groceries and supplies has declined, and prices remain very high for imported produce, especially fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce which are at painfully raised levels. Local produce can be of decent quality, but is also not cheap, and the range is rather limited to meat, dairy and flour-based products. Basically one does need a source of imported food, and occasional food trips to places like Hong Kong are advisable. For cleaning products and toiletries there are a good selection of German products. - Feb 2015

In Ulaanbaatar there are grocery stores that cater to foreigners that have most common items. Regular grocery stores are well stocked with meat, dairy, sweets, pickled veggies, beer, and vodka. Prices are reasonable except for imported fruits and vegetables but you can get them year round. - May 2012

Limited. - Feb 2012

Groceries are expensive. Most items are imported from either China or Russia. Items imported from the U.S. are grossly inflated to account for shipping, customs and taxes. - Feb 2011

Groceries and household supplies are very expensive. Almost everything is imported. I try to avoid buying Chinese vegetables and fruits, but it is difficult. Groceries, when available, cost about 3 times what they would in DC. If you see something you want, buy it! You may not see it again. Finding fruits, vegetables, good cheese, seafood, and good coffee beans is the greatest challenge. If you like mutton, you will be very happy with the food here. If you are eligible for a consumables shipment, use it to the fullest. The Mongolian diet is meat-heavy and very bland. Pack your spices and salsas! - Jan 2009

Inflation has hit this country hard, something in the 36% level. Everything is more expensive, you can expect to pay 2 to 3 times the price for U.S. products compare to Washington D.C. - Oct 2008

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