Hyderabad - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Most things are available, especially if you shop at the fancier grocery stores, like Q-Mart. Prices vary: extremely inexpensive for things like onions and tomatoes, and very expensive for things like cheese. Beef is only available from small shops in the Muslim part of town, but pork, chicken, mutton (really goat) is easily obtainable. You can also have groceries delivered very quickly and cheaply: hit the right time of day, and you may wait fewer than 10 min for Swiggy or Zepto delivery. Overall, groceries are cheaper here than in the US. - Apr 2024

There’s quite a lot available, but the product may be different than what’s available in the US. Cheese is very expensive and even more so if you want cheese that isn’t cheddar. Beef you can forget about, pork is similarly difficult. It’s shippable at great expense from the commissary in New Delhi and you may see it on trips to places like Goa or Kerala. Flour is also very different: for cakes and cookies, you might not notice a difference, but for bread and things where protein and gluten are important, you will see much less rise. Indian tomatoes are bred for acidity, not sweetness, so that’s another thing to notice. Any time you order a lemon, you will get a lime. The Indians do not seem to recognize a difference. We did find real lemons, but they were pricey and not readily available. - Jan 2023

If you are looking for Western goods at Walmart prices you will be very disappointed. It was a challenge to get things like flour suitable for bread, yeast, brown sugar, cold cuts, cheddar cheese, peanut butter, etc. When available they were pricey. We could order some things through the commissary in Delhi and others through pouch but delays were inevitable. That said, the local produce is diverse, interesting, and high-quality. Vegetables and fruits are seasonal; you get what is ripe, but there is always a wide range available. The seasonal mangoes were a major highlight. As were the ever-present mini-bananas. Once you learn what everything is and how to cook them it is actually a lot of fun. Additional, Hyderabadi food is possibly the best in India. If you can cope with high spice levels you will be in heaven. We ate local food at least 4-5 nights a week and absolutely loved it. We actually paid our nanny extra to cook for us because we loved the food so much. The food situation was much harder on our young kids. Basically we paid our nanny to cook for my spouse and me, and I cooked for our kids! - Dec 2020

General groceries (rice, general produce) are available at local supermarkets like Ratnadeep or Star Market. For access to any higher quality items or Western imports, there is essentially only the QMart located in Gachibowli. Western imports (specialty cereals, pasta, cheese, etc.) are expensive, even by DC standards. For non-grocery items, it will be important to have a housekeeper or driver (or to leverage a colleague's local help) to locate particular items. There are no large hardware stores for example, so to procure a certain lightbulb, it will take a local's knowledge to know where to go and find it. - Jul 2020

Again, two answers: if you want local food, it's super cheap. If you want international food (i.e. granola, peanut butter, etc.) it costs a lot more because of the cost of importing it here. Better to ship all of that stuff through the pouch. Household supplies are never as good as they are in the US, where the paper products are always of a higher quality - we shipped all of that stuff with our HHE, including laundry pods, toilet paper, paper towels, party cups, and napkins. Very glad we did - one Costco purchase lasted us the entire tour. Groceries were a let-down, to be honest. The produce was very unpredictable (yay! seasonal!), but to the point where staples were missing for a week or more, like salad greens, cheese, yogurt, bananas - always to be replaced with something unrecognizable. It's a lot of experimentation with lots of mixed results. The produce is JUST NOT TASTY and explains why Indians cook all of their food to death and add lots of spices. We were never impressed with the quality of raw foods in India with the exception of a few items: seasonal mango (6 weeks), strawberries (twice a year), and a few types of rare bananas (minis and red). Cereals, grains, pasta, canned goods - we tried, but ended up shipping all of those items. Wine is exorbitantly expensive ($30 for the cheapest international bottle of garbage wine) and the local product is terrible. - Jul 2019

Very reasonable, and if you are with a diplomatic mission you can also order from Amazon/Target/Walmart (wherever you get your staples) via pouch. And the commissary in Delhi does monthly or quarterly orders; you can get frozen items, wine or liquor (which is phenomenally expensive on the local market). There are big grocery stores here, which surprised us. There are great delivery services, so we order groceries for delivery from Big Basket, meats/eggs from Licious, and fresh milk from Kiaro. You could get everything from Big Basket also for delivery. You can find things like American and European cheeses at a grocery store that had a ton of international products (for a price:) - Jan 2019

You'll definitely spend more on groceries here for a few reasons. First, stuff spoils A LOT faster, so if you don't use right away it goes bad and you'll be buying again. Second, any Western-style stuff is imported, so it'll be higher cost. You'll need to go to multiple shops to get what you'd normally get in one grocery store in the US; manageable, but sometimes you just wish for the ease of a "one stop shop".

There are a few small Western-style grocery stores and prices will be a little high, but not obnoxious. You can get your produce, chicken, turkey, ham, breads and cheeses at any of the western hotels' deli counters. Beef is not available locally, but can be ordered monthly through the commissary in Delhi. Most of us order from Amazon for our non-perishables and it takes about 3 weeks to arrive. - Nov 2017

Shopping is basic and expensive at the 2 stores that cater to expats. "Q-Mart and Nature's Basket" import some products that Americans are used to; the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables can be disappointing. You can never find everything you need in one place. You can order food items from the commissary in New Delhi but you have to wait 2-6 weeks and pay charges for shipping. Alcohol can be bought from the commissary; Kingfisher beer can be bought locally. We supplement a lot with Amazon. Chicken and mutton are available at most supermarkets. You can find some pork bacon at Q-Mart. Beef is available if you can find a Muslim butcher, but it is very tough. Some cured meats such as ham and bologna, as well as fancy cheeses, can be bought at premium prices at the Living Room, which located in the lobby of the Park Hyatt in Banjara Hills. You can find pork, but again, it tastes rather different. - Sep 2016

You need to work around what you can't find, or bring a lot in your HHE. It depends on if you want Western name brand or go with an off, maybe different tasting Indian brand as to cost. You can find Doritos, but it will be US$10/bag. Or eat Indian biscuits for US$2/bag. You can find some vegetables, but not a lot of greens/salads/kale or the like. Household supplies are fine and easy - pretty cheap too. You can also order from the commissary. All alcohol should come from the commissary in Delhi. Salad items, lemons, and cheeses you'll have to get through the Park Hyatt, which will be a bit more expensive. - Mar 2015

We can get pretty much everything we need. The fruits and vegetables are tastier than what I remember in the U.S. We can find local equivalents, e.g. ketchup, mayo, etc., which are about one-sixth the cost. For example, locally-made tortillas and corn chips are pretty good. Beef is somewhat hard to come by. However, the Park Hyatt sells beef and cheese are reasonable prices. You can also order food from the commissary in New Delhi but you have to pay for shipping. We only buy alcohol from the commissary. Someone explained that Hyderabad is the farthest southern city that one can buy meat. Chicken and mutton are available at the most supermarkets. We've bought pork bacon and pork chops at Q-Mart. Beef is available if you can find a Muslim butcher. Cured meats such as ham and bologna, as well as fancy cheeses, can be bought at the Living Room, which located in the lobby of the Park Hyatt in Banjara Hills. - Jan 2015

There are some small supermarkets where pricey imported goods can be found. Good beef is understandably hard to find. The open air markets have fresher produce but leafy greens are very difficult to find. Many expats grow their own lettuce. Filling your grocery list can be a full-time job as you may have to hit up multiple grocery stores or markets to find everything. For those without access to the Embassy's commissary, alcohol is limited and incredibly expensive. For those with access to the commissary and the diplomatic pouch, you should be able to get almost anything you need. The quality will be questionable but it's better than nothing. - Nov 2014

Surprisingly expensive. Local products are cheap (onions, ghee, lentils, curd). But very expensive for anything western and fairly limited. You can find a bag of Doritos at one of the handful of western stores, but you'll pay $10 for it. Overall, you can find most things here. But not without a significant price hike. Post recently lost a huge chunk of its COLA and this really hurt. - Jul 2014

Local produce is dirt cheap. Anything imported is more expensive than it would be in the U.S. - Mar 2012

Most Western groceries and household supplies, or local equivalents, are widely available. Costs range from surprisingly cheap to about twice what you'd pay in the US. Supplies can be limited sometimes and will disappear for a few weeks at a time. - Feb 2012

Local groceries are dirt cheap (veggies, grains, milk/yogurt) but imported items are pretty pricey. Ship-in any staples or name-brand things you want. - Jan 2011

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