Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Local groceries are inexpensive, good selection of vegetables and fruits in season. Be aware of the source of your veggies, but I enjoy the produce and wash with water. Plenty of choices in grocery stores, some that import are priced higher, but it's nice to have some options. Grocery stores can deliver, even the veggie stands. We are so fortunate to have a commissary and PX at post, about 20 minutes from Maadi. You can get pork and Twinkies. If they don't have something you want, you can always ask and they will try to order. Most food from commissary is shipped from Germany. Pork can be found on the local economy but you have to look for it and decide for yourself if you trust the source. PX sells alcohol, not a lot of choices locally. - Feb 2021


If I shop entirely locally, there are limitations and quality concerns, on top of the obvious difficulty of finding good alcohol and pork products. Again, diplomats have a leg up here. Still, there are plenty of shops with enough variety to make a go of it for the majority of dishes and tastes I've desired to prepare. - Nov 2020


The Cairo mission has commissary access, so this is fairly relative, if not a little more pricey for most goods you'd find at a smaller-sized grocery store. Pork, imported wine, beer, and other spirits are available - which is really handy if you can't find what you want on the local market. Locally, there are good options but may require a little more scrutiny before ingesting. No surprises with the prices. - Jan 2020


Cheap cheap cheap. Even fancy groceries with delivery is cheaper here than what you'd pay stateside. Egyptian produce is gorgeous and fresh, you just have to be vigilant about washing everything really well. I was surprised at the lack of dairy though. Egyptians don't really eat yogurt (I know!) and cheese can be pricey because there isn't much variety available locally so it's all imported. On the local economy you can get some European brands for cleaning supplies etc but quality isn't always very good and there are tons of knock-offs. We buy most of our household chemicals at the commissary. - Jun 2018


Local "Baladi" items are pretty cheap. If it's grown or made in Egypt, it is cheap. You can get a variety of fruits and vegetables easily. Imported items are pricier because of import taxes. You can find most things locally, though you may have to go to a variety of places. The US Commissary is fairly well stocked and has good prices. You can find gluten-free things and organic options. - Jan 2018


Egypt is a relatively inexpensive country. Embassy staff are also spoiled with the commissary, which, at least in my estimation, has prices 25 - 30% lower than a typical grocery store in Washington, DC. The commissary is subsidized and you can get the same products found in US grocery stores.

Restaurants are affordable, though expensive options are also available. Eating a more "local" restaurants will be very cheap and the food quality is still usually pretty good. Think in the range of $10 total for a family of four at a local restaurant. Prices go up from there, particularly at the high-end hotels in Cairo. - Sep 2017


Seasonal produce and chicken or lamb are fairly easily-available. Pork is hard to come by; there are a few stores that discreetly sell it. Produce prices are fairly good - below U.S. prices - and the quality is fairly high. You still need to bleach/sanitize anything you're not going to cook, though. There's a good variety of international prepared foods - pasta, curry, sauces, cookies, chips, etc. - available in grocery stores at higher prices than in the U.S. I was surprised by the variety and availability of Asian prepared foods in grocery stores. Household supplies are a mix of Egyptian and international brands. The quality is OK, though paper products are generally below U.S. standards. Embassy personnel have access to a robust commissary; talk to the embassy for more information on what's available there. - May 2017


Cheap where manufactured in Egypt, expensive where imported, depending on the country. Western goods are very expensive at the moment due to the currency devaluation in November 2016.

Food can be bought extremely cheaply from local butchers, bakers and greengrocers. - May 2017


Almost everything costs less than in the US. You can find pretty much anything you need locally if you are not picky about brands, although it may take visiting a few stores to find it. If you are with the US government, the commissary is fantastic. - Jan 2016


Good availability of local and imported groceries and household supplies. Imported goods are more expensive than if bought back home, but you can live fine on local goods. - Jan 2016


Lots of good local grocery chains like Metro, Seoudi, things are not super expensive. Alcohol is hard to come by, only Egyptian wines are sold and some imported beer. The Embassy has a commissary where you can by alcohol. And pork and bacon, which are not available locally. - Jan 2016


The Commissary is like a full-stocked grocery store. I have never thought to myself, "I wish they had....." There is everything unless you are looking for something bizarre for your dietary needs. - Oct 2014


The commissary is wonderful for those with that privilege. It is not as large as our last area with commissary access (Puerto Rico) and all the meat and bread are frozen. The vegetables and fruits are from Europe so sometimes they are not as fresh. We shop there once a month and then buy local fruits/veges, milk and bread. Local products are not expensive but American products that are imported into the local grocery stores are very expensive. We order a lot from Amazon. - Aug 2014


Groceries are somewhat expensive, except at the commissary which is cheaper than in the U.S. Gas is super cheap, many local brands of household supplies are cheaper than imported items. - Aug 2014


Non-imported items are pretty cheap and choices are wide. But something like smooshed tortilla chips are super pricey on the local market. I am of the mind that if there is a Carre Four store, I am fine - and they have Carre Four in Egypt. So lots of kinds of cheeses, breads, etc. These are not always in stock when you want them, though. Fresh veggies at expat-targeted convenient markets in key spots of Maadi are SUPER pricey, on their own, let alone compared to the prices elsewhere in the area. Fresh bakeries, OK bagels, etc. - May 2014


Groceries (except for American brand-name products) are pretty cheap locally, produce especially. Local meat is more expensive than in the U.S. The commissary is excellent, though. - Apr 2014


The commissary is fabulous. - Mar 2014


Our commissary provides all your American foods for around the same price you would pay in America. Locally-bought veggies are cheap and great. - Jul 2013


If you shop at the commissary, you will pay more. If you are willing to buy off the local markets, you will spend about half of what you do in the U.S. Between the two, pretty much everything you could want is available. - Jul 2013


Lots of stuff at the commissary at comparable prices. - Jun 2013


Excellent and cheap. There is a huge commissary in Maadi and many families mainly shop there. Food on the local market, especially fruits and vegetables, is cheap and delicious. - Jun 2013


The embassy has a commissary, which is a very nice small grocery store. But there are several grocery chains in Egypt, such as Metro Market, Carrefour, and the Alpha Market. All have a wide range of products, so it is possible to live well "on the economy." - May 2013


The PX and the commissary are fully stocked. - May 2013


We used the commissary, so we had access to everything we need. Friends buying on the local economy also had a fairly easy time and found things to be relatively cheap for living. We saved money here. - May 2013


USG personnel have access to a US military-run commissary, making groceries and household supplies very reasonable. For other expats, groceries and supplies are a bit more costly, but still reasonable, assuming you aren't living exclusively on imported items. Produce here is quite good, and something is always in season. Mangoes and local bananas are amazing (Egypt grows something like 60 varieties of mangoes), oranges are good, watermelon is great, strawberries are good, etc. As in most developing countries, you should treat your produce if it is something you eat "skin on" (i.e., not oranges, bananas, etc.) - Feb 2013


Prices on the local market for groceries can be cheap for some items and expensive for others. As was mentioned previously, local produce is plentiful but must be rinsed with bleach. The American Embassy has a commissary here that most people I know use, and I understand prices are decent there. - Feb 2013


This is the other nice thing about Egypt: the commisary and PX. Both have just about all the items you need to feel at home, even though this is the third world. Hopefully the power does not go out too much and ruin your food. It goes out daily for 1-2 hours, and during the summer months it is worse. We also have water outages. - Mar 2013


We have a commissary and there are reasonable local options, including Carrefour. This meets all of our needs. - Mar 2013


You can find most everything, sometimes cheaper, sometimes MUCH more expensive. The insecticides are more effective than in the US. I think that they use DDT still, which kills everything. - Feb 2013


Like the US. - Jan 2013


We have an AWESOME commissary with very reasonable prices. We really aren't left wanting---well, I do want Haas avacados, but I can deal with the California ones. They even sell different varieties of soy and almond milk. On the local economy, things are more pricey, but it's convenient to have them deliver or be near your home. The commissary is about 4 miles from Maadi, but in traffic it can be a small hassle. - Nov 2012


Everything is available if you are willing to look for it and pay for it. - Sep 2011


You can find everything you need. Supermarkets are plentiful and reasonably priced. Local foods are safe to eat. American and European canned/boxed goods are widely available. - Aug 2011


Very low cost of living with shopping ranging from hypermarkets to local convenience stores. - Aug 2011


Most things you will want are available here. Some are imported/expensive. You can find delicious Europeans meats and cheeses at pricey boutique stores. At the local grocery non-imported dry goods are fairly inexpensive, and the local vegetables are delicious in season. You can buy imported vegetables too, but for import prices. Toys, both electronic and brand-names like Legos, Barbie, etc. are expensive here. Anything that is for a sport that isn't soccer or has lycra as a major component should be purchased before you come. Some specialty sports items are hard to find and will be expensive. - Jul 2011


Local markets are everywhere with readily available products. Some at high prices. But if you are with the US Embassy or Military, you have the DeCA Commissary (a huge compound!) and AAFES post exchange---which is a HUGE benefit! - Jun 2011


Everything you need, and very cheap. Most supermarkets carry European products. Embassy and U.S. military staff have access to an awesome commissary. - Sep 2010


You can find anything if you are willing to pay for it. Embassy folks have the commissary. - Jun 2010


The commissary is very competitively priced. There are also plenty of local supermarkets (Alfa Market, Metro, Seoudi). Local products are cheap, but the imported stuff is marked up to two or three times what you would pay in the US. - Dec 2009


I only shop at the comissary - it is very good if you have access. - May 2008


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More