Ashgabat - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Tricky question. Some foods at the Russian Market were dirt cheap. We could buy all of our weekly fruits, vegetables, frozen chicken breast and mediocre cheeses for less than $20 USD total. The main supermarket was expensive though. You could get anything, but you will pay for it. Cream cheese $15, 2 liter of Coke is $6. You will learn quickly how to shop like a local and at places that would accept USD. - Dec 2020

Groceries can be a little pricy but if you fully use your consumable allowance, it is fine. Many order dry goods through the pouch. Green markets in neighborhood carry wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. I have had no trouble finding what I need that I can't have shipped. There are a couple large style grocery stores that carry most of what you need. - Mar 2019

The cost for western products and meat is very high. The cost for fruits and vegetables in season, eggs, and bread is very reasonable. - Jun 2018

Fresh fruits and vegetables are very limited and quality is spotty. Chicken, ground beef and lamb are the only meat options. Pork can be found at certain butchers (but you better find a reputable one). This is a consumables post and you should use most of it on liquids (PB, syrup, tomato sauce) and alcohol. You will not find packaged prepared food out here either. Basic cleaning supplies and paper products are available - Feb 2016

The Turkish chain 'Yimpash' is the one stop shop for all that you need ala Walmart. Arid Turkmenistan needs to import nearly all of its foodstufs from Turkey, Iran and Russia. There are several farmers markets around town that provide additional produce options. Costs are generally cheaper than in the U.S. as many of the staples are subsidized by the government. Dairy products are much more expensive, with a one liter tetrapak of milk costing US$2/liter. You can generally find a Russian equivalent to your preferred household products. The diplomatic pouch was used heavily by all to bring in preferred dry goods. There are no contact lens-related products available. - Jul 2014

Just open-market shopping. The rest has to be shipped in via Oh, and the COLA doesn’t even come close to covering your expenses. Forget buying pork, and expect to get served camel meat when they tell you it is beef. No words can express the anger you will feel when you try to find decent meat without maggots and that hasn’t been mixed with some other type of meat. Keep your eyes on the vendor, too. They will put rotten vegetables in your bag (when you aren’t looking) mixed with fresh vegetables. You won’t find out that half of your vegetables are rotten until you get home. - Oct 2012

Availability is decent. The relative cost is a little high, but the COLA covers that fairly easily. - Mar 2012

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