Dushanbe - Post Report Question and Answers
How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Groceries are CHEAP. Fruits and vegetables are delicious in season (amazing melons, cherries, apples, pears) and a little boring in the winter (potatoes, onions, cucumbers). Locals mostly shop at the bazaars, but expats typically use the grocery stores, each of which is better for certain products. Ashan has the best bakery and booze selection, Paikar has the best meat and produce, and Rudaki Plaza has the most imported products. Tajikistan is very much a "know a guy" country. If you ask the right people, you can figure out where to buy sweet potatoes during the one week a year they are available, a bucket of raspberries, or honey by the kilogram. - Aug 2021
Fresh fruits and vegetables and cheap and readily available when in season. Other items, the cost varies depending on how specific you are about brand. Overall, we spend less on groceries here than we do in the US. - Apr 2021
Availability of items exceeded my expectations. Most items can be found, although some are fairly expensive (e.g., a box of American cereal is about $10). Fresh fruit and produce is seasonal and must be washed carefully. - Jun 2020
All the basics are available. You have to get used to Russian brands, because that's almost all there is -- foreign brands appear intermittently and are usually more expensive. Supermarkets are mostly small (though a big French one opened a few months ago), so sometimes you might have to hit two or three to find what you want. Some things may mysteriously disappear for months (canned tomatoes? why...?) Lots of nice fresh vegetables in summer and autumn; in winter, not so much.
There are some things you just can't get, like herbal teas (only black and green) or strong cheeses (only bland whites and yellows). - Dec 2016
It was hard to find stuff. They mostly have Russian products. There are no American products. Prices are rising and even the best grocery stores are about the size of a 7-11. - Dec 2015
It depends on what you want. If you have no particular needs or tastes, food and such are pretty cheap. If you are a vegetarian or care about quality, you will end up shipping in a lot of goods and spending a fortune. However, the summers are great because there are fabulous fresh berries at low cost. That was the best part of living in Dushanbe. - Jun 2014
The markets are great in the summer time. In the winter, fresh stuff can be harder to find. Expect to hit 3 or 4 different spots to get what you need. - Mar 2014
Things are available until they are gone and then - who knows? Supplies dwindle significantly in the winter. You can keep costs down by taking advantage of your consummables and the pouch. - Oct 2013
If you shop at the local markets the cost is low. There are a few grocery stores which import some Western foods. The cost is quite high, but worth it, as there is so little to buy in the country. - Jan 2012
Cheap, especially at bazaars. In season, a kilo of delicious tomatoes costs about 40 cents. There are a few smaller grocery stores, but you will wind up going to a few places to get everything you need. - Jun 2009
There are some grocery stores that are popping up in the last few years. You can SOMETIMES get imported produce in the summer, such as Granny Smith apples. There is also a wealth of canned goods in the summer, and at one in particular, dairy goods like UHT pasteurized milk, yogurt, sour cream kind of thing, etc. The bazaars have local fruits and vegetables for very, very cheap. In the summer, it's berries, stone fruit, greens, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. Generally imported bananas, too. Most of this is really cheap. Meat here is supposed to be terrible, although you can get some cuts sometimes that are better. There are some kinds of pasteurized cheeses sometimes, but it's by no means guaranteed. In the winter, the shelves at the stores are empty, and the bazaars hold only potatoes, onions, sometimes apples, and some unique squash kind of things. Last winter was particularly bad, with the city on power rationing. There was no (pasteurized) milk for several months, along with many of the other good we see as staples, including flour, yogurt, juices, even bread. Prices were soaring for the winter, but went back down somewhat, still below U.S. prices for many things. Keep in mind that everything needs to be washed with distilled water and bleach is recommended, too! - Jul 2008