Almaty - 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 readily available, there are many supermarkets and farmer markets. Prices are lower than in US and quality is good. There are many local products and many things are imported from neighbor countries like Turkey, China, Russia and from Europe. - Sep 2023

Groceries are expensive, but seasonal fruits & vegetables are relatively cheap in the markets. Most are Russian brands, but some European products are available. The main grocery stores are Ramstor, a Turkish chain, Interfoods, Gulmart, and local chains. Almost any international food is available, if you are willing to lose your shirt in paying for it. Example: American cheddar cheese costs US$20 for a two-pound brick, the only way you can buy it. Most meats are also pricier, and quality is not to U.S. or European standards, but not bad. - Aug 2015

You can find pretty much anything here. - Jul 2013

Almaty has a huge "green bazaar" where in-season fruits and vegetables can be purchased at very reasonable prices. Highlights of the summer include the incredible mountain strawberries. When vegetables and fruits are out of season, they are impossible to find or very expensive; in winter we get down to carrots and cabbages. Almaty is the "city of apples", so there are always apples. For other shopping, the city has Ramstore (a large Turkish chain) and Silk Way City, so groceries can be purchased at prices like those in Washington, DC. - Feb 2013

I've been amazed at the quantity of Western goods here. It's expensive (like the US +10%) but you can get a lot. If you have brand names you like, bring them, but you can get hummus, peanut butter, cornmeal, etc. Fruits and vegetables are abundant, delicious and affordable during the summer, but in the winter the variety decreases dramatically. That said, it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting, and if you're willing to shell out the money you can usually get a lot of the vegetable products you want. Tofu can be found at the Korean markets. Meat quality varies a lot and is very expensive ($10/lb for beef--oddly, the fattier the cut, the more it is, so sirloin can be found at US-level prices). Other than Russian-style sausage, pork products are more unusual, especially bacon. - May 2012

At the "Ramstore" supermarket that all the expats use, packaged food is fairly expensive--like shopping at Whole Foods (but not organic/fancy), except that fresh vegetables/fruits/meats are pretty economical at the Green Bazaar. Anything imported (ex. olive oil, cheese, pasta sauce, etc.) is pricey. - Mar 2010

Groceries are expensive, especially if you want U.S. brands ( Philly cream cheese-US$ 10/8 oz). We've dong a good job finding local substitutions, so overall, I'd say we spend a little more than we would in the U.S. on groceries. - Mar 2008

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