Dhaka - Post Report Question and Answers

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

There are few things that I haven't been able to find and ended up having to order on Amazon (which is a lifesaver). If you shop at the grocery store chains in the diplomatic area you will pay higher than US prices for almost everything. You can get very cheap staples and veggies in local markets if you want to put in the effort to do that. Most people have their housekeeper do grocery shopping at local markets to guarantee local prices. It's difficult to find western cheese or heavy cream or some other forms of dairy. I assumed before I came that everything would be very cheap, but it's not. - Jul 2023

Average. Most grocery items are available, pending availability of shipments. There are a few specialty grocery stores that sell chips, sauces, cheese, etc. Embassy commissary has a nice supply of two-year-old bacon (I wish I were kidding) and frozen cheese. Local vegetables are OK, but need a lot of treatment (washing, pruning) before they are edible. Pork is unavailable on the local market (Muslim country), as is alcohol (thank God for the commissary). This isn't a consumables post, but it could/should be. Between the commissary, local grocery stores, and Amazon, you can get everything you need. - Dec 2021

The availability of fresh food is quite good, however the quality can be poor. The best place to shop is at the Nordic Club on Friday and Saturday- especially for veggies. There are multiple grocery stores with imported products near Gulshan/Baridhara- Unimart, Lavender, German Butcher. - Sep 2021

Availability is good at the farmer's markets. The local fixed-price stores are ok, but more expensive, limited, and sometimes a bit (or a lot) wilted. IMO, fresh milk is good and inexpensive, but I ONLY purchased mine at Gourmet Bazar and sometimes Lavendar, as they both have a closed cold-storage container. I would stay away from Unimart unless they change their milk storage, which is currently an open cold-case, meaning that the milk on top is often close to room temperature. Often, I would find that my milk (processed only a couple days ago) had gone sour. UHT (box) milk is also abundant. Cheese is available, but expensive and limited. Generally speaking, Asian good products are widely available. Beef is available, with Bengal Meats being a good product. Pork is also available, but only at The German Butcher. If you want, they sell primal cuts that you can break down yourself (e.g half-pig). - Jun 2019

There are larger grocery stores where you can get all necessities. Local produce is abundant and good quality. Lots of options for food delivery as well. - Jul 2018

Groceries are generally available, including a wide variety of imported goods, although imported items can be rather expensive sometimes. Unfortunately, US embassy staff are allowed to visit only one grocery store, so most grocery shopping has to be done vicariously, with variable results. - Apr 2017

There are a few home delivery grocery services, including Direct Fresh and Chaldal, and groceries from there are generally safe and cheap. There are a few local grocery stores with reasonably safe goods that are popular among expats. The Embassy commissary has lots of options, and I've gradually come to do most of my grocery shopping there and online via Amazon. - Jun 2016

You can find just about anything here. Prices vary depending on where you go. The commissary has become awesome lately, and you can find lots of American stuff there, although it might be expensive. We also rely heavily on Amazon. - May 2016

Expensive, but readily available. - Jun 2015

US$50. a week and you'll never go without. - Mar 2015

Expensive compared to U.S. I stopped looking at prices at the commissary because if I need it, I don't care how much it is. Local market has a lot too, prices vary by brand or if it's imported. Fresh fruits and vegetables are tough because they have formalin which is like a preservative...I only feed my children frozen/canned veggies from commissary and make smoothies with frozen fruit. Fresh fruit I buy occasionally. There is no fresh milk, just UHT. No celery. Meats are expensive unless local (I always brought in luggage when taking trips out). Paper goods, laundry soap, dish soap...bring enough for whole tour but watch your housekeeper doesn't over use. Items are available here but expensive unless you use local brands. - Sep 2014

The U.S. Commissary is good, as is the British Commissary. You can get some decent meats and poultry at a local market as well as some U.S. brand groceries. The store is hellish, though. - Aug 2014

Very good commissary; 3 local grocery stores have large selection of imported goods; Direct Fresh BD delivers imported and local goods to your home. Selection varies, people tend to hoard when they find something they like. Costs are similar to the U.S., higher for some products and lower for others. The more you can shop local, the more money you'll save. - Jul 2014

Cheap cheap cheap. Produce on the local market is inexpensive, but there are concerns it contains formalin to extend shelf life. I have my housekeeper buy from an organic grocer. The U.S. Commissary is huge and has a good selection of products at slightly higher prices than in the U.S. Lots of people buy groceries online and ship via DPO. - Aug 2013

Less than in the US. - Apr 2013

Groceries are mostly obtained through the commissary, which does an ok job, not great. Meat is hard to come by, and there have been avian flu and anthrax scares in meat. We brought about 100 lbs in checked bags from US. Local fruit/veggies/eggs are available and affordable but very seasonal. Bleaching is certainly necessary. We have our gardener grow what he can on the rooftop. - Aug 2011

Groceries are expensive. This post should have a COLA, but it doesn't. Most American's shop at the commissary to get decent brands. There are also some decent grocery stores on the local market, but you must be extremely careful with fresh foods, to include meats, vegetables, and fruits. Most foods will need to be soaked in bleach water for 30 minutes before preparing to eat. - Jun 2011

Almost everything is available either on the local market or through the Commissary (or Amazon grocers).A variety of cheeses and fresh herbs, though, are difficult to find. The Commissary carries cheese, but all have been frozen in transit, which leaves them all crumbly. Fresh basil is non-existent. Specialty stuff is available at some local Korean and Chinese markets, and a few higher end grocery stores with imports. - Feb 2011

Some local stores (like Lavender) carry everything at pretty cheap prices. Local vegetables are cheap, but fruits are expensive. - Jan 2011

Western goods are limited and expensive when avaialable but there is plenty of local staple foods including rice, lentils, other beans, and vegetables. Fruit is of quite poor quality and can be expensive. It is very difficult to find decent lettuce. Fish is often not safe to eat becasue formaldyhyde is used to create the appearance that it is fresh. There was an outbreak of anthrax which meant that for a several month period, most red meat was not readily avaialable. - Jan 2011

I was disappointed with the grocery stores in Dhaka and did most of my shopping at the US Commissary. While not particularly cheap by US domestic standards, they had a fairly good selection of a variety of products. - Oct 2010

In Dhaka almost everything is half the price of what you would pay in America. But only if you buy local brands. It all depends on how picky you are. - Apr 2010

Fresh products and staples bought on the local economy (produce, meat, eggs, sugar, flour, etc.) are much cheaper than in the U.S.There are a few supermarkets that carry imported products at very high prices. Thankfully, the U.S. Commissary is amazingly good, well-stocked, and not outrageous (prices are similar to or a bit less than in D.C. - alcohol is very cheap). - Oct 2009

In season fruits and vegetables are cheaper. Meats can get more expensive if you are looking for good quality. Shopping at the commissary can get expensive. - Aug 2009

Moderate on the local market. Expensive if you want to eat the way you do back home. The commissary is very good, but costs add up quick. With pouch and APO, we can order almost everything else. - Mar 2009

Imported goods are available for an arm and a leg. More and more department stores available, however, with more reasonably priced items. - Nov 2008

Costs are low for local items and those are plentiful. Imported items can be expensive. - Mar 2008

Household supplies are easy to come by. There are several areas of stores with imported goods. The availability of certain groceries can be limited - supplies dry up randomly. If you shop on the local market, goods will be cheaper than in the U.S. - Feb 2008

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