Asmara - Post Report Question and Answers
How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
VERY limited. There are good vegetables, at the right stores, but most things are very seasonal, if they have them at all. Prepared foods are expensive and difficult to find. Chicken is VERY expensive and often quite bony. - Apr 2021
Groceries and household supplies are both much more limited and more expensive than in my home country. Eggs, for instance, cost about $0.33 to $0.50 each, making a dozen $4-6. Meat is hard to find, expensive, and tough. Vegetables and fruits, though, can be pretty cheap, depending on season. (Prickly pears in the summer sell for about $0.06 each.) Cleaning supplies can be hard to find, especially if you are used to Western brands. - Dec 2019
Imported items are rather expensive, and availability is variable and somewhat limited. However, ever since the Eritrean-Ethiopian border opened in mid-September 2018, goods availability (especially foodstuffs) has gone up and prices have fallen considerably. Even before that, availability had gotten better in the last 2-3 years than they had been longer ago. So, if you look at older Real Post Reports on Eritrea, the situation now is definitely much better than it was several years ago. A wide variety of dry goods are available in stores. There are foreign exchange stores where diplomats can buy wine and liquor, cleaning supplies, etc, for fair prices. The selection can be limited, sometimes. - Feb 2019
Very expensive and poor quality. Root vegetables, watermelons and oranges are about the only thing we buy locally. Everything else we ship in. We go for meat trips to Dubai. There is a duty free for a bit cheaper cleaning items and alcohol but they are not always stocked. - Sep 2018
Groceries were expensive. The exchange rate is 15 to 1. A box of cereal costs about 300 Nakfa in town, which was $20 USD. For dry goods, I highly recommend the diplomatic pouch. Goods usually arrive within 3-4 weeks. Meat was generally 320 Nakfa which is about $21 USD. Shrimp when available was generally 5,000 Nakfa for a 5 kilo bag. That is $66.00 per kilo.
There are small grocery stores, where products can be quite expensive. There are also markets. It is highly recommended that you hire someone, who can navigate the shopping and (1) knows where to go to get what you need and (2) can get the best price.
You can eat affordably, you just have to do those things above. - Dec 2016
Costs and availability of goods fluctuate wildly. Fresh fruits and vegetables are reasonably priced and generally of good quality. Household supplies (paper napkins, cleaning products, etc.) are pricy. Very basic goods (eggs, sugar, flour, milk) will often disappear from the market for long periods. - Aug 2007