|The Ninja admiring all the dried meats and fancy cheeses at
the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia
One of my favorite things to do while traveling abroad is visiting grocery stores and food markets. Not only are markets a great venue for people watching and experiencing culture, they also provide me with a valuable lesson in food diversity, value and, most importantly, they remind me to be ever-so-thankful for our American food supply.
It’s always fun to peruse a foreign grocery store to see what kinds of different products are available that we don’t have in the U.S. For example, I was in Poland for a short time in December and saw many unique things in the store. Live carp were available in the fish section and the produce section featured a wide variety of pickles and sauerkraut.
Aside from this section of the grocery store smelling quite odd (imagine live fish and sauerkraut wafting together), the Polish grocery store seemed fairly normal. Apples, oranges, chocolates, soda, breads etc – many of the same brands and products existed. Although they were much, much cheaper – the Polish currency is the zloty and one zloty is worth about $0.25. So, if a product was advertised for 2.69zl such as this individual bottle of Strongbow Cider, it would actually only be about $0.68! What a steal, right?
Also in Poland were several bins of premade pierogi, which is a sort of dumpling from Eastern Europe, and they were cheap too. As you can see, one variety was 4.49 zl/kg which factors out to $0.51/lb! Whole chickens were similar in price – only $0.57 per pound!
We had heard that everything was super cheap in Poland but we didn’t really believe it until we visited. The prices made us want to fill up both of our bags with goodies but since we were backpacking we settled for the haul below to get us through snacks and breakfasts for a few days. The whole caboodle was only about $10 USD.
|Candy, cookies, dried fruit, beef jerky and nuts for only $10|
Elsewhere in the world, food is not so cheap. Take for example this meat market in France. As you can see, whole chickens come with heads and feet attached in France and are a lot more expensive! These birds were 21.80 euro/kg which is about $10.80/lb. Far more pricey than in the US.
|Know how to carve a chicken?|
One of my favorite places to visit when we lived in Australia was the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. I would go once a week to get the fruit, veggies and cheese we wanted to supplement the meals we got from the university college we lived in. In 2011, during our stay, the US dollar wasn’t very strong and we thought everything was super expensive! But now, the dollar has strengthened a bit so I wasn’t so taken aback during our recent visit to the land down under.
|So many fancy cheeses, so little time!|
Whenever I travel abroad, I always return home feeling very thankful to have access to the safest, more affordable food supply in the world. A lot of folks would say “Well we don’t care how much food cost if it’s not healthy.” However, if good, healthy food becomes too expensive, your level of concern for price will increase greatly. Always be thankful for what we have here in the U.S., we are very blessed!
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Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~