I cannot find pickles in Mexico. Olives? Chicharones the size of a small child? Shark? All found on a recent trip to the Mexican grocery store. If there’s a pickle section somewhere though, they’re hiding it from me.

On some of our previous trips to the country when we’ve rented a house or condo I’d been in the grocery stores to pick up a few odds and ends but hadn’t truly navigated the grocery store in Mexico until we arrived here permanently.

The toilet paper here is "Lovly"
The toilet paper here is “Lovly”

For a town of a couple hundred thousand, there are actually an awful lot of grocery stores to chose from. Mega is a large and commercial grocery store and has been our choice to date because of it’s selection, low prices and is located a block away. We’ve also visited the Chedraui, Soriana and the local WalMart and found we can get almost everything here we can get at home (Except for pickles. Seriously, where are they?).

There is also an organic market one block away that I’ve picked up some amazing produce at, I’m guessing there are others around town. There are also multiple street vendors selling fruits and vegetables. And for those who like to shop big, there is a Sam’s Club. I understand many condo owners shop there to furnish their place. Since our bulk purchases would probably be limited to toilet paper we haven’t visited yet.

For something quick, OXXO’s are the equivalent of a QuikTrip and they are as prevalent – one on just about every corner. For the corner without an OXXO there is a local bodega. You can pick up everything there from a phone card to ice to totopos.

As far as comparing costs to the U.S.? Well it depends on what you buy. Last night I picked up a bag of lettuce and a tomato for less than a dollar and a pineapple for $.50. A 12 pack of Sol beer costs around $8.75, but if you want an “American” beer like Bud Light expect that cost to double. And items that have to be imported are going to jump significantly in price. I think the takeaway would be to buy fresh and buy local. Seriously I swear some of the seafood I saw was so fresh it was still moving and the prices were incredibly low.

Fresh seafood is one thing but is that a shark?
Fresh seafood is one thing but is that a shark?

And for those of you fellow carb-aholics out there the pastry section is a thing of beauty. Rolls, loaves of bread, danishes, muffins, dulce de leches buns and more that we haven’t yet tried. Freshly baked. Every. Single. Day. Our waistlines would probably be happier if we hadn’t figured out how to navigate this section. You pick up a flat pan, add as much of everything as you like and then take it the counter to be bagged and weighed. Add it to your cart and pay when you checkout. Hey, it sounds easier than it was. Or we might just be that slow.

There have been a few food adjustments we’ve had to make. For example there is only one choice of buns – Bimbo is the brand – and two or three choices for spaghetti sauce and the champagne selection is slim pickings (seriously people, these are real world problems). So when we (meaning Jason) cook from recipes brought from home they have be tweaked and they taste just a bit different. I actually think that’s a pretty accurate sentiment for a lot of things we’ve experienced to date, very similar to home, but just a little bit different.

My search for pickles continues, Jason’s hoping that we find them the same place we find the Mountain Dew. We’ll continue to live without some of these things for now, curious if  there is any food or drink item you wouldn’t want to live without? I’m accepting challenges to see if I can find it here.

Updated (3/17/13): Leave it to Wal Mart.

 

Expensive, but they're here.
Expensive, but they’re here.