Lautoka market

Grocery shopping tips

Are you wondering where you should provision what and how much and if these items will be more expensive in the next destination?

Here some of my tips from Turkey 🇹🇷 to Thailand , any addition or feedback is welcome!

Turkey – Marmaris

favorite food store: BIM and Marmaris Sunday Market for fresh produce

buy as much as you can:

Especially chickpeas and lentils are a good value in Turkey and last years
  • olive oil, olives
  • chick peas, lentils, bulgur
  • dried tomatoes

Spain/ Canaries

favorite food store: Lidl, Mercadona

buy as much as you can:

  • beer and wine (prices are a lot better than in Cabo Verde and the Carribean islands except Leader price in Martinique)
  • Paté in glasses, olives in glasses or cans
  • Dried sausages, Lomo de Cerdo (stayed good for almost 2 years until just before NZ at max. 25 degrees)
  • Whole grain flours rye and spelt for sourdough bread – will be hard to find elsewhere until New Zealand, exept maybe in Papeete, but there only at „Pharmacy prices“

Cabo Verde

In Jan 2016 provisioning in Mindelo was rather basic, although I found a wholemeal wheat in the supermarket.

Fresh food was available on the market but it took me 3 days to provision for the Atlantic crossing, because I couldn’t find everything every day. Onions for example were out for about 2 weeks, then they were back available again, but nevertheless expensive.


Prices in the supermarkets I found very expensive. On the local market some good deals on seasonal fruits and vegetables available.

“The first impression” in the supermarket in Barbados – I am happy that I don’t have to buy anything there…


favorite food store: Marketing and National Importing Board and Saturday morning market for fresh local fruit and veggies

buy plenty:

Nutmeg Grenada
Don’t forget to buy plenty of the aromatic nutmeg in Grenada – a must ingredient fpr every rum punch!
  • nutmeg (with shell)
  • moringa tee

Martinique / Guadeloupe

favorite food store: Leader Price
buy as much as you can:

My “first impression” in the supermarket in Fort de France is a whole shopping cart :-)…
… and several more will follow
  • Beer, wine, rum (beer prices in Columbia and beer/rum in Panama is also a good deal)
  • Vegetable and fruit tins, my favorites were beet roots, spinach, ratatouille, grean beans, pears, chocolate ceam dessert
  • Chocolate with whole nuts/almonds, cookies, chips
  • Any French products you will likely get the next time in French Polynesia, but for double the price ;-(


favorite food store: Warehouse and Van den Tweel

Good quality of meat and sausages, but also in Columbia some good meat available

Columbia – Santa Marta

cheapest food store: Ara (only takes cash, selection limited)

buy as much as you can: all locally produced products are a lot cheaper than in Panama, fresh produce in season is incredibly cheap

Eating out in Columbia
In Columbia it doesn’t make sense to cook – for USD 4.- you get a decent meal which serves 2 persons (at least in our case)
  • Beer USD 0.57/330 ml can (Oct 16)
  • Wine (slightly more expensive than in Panama)
  • Rum (expensive, it is a lot cheaper and better in Panama)


buy as much as you can (definitely! it will not get any cheaper in the Pacific and Southeast Asia except in the Philippines and then in Langkawi):

Heineken Panama
Buy beer in Panama as much as you can!
  • Beer USD 0.65/ 370 ml (Feb 17) with discounts available per tray
  • Wine from USD 4.85/bottle (next location will be NZ for soso not box wines at USD 5/bottle)
  • Rum USD 7/l

For other food stuff in general many US products and more expensive than Colombia

Mercado Abastos Panama
In the Mercado Abastos you find everything fresh

Fresh fruit and veggies – Mercado Abastos in Panama City

Better store seperate, hanging in nets or baskets with enough ventilation!!!

Pay attention when storing your fruit: pawpaw, banana, passion fruit, pineapple, avocado, tomato all emit Ethylen which makes them all together ripen a lot faster than normal!

French Polynesia

fresh baguettes on every bigger island or atoll
basic food like rice, milk, even frozen meat from Uruguay or NZ is subsidized/without import tax, so no need to bring tons from Panama

veggies are often scarce – whenever you see something buy it. Especially in the Tuamotus we were happy to strech the scarce fresh stuff with our canned veggies from Martinique.

Sunday morning market in Papeete good for some good deals and many things that are not so frequently found otherwise

Huahine had in my opinion the far better supermarket than Bora Bora.


Stock up with beer in the duty freestore, in Tonga it gets more expensive and I cannot recommend the local beers

Little Supermarket with the most important products, mainly from NZ – I found it rather expensive, but well sorted

Tonga – Neiafu

The market in Neiafu, finally buying fruit and vegetables is fun again 😉
The “village store” in Uiha, Haapai gives a good overview of what products are consumed.

Good choice on everyday produce market, prices are reasonable again, but you do pay a tourist price very often.

The lady in the corner near customs on the market or the sellers on Saturdays up the main street are good for some less touristic prices

Several chinese stores who sell everything up to cheese, butter and ham, but at their price!

Tonga – Haapai

When we were there the Market was being restored, so only little choice in the two chinese stores

New Zealand

favorite food store: Pack’n Save

buy as much as you can:

  • Wholemeal flours
  • Seeds for sprouts, pumpkin seeds, nuts
  • Cheese, Salami type sausage
  • Chocolate, chips


favorite food store: Max Value

Market Lautoka
The market is overwhelming… especially after 10 weeks without visiting one

Local Markets are sensational, super value, especially on what is in season

Liquor shop
But in the liquor store we are more than shocked about the prices..
  • Beer USD 3/0.75l bottle
  • Wine USD 9-10/0.75 l bottle
  • Spirits starting at around USD 60/bottle!!

buy as much as you can (especially when leaving to the Marshall Islands):

  • milk powder (USD 2.30/454 g)
  • sugar (USD 0.9/kg)
  • oats (USD 1/400g)
  • cookies, chips, bhuja peas


only some basic supplies, veggies from the Taiwanese garden (when you get up early enough)


only some basic supplies, hardly any fruit or veggies anywhere to be found

Marshall Islands – Majuro

…it happens that the veggie section in the Supermarket is rather empty and rotten

Fresh produce (mainly imported) is available especially after the ship comes in (every two weeks, then it stays in the shelfs until rotten…) but expensive to very expensive


  • Beer (at the Formosa) USD 25-30/24 cans tray
  • Wine from USD 8-10/bottle (some special deals, so no need to stock up in Fiji for the same price) or California Box wine for USD 29.-/5 liter
  • Vodka USD 7/bottle
  • Sugar USD 1.25/kg
  • Flour USD 11/12.5 kg
  • Rice USD 8-11/20 pound

Philippines – Davao

Everything produced in the Phillipines is great value and a lot cheaper than the products in Micronesia/Marshall Islands.

Local fresh produce market in Babak is great, bigger markets in Davao (we have not tried out)

Large supermarkets GMall and carry some Cheese, Meat, Sausage, special items like Dijon Mustard and even some affordable good quality chocolate

  • Beer USD 0.60/bottle or USD 18.50/ tray of 24x 0.33l
  • Wine from USD 8-10/bottle
  • Spirits less than USD 2/bottle for the normal Tanduay Rhum, better qualities and importated products also quite cheap
  • Cigarettes USD 1.-/pack for Phillipine Brand (People in Indonesia were very happy to get them as a gift)

Indonesia – Sorong and Ambon

Everything produced in Indonesia is great value.

Local fresh produce markets are excellent and super cheap.

Be aware that in many areas alcohol is only rarely found

  • Beer USD 50-55/ tray of 24x 0.5l Bintang Beer
  • Wine??
  • Spirit??

Malaysia – Langkawi

Langkawi is Duty Free Zone!!

That means the cheapest alcohol and chocolates!!!

  • Beer RG 50 (USD 12.5) / tray of 24x 0.32l Tiger Beer
  • Wine from RG 18 -20 / bottle
  • Spirit from RG 35 /litre
  • Chocolate from RG 5 / 100 g

Everything produced in Malaysia is great value.

Thailand – Phuket

favorite food store: Makro

Everything produced in Thailand is great value.

In the supermarket alcohol is more expensive than in Langkawi (TB 55-60/620 ml bottle), so stock up there! In the restaurant the difference is smaller depending on the restaurant (TB 80-120.-/620 ml bottle)

Pork is available again and there is even a good Thai “Weisswurst” from a butcher in Bangkok!

Provisioning - Where to buy what while sailing around the world
Provisioning Where to buy what while sailing around the world

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