Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Shopping in Brasil

Padaria; Supermercado; Small Mercado

Don't forget to click on the title for a relevant video clip.

Until recently, Brasilians did their weekly food shopping at various specialty stores. For meat, they would go to the local Açouger (a-soo-gay), butcher, for meats, the fruteria (froo-ta-ree-ah) for fresh produce, the Padaria (pa-dah-ree-ah) for fresh baked goods, and to the local mercado (mer-cah-doh) for everything else. Some Brasilians still do this. Now, in most cities, though, there are supermarkets or hipermercados, as they are called, which have everything you need in one location.

The hipermercados are as modern and up-to-date as our supermarkets and are mainly fashioned after Wal-Mart Supercenters. In fact, Wal-Mart is busy buying up smaller chains in all parts of Brasil and turning them into either Wal-Mart Supercenters or stores with the B-I-G Brand. Brasilians now have the opportunity to buy their appliances, clothes, housewares, and other dry goods right alongside their groceries.

I found myself going to these hipermercados often, as they helped me adjust to life in Brasil by giving me a feeling of home. However, I also enjoyed visiting the small local stores, such as the padarias (also known as panificadora (pan-ee-fee-ka-door-ah)), for fresh baked pastries and breads, or a quick snack on the run.

At the açouger, we could get fresh meat for our meals, and we had one, in particular, who had very good prices and very good quality meat. In Brasil, especially in the small towns we inhabited, the locals know the best places to buy bread and meat and vegetables. All you need to do is ask, and you’ll tap into the best that that area has to offer.

One other difference in shopping between America and Brasil is that no supermarket has a pharmacy inside. In Brasil, all farmacias (far-mah-cee-ahs) are either free-standing buildings, or they are shops adjacent to the markets in large shopping centers. So when you go to buy a bottle of aspirin, or alcohol, or bandaids, etc., you won’t find those items in the market.

Shopping in Brasil was a lot of fun for me, whether it was in the small individual stores, or big supermarkets. Next, I’ll share some information about products and compare prices between America and Brasil.

Until Then, Ciao!