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Old 12-23-2008, 04:57 AM   #31
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When I vacation I always try to get a place
where I can cook my meals - demanding that I
shop in local stores - Shopping in foreign markets brings us
closer to the culture and people living there - so much more
interesting than seeing the touristy spots and always dining
in restaurants.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:02 AM   #32
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I always go to the grocery while on vacation. Whether it is in a smalltown IGA in Florida or Marks & Spencers in London, I just love to wander around and check stuff out. I buy stuff in the markets to bring home. Before 9/11, I remember coming home from France with two carryons stuffed full of dijon, croissants, lardons, jams and chocolates. My husband thought for sure the little security beagle would sniff me out. I had French croissants for two months after the trip (I froze them when I got home and every Sunday we had some, it was great).

I really like seeing what is fresh and local in other places and seeing what people like to eat.
I think most foodies do.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:38 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by MexicoKaren View Post
I don't think there is a better way to get the feel of a community or country than to visit the place where the people buy their food...I love it. My husband is not quite as enthusiastic as I am, but I drag him along. During high tourist season here, it is fun to keep my eye out for confused "gringos" trying to navigate our local supermarket. I enjoy helping them find what they are looking for, e.g., garlic is "ajo,", shrimp is "camarones," etc. People helped me when I first got here - it's nice to pass it on.
Its funny you should mention this, because when I lived in philly, we found this great produce market with insanely cheap prices. But we felt like " confused gringos" in the ordering process. The way this store was organized, was that everything was prepackaged to sell for $1. ex. 8Lbs of onions for $1, 3 lbs of bananas for $1.... There was also a separate vegetable and fruit line. When we arrived for the first time and saw the crazy prices, we were amazed, but no where did it say things were prebagged, or that there were 2 separate lines. So, we got a line, and started pointing to tomatoes saying i want this one and that one, then tried ordering 2Lbs instead of the pre packaged 3 lbs , ordering fruit from thevegetable line....We heard the people in line behind us grumbling and mumbling, the person who worked there didnt speak much english , so that didnt help as well. Then, to top it off, I tried to pay in big bills. After this first bizarre experience, the next time we went in, we kinda stood back, and watched how things were done. WE then laughed realizing how much we probably annoyed everyone behind us in line the last time. And every time we went there afterwards, we too were the people inline getting annoyed at the newbies who didnt know what they were doing.

I havnt lived in philly in over 10 years, but to this day, when we visit, we still go back to this store and buy a few things, partially to get a good deal, and partially to hear people getting yelled at

*** even though the fruit and veggies were prebagged, You got so much for your money, even if u had to throw one or 2 out, you stil were getting a great deal.

larry
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:11 AM   #34
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Good story, Larry - isn't it strange how these "rules" exist, but no signs to explain them? Sometimes, you just have to stand and watch for awhile. Here in Mexico, the bakeries are all arranged in such a way that the goodies are on several aisles of open shelves, and you must go to the bakery counter and get a large round tray and a pair of tongs, then return to the special bakery cashier with your purchases to be bagged/boxed separately. It is a little less complicated than your produce story, but it does bear some watching before you dive in.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:55 AM   #35
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I always go because I'm always in search of new gluten/milk/corn free foods for my son. It's always exciting to find a new product he can have.
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:39 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by MexicoKaren View Post
Good story, Larry - isn't it strange how these "rules" exist, but no signs to explain them? Sometimes, you just have to stand and watch for awhile. Here in Mexico, the bakeries are all arranged in such a way that the goodies are on several aisles of open shelves, and you must go to the bakery counter and get a large round tray and a pair of tongs, then return to the special bakery cashier with your purchases to be bagged/boxed separately. It is a little less complicated than your produce story, but it does bear some watching before you dive in.
We have a Mexican bakery here in Cicero that does it that way, I like it better than walking around displays pointing to stuff and hoping they give you the one you want. Also, seems to be quicker as well.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:11 AM   #37
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not on Vacation exactly but sometimes interesting grocery items turn up in the strangest places.... Stoppped at the icky shop and bag in Camden trying to pick up some last minute provisions and WOW for a crud grocery store they have the most amazing ethnic food aisle... all sorts of interesting latin stuff and more... need to go there and brows a bit on my lunch break.... sometimes the crummy stores in the rough areas have really interesting stuff.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:30 AM   #38
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I agree. There is a large hispanic community a few towns over. The Supermarket chains are obviously aware of this. So going to those supermarkets offers a much larger variety of south and central american products then the same chain store 5 - 10 miles away. I make it a point to stop by there every so often just to try something new. And yeah, I went to school in philly and ben through Camden. Some spots are kinda rough.

But we have our share of those areas up here too
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