What it’s like to go grocery shopping in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Pepper buying produce at Mercury.

The usually simple task of getting groceries isn’t as easy for us here. We usually do one day of big shopping each weekend and may hit a store for a few additional items during the week.

We’re lucky since we live right downtown so can easily walk to four or five shops. So we bundle up, grab our small backpacks and a couple of reusable grocery bags and head down our six flights of stairs to tromps off to the stores. We don’t usually go to the State Department Store because the lines are long and they are pretty militant about not letting you into the grocery store with bags. So we head a few hundred meters off to either Extra or Good Price – our neighborhood import markets. We pick up the specialty items like refried beans, enchilada sauce, tortilla chips, imported beer, American sugar, chocolate chips and other random things not available in the other markets.

We’ll load that up and then head to Mercury market (the photo above is from their produce section) where we grab the veggies and few fruits we usually get. We’ll buy cheese, imported soda like Dr. Pepper, and some other items that are not usually in the Mongolian grocery stores. It is cash only and you buy from many individual sellers. Then we go next door to Minii to buy the rest of our staples including pasta, rice, cleaning products, paper goods, Gem draft, soy milk (if we have not picked it up elsewhere yet), and other items. Then we stomp back to our apartment across the icy sidewalks and crossing the chaotic traffic and up the six flights to the house.

We buy most of our meats from “Joel the meat guy” about once a month.

Our shopping usually takes about two hours.

zieak (2207 Posts)

Ryan "Zieak" McFarland dabbles. Beards. Making things. Travel. Genealogy. Frugality and excessiveness. Fitness and fatness. He's a PE teacher in India, usually calls Alaska home and is a happy father to two boys and the husband to a suddenly crafty wife.

2 thoughts on “What it’s like to go grocery shopping in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.