Belgian Grocery Stores…

Grocery Store (first week)-

The first trip was a disaster.  We rushed to the Colruyt grocery store right after Koen got home from work.  Side Note – grocery stores are only open until about 6pm and are NOT open on Sundays.  So, we get to the store and we have 30 minutes before closing time.  We run around the store with our cart trying to decipher the different brands, logos, and languages.  Long story short – we emerge from the store with about 15 items.  Barely any of the items are edible – except for the Special K bars and….ok I cant remember anything else edible.

Thankfully we only found 15 items (cleaners, garbage bags) because when we roll up to the checkout, they would not accept our US credit card.  This is not some funky credit card, this is a legit VISA card.  Nope, no dice…and there goes all our cash.  In addition, no bags…so we stumble to our car with our arms full.

I almost start to cry at the fear that…what if this is the only store?  Overly dramatic, but a thought nonetheless.  Koen and I look at each other in complete annoyance of the situation…and then thankfully, laugh as opposed to cry.

Grocery Store (sixth week and beyond)-

I finally now know how to shop in Ghent for groceries – only took 6 weeks.  In Belgium, you are categorized as a “Delhaize” person or a “Colruyt” person.  As seen from my comments above – I’m most definitely a “Delhaize” person.  But, it does not stop there – here it is common to go to 4595435 different stores for food.  So now…I actually go to 6 different stores a week for my groceries (talk about inefficient).  Here’s the deets:

1.  Himschoot Bakery – hands down the best baked bread I’ve ever had.  So, here we get bread.

2.  Starts with a “t” – mustard (not kidding – I go here strictly for their home-made mustard).  It’s amazing – you pick out a pot size and they spoon the fresh mustard (from the wooden keg where it is cooking) and then they cork it.

3.  Delhaize – your typical cereal, toilet paper, chicken

4.  Vismarkt – for any fish (salmon/cod/shrimps seem to be popular here)

5.  Produce! – fresh market for fruit and veggies

6.  Aula – cheese, salsa, and crackers

Whew, glad I don’t have a job.

*Oh and I have since bought large plastic shopping bags that I carry with me everywhere I go now…so I don’t look like a stupid American when I ask – why aren’t you bagging my groceries?

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5 responses

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  4. In almost all of the grocery stores you can get a bag if you ask for it, but you have to bag your groceries yourself (it’s what we’re used to :-) ) Also, they aren’t always free, because a lot of stores want to encourage people to bring their own bags (for the environment). But I bet you’ve figured all of that out by now :-) Just reading through your blog from the beginning, very interesting to read as a Belgian living in Ghent, seeing the city from an expat’s viewpoint :-)

    • Hi!

      I’m so glad a “gentenaar” (hopefully that is spelled correctly) has found my blog. I imagine it is interesting to see what expats notice in your hometown – I wish I could find a Milwaukee expat blog! Yes – I’ve figured out the grocery stores by now! I actually like the bringing your own bag thing for the environment, but I do miss having the groceries bagged (just a little luxury – ha)!

      Thanks for reading! If you know of any good restaurants/bars/things to do – please feel free to recommend! It’s always fun to go to locals favorite spots.

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