Buying Groceries in Marrakech
That quote pretty much sums up why the first thing I like to do in a new place is take a trip to the local grocery store. For the most part everything is the same (other than the language on the packaging and signage) but a few things are slightly different. It's in those little differences and quirks that you can begin to see the culture of the place you're visiting.
Wandering through the store and picking up a few snacks to have on hand is a fun combination of guessing game and scavenger hunt. Something as basic as getting groceries becomes new and exciting as soon as you can't read the labels on anything. I have actually become so good at guessing what foods are based entirely on the pictures on the packaging that I'm considering adding it to my resume.
I thought it might be useful to do a series of posts about what it's like to shop in various countries and the prices for some things we normally buy. Keep in mind that we usually make a meal or two a day when traveling and have two small children - our grocery list tends to reflect that.
A special thanks to Sara Amil for checking the prices in Morocco (we had already left the area when I had this idea).
Food is everywhere in Marrakech and finding a corner store or food stand is not at all difficult especially if you're in or around the medina (TIP: try the fresh juices at the juice carts for 4 MAD). But sometimes it's easier to go out and find a full-blown grocery store to get everything you need all at once. We had a particularly difficult time finding diapers elsewhere so that was our main reason for seeking out a bigger store. The one we went to most often was the Carrefour market in a more modern part of town called Gueliz.
It's also good to note that if at some point you get tired of eating tagines and traditional Moroccan food at some point during your stay there are plenty of places with less traditional food on the walk from the medina to the shopping center where the Carrefour is located (including the only Starbucks in Marrakech if you're interested - more on that here).
On to the groceries, here are some prices you can expect for common items (Updated February 2018)
It might be helpful to keep in mind that at the time this was written the exchange rate was 9 MAD to 1 USD and for my US friends, 1 Kg is 2.3lbs.
- 12 Eggs - 17 MAD
- 1 Liter Milk - 7.25 MAD
- 1 Single Serve Yogurt - 3 MAD
- 1 Small Wheel of Brie - 8 MAD
- 200g Butter - 16 MAD
- 1 kg Chicken Breast - 51.33 MAD
- 1 Loaf Sandwich Bread - 7.33 MAD
- 1 kg Flour - 6 MAD
- 1 kg Sugar - 7 MAD
- 1 kg Bananas - 9.67 MAD
- 1 kg Potatoes - 4 MAD
- 30 Diapers - 40 MAD
- 1 Chocolate Bar - 12 MAD
- 1.5 L Bottle of Water - 5.17 MAD
In addition to all of the normal things, you'll also find a beautiful selection of bulk spices and freshly cured olives (which my girls basically lived on while we were there). All in all, getting groceries in Marrakech was excellent (and about gave me a sticker shock induced heart attack when we got back to Europe).