Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Disappointing Visit to Serb Grocery Store - Ziper

Sombor's greenmarket has far fresher and tastier produce than any US grocery store. The tomatoes alone... oh wow. And compared to US farmer's markets, the prices are next to nothing. (Again, the tomatoes....wow.) But I can't live on tomatoes alone. So I went to small grocery stores in town center to stock up on anything else - canned goods, prepared foods, cheese, you know.

As you'd expect in a small neighborhood store, there wasn't much selection. Actually a weirdly large amount of the space was taken up up rows of cookies and candy. Not that we don't have those in the US, but they don't dominate such a high percent of groceries in the store. Also weird because the overwhelming majority of Serbs are THIN. You'd never guess these kids went anywhere near junk food.

The other rows were mainly liquids (waters, wide array of juices, soda, beer, etc), household cleaning products, and a whole bunch of meat, mainly sausages and beef.

Since I don't eat meat or candy or wheat-based food, I left the store with some water and juice and that's it. My husband warned me it would be tough to find food in Serbia, but this was tougher than I imagined it would be. I wasn't expecting gourmet food or foreign (Thai, Indian, etc) food. But I had thought there'd be things like canned chickpeas. And nobody warned me there's no cilantro apparently in most of Europe. (All those tomatoes and I can't make real salsa! Pain. Agony.)

So yesterday we took a taxi out of town to the Big Market. It's called Ziper, and it's in a Big glossy new building. I was very hopeful. The good news is, we bought a great mop and bucket. Plus, I found two tiny dusty jars of pasta sauce up high on a shelf. The bad news is, aside from this, that's about all the big store had that the tiny ones didn't. The big store essentially had precisely the same exact stock the small stores had, only more volume of that same exact stock. So if you really needed 5,000 bottles of the exact same water, you were in for a treat.

If you wanted variety, you need to drive to Belgrade. Or Hungary. So today we're getting up early to drive to Budapest for a shopping trip with friends. I'm excited!


Evolve said...

Similar food like what we're used to in North America can be found in MEGA MARKET.

The closest MEGA MARKET to SOMBOR (Serbs refer to it as RODIC mega market) is located in SUBOTICA (approximately 70 kms ~ 40 miles from you)

I was able to find cillantro, cury, tabasco sauce just to name a few!

Holly said...

I snuck cilantro seeds to my in-laws after they fell in love with Mexican food while here!
It was frustrating to try to cook Mexican while visiting in Zagreb, and impossible to cook good Chinese. The Chinese restaurant is passable, but not great.
My idea, if I had the money, would be to start a Mexian restaraunt over there, as most people from that area who tried it loved it, and it is certainly not represented!