As I see, vegetables and some kind of fruits are extremely expensive especially in Taipei. The latest example was guava for me. In supermarkets, guava bags are cheap, but small and untasty. But if buy one by one, it comes a little expensive.
Is there anyone here to say “no you are wrong, you can find best deals at …” or simply suggest somewhere to buy with good price?
I would also like to know where to buy nice vegetables.
Last time I wanted to cook some typical spanish food, I only found some tiny weeny potatoes and little tomatoes, and they were awfully expensive at the supermarket.
I’m planning to cook spanish omelette (with potatoes and onions), and I wouldn’t like to go bankrupt in the process. I have already assumed that olive oil will be horribly expensive here (And I’m not talking about italian mock-ups, I mean the REAL Olive Oil).
Vegies these days are expensive (apparently the highest price ever) not great because of typhoons and storms destroying much of the crops, or forcing farmers to harvest early. Some fruit is very expensive this year, such as mangoes, but pineapples are still okay. I bought a whole one for NT140 the other day.
In general there is no one best place. In my neighborhood different fruit sellers have different quality goods. One is great for oranges, another for pineapple.
For vegies I buy from organic shops. Except corn.
Potatoes are always going to be pricey. You need to deal with that as you aren’t in a big potato eating country.
The one good thing about Taiwan though is that prices do go back down when stuff is more available.
I usually get them from Costco and RT Mart. Your local fruitman or the lubiantan fruit stand usually rake a cracker over the coals price wise, plus they just buy their fruit from some central disty anyways, it isn’t like they are farmers and this is their bounty.
Costco is great for carrots, kiwis, potatoes, lettuce, greens, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes (when they are in stock, which is hardly ever these days) and watermelons. RT Mart is good for apples, papaya, bananas, grapes, a bunch of other veg and whatever else might get your fancy.
DD’s post is good, but just want to say that for fruit the freshest best quality is always from the local stalls, but again quality does vary depending on their supplier. And price-wise, no, they are comparable to supermarkets.
If your idea of great fruit and vegies is flash frozen imports then go to Costco.
Best of all is to start learning to adapt your palate and cooking to local conditions.
I hear ya. I need my peanut butter and jam sandwiches and not Skip to an early grave brand and melamine laced jelly. That said, they do make a wickedly good organic mulberry jam here. Delicious as a maple syrup substitute on pancakes.
I also find the fruit at local stalls to be fresh, with reasonable variety, and greater convenience. I may have misread Deuce’s post, but I assume that he meant that “crackers” (whites or visibly non-Taiwanese) are more frequently/easily cheated by vendors. My “honkey” friend swears that this is the case, and that he pays noticeably larger amounts than his wife for the same amount of fruit. He also warned me that at least two of our neighbourhood vendors were guilty of this practice. It is probably easy to cheat people if the prices are not explicitly stated and you don’t watch as they enter the cost/weight on the scale. My advice for ensuring fair fruit prices for local vendors is:
Keep updated on the average cost of fruit in your area. I ask local cooks or grandmas and they always seem to know, down to the NT.
If the prices are not posted on the bins, ask the boss (preferably in Taiwanese) for the cost of each fruit per jin1 (斤) and compare that price with what you have been told by trustworthy sources.
Watch closely (and make sure the boss sees you watching) when the fruit is weighed on the scale, ensuring that the scale is zeroed out when empty, that the boss enters the price per 斤 as stated/quoted, and that there is no blatant placing of the thumb on the scale.
If you went to a high-end supermarket like City Super, Breeze Super, Jason’s etc., of course you’re going to get sticker shock. The regular local supermarkets are cheaper, and better yet are the hypermarts (RTMart, Carrefour) and clubs (Costco), with the wet markets sometimes even cheaper, although certain veggies will be very expensive after periods of heavy rain or typhoons, like now.
If people state their location it would help; I know a decent spot in Donghu for cheap veggies but if you’re in Xindian that won’t be of use. Generally, the wet markets are best for cheap veggies, and if you see a crowd of people at a particular stall, they may be cheaper or better than others.
You can get decent olive oil here at reasonable prices if you know where to look. Iliada brand Kalamata olive oil, first cold press, is $275/liter at PNP, for instance. Olive oil is much pricier at high end supers. And whatever you do, don’t buy any locally bottled stuff.