Thursday, 12 January 2012


I have been asked about grocery shopping in Moscow. One of the first things on the mind of the new arrival in any city – where to buy food and toilet paper.

I knew the days of food queues and limited choice were over, but there was still lingering apprehension about what we would, or, more importantly, would not find in the shops. I needn’t have worried. Staples are in abundance, and even in the midst of a Russian winter I am able to buy pineapple, grapes and bananas.

Some items, I assume not routinely eaten by Muscovites, can be a challenge and require hunting. I finally tracked down some tofu in an Indian Spice Shop at Sukarevskaya. 

On the other hand, quite unexpected foodstuffs turn up. The Azbooka vyekoosa supermarket round the corner from our apartment has Australian Weetbix on its shelves. They evidently don’t know what to make of them as the packets are stocked with the dry biscuits, at the other end of the store from the breakfast cereals. Azbooka vyekoosa, by the way, looks much better written in Cyrillic – this is a supermarket chain and the name translates to, as far as I can work out, something like ‘the Alphabet of Taste’.

On arrival in Moscow (now 8 weeks ago – it somehow seems longer), we conveniently moved in to the apartment previously occupied by Wendy’s predecessor at work. Prior to her departure, Jen gave us a quick orientation of the neighbourhood, which included pointing out the nearest supermarkets. It didn’t take me long to realise that, being within a couple of kilometres of the city centre, these were not cheap. They looked like boutique supermarkets. There seemed to be almost as many staff as customers.

The ultimate boutique supermarket - Yeliseev's on Tverskaya (note Ded Moroz and Snegarochka)

Another view of Yeliseev's

 Since settling in, one of my on-going tasks has been to locate more reasonably priced supermarkets. As we have no car, they also have to be accessible by metro and not so far away that I would buckle under the weight of a backpack full of groceries.

Fresh fish anyone? Last time I looked this supermarket at Sokolniki appeared to have closed down.
For other expats who may also be seeking reasonably priced and large supermarkets accessible without a car, here are the two I most often use: 

·         The Metropolis mall supermarket. Metro station Volkovskaya (green line 2). Convenient for me as it’s only a few metro stops away without the need to change trains.

·         The Ashan mall north of Marina Rosha metro station. Walk about 500 metres north of the station along Sheremetskaya Ulitsa - the mall is on the right after the railway bridge. This supermarket is very large. Marina Rosha is a fairly new station and is not on older metro maps – the line runs north of Tsvetnoy Bulvar (which is on grey line 9).
The Ashan supermarket near Marina Rosha. OK, its just a picture of a boring supermarket - but that's the point. Muscovites shop in boring supermarkets and push crippled shopping trollies too...
...and queue at boring check outs. Just like everyone else.

       By far my favourite place to shop is an old-fashioned ‘mall’ near Ismalovskaya Metro Station, but I’ll give that a post to itself later.

If anyone reading this post knows of any other good supermarkets close to the Metro, I’d love to hear about them.


  1. An interesting insight into grocery shopping. It seems Moscow has come a long way since the 1990s in terms of availability and choice!

  2. You may want to try Перекресток (Perekryostok) for grocery shopping. It's a middle class supermarkets chain. Nothing fancy is there, just basic stuff. This one is closest to Mayakovskaya:

    1. Many thanks Evgeny. I actually stumbled on this same supermarket a few days ago while out exploring. It's quite a good one, though much smaller than the Metropolis supermarket. It's also further for me to walk (if I don't count time spent on the metro). The associated mall does have a good little shop selling light bulbs though.