Apr 21 2011
One of the most surprising things about Phnom Penh is the quality of its supermarkets — unlike in many Asian capital cities there are a number of large centrally-located grocers that carry a wide range of both Western and Asian brands at reasonable prices.
Lucky – City Mall
Lucky is the largest supermarket chain in Phnom Penh, boasting outlets in few choice locations in the city such as Sorya and Sovanna Shopping Centre. Each store carries a wide range of products that are unique to that particular store, although all carry a large number of American brands.
The Lucky at City Mall is the largest in terms of size and offers the most complete shopping experience. With a wide range of Western goods and products from many different Asian countries, the selection at City Mall is good for general household shopping. What makes them the best overall shopping experience is the good selection of fresh meats and seafood, fruits and vegetables, bakery department and a well-stocked toiletries section. Some prefer more centrally-located Lucky outlets, but the wide, empty aisles at this one make for a peaceful shopping experience not found elsewhere.
Lucky Supermarket City Mall, Monireth Blvd, Phnom Penh. Open daily, 8:00-21:00.
Thai Huot is a small but well-stocked grocery that carries a wide range of French and other European products. Their cheese selection is quite good and they also have pates and other refrigerated French products. As far as pantry products, Thai Huot has a good selection of jams and tinned foods like cassoulet and duck confit. If it’s spices you’re after — particularly for the European-minded — Thai Huot is your place. They carry herbes de provence, mustard seeds, juniper berries and other spices not easily found elsewhere.
Thai Hout 99-105 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh T: (023) 724 623. Open daily 07:30-20:30. thaihuot.com
Bayon is the best grocery for dry goods and pantry supplies. Their selection of breakfast cereals is better than any other in Phnom Penh — they carry brands from the US, Germany, Egypt and more including Kelloggs, Post, Temmy’s, Hanhe, Familia, Nestle and Quaker. They also have a very large selection of snack foods, tinned foods, dried legumes and sweets. They carry many Singaporean, Japanese and Korean items and have good high-end products from around Asia. Their meat section is small but decent and although they have a good selection of vegetables, they are often old and overpriced, making Bayon less attractive for the all-round shopping experience.
Their staff also leaves a lot to be desired, even within a field that blank-eyed dullards tend to typically excel in. While holding a pen and notebook (and shopping), I was tailed by two employees for a while until one finally worked up the courage to tell me that “no writing” is allowed in their store.
Bayon Market 33-34 Street 114, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 881 266. Open daily, 8:00-21:00.
The Pencil Supercenter on Street 214 is the dark horse of the grocery shopping experience. Their collection of products is large, but seemingly random. It’s a good place to stock up on British pantry items and their collection of vinegars is surprisingly good. They also have a large selection of imported products like canned Italian tomatoes and America’s favourite, Kraft Dinner. The vegetable area is seriously lacking, but the fresh meats section is fairly well-stocked. Pencil is a good place to go if you don’t have a list, but just want to be surprised by all of the products you hadn’t previously realised that you needed.
Pencil also has a huge collection of inexpensive kitchen supplies and housewares upstairs.
Pencil Supercenter #15 Street 214, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 216 471. Open daily, 07:00-21:00.
Next week I’ll cover some specialty food stores in Phnom Penh.
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