The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt


Cairo Guide to High-End Supermarkets

Cairo Guide to High-End Supermarkets
    written by
    Melissa Howell

    With a population of
    over 17 million Egyptians, Cairo has a vast number of supermarkets spread out
    through the city. From neighbourhood grocery
    shops and vegetable stands to supermarket chains and hypermarkets, it can be
    difficult to determine where best to buy your food stuffs. While Cairo also has
    its share of budget supermarkets offering local products at almost wholesale
    prices, if you’re looking for imported produce, head to these high-end
    supermarket chains: Metro, Alfa and Seoudi. Here’s what you need to know:

    Metro Market

    With over twenty
    branches throughout Cairo, Metro Market is Egypt’s largest supermarket chain. Aside
    from causing a good deal of confusion when asking for directions– ‘station or shop?’–
    Metro Market offers local and imported groceries that are difficult to find at
    smaller markets. Larger branches, such as the Misr-Helwan Agricultural Road branch
    in Maadi, have great deli counters for sliced meat, fresh chicken, fish and
    cheese. You will find a good variety of locally produced and imported sandwich
    makings in a wide range of prices. Those working behind the counter often offer
    you a taste of your order to ensure satisfaction with your selection.

    Metro’s baking section
    is well-stocked with essential dessert ingredients that are sometimes difficult
    to find, such as flavour syrups and imported bake mixes. Their frozen food selection is also more
    comprehensive than that of their competition and if you’ve spent all your
    energy shopping and have lost the will to cook, Metro Market’s prepared food
    department serves up hot items like brown rice with almonds, roast chicken and
    macaroni for a quick and easy meal. Dips
    such as hummus, tehina and baba ghanough are available next to a selection of
    pickled vegetables, perfect for party food.

    However, Metro’s
    produce tends to be overpriced when compared to local vegetable shops and often
    overripe or poorly handled. If you’re
    looking for a specific shape of imported pasta, cereals or ground coffee beans;
    Metro has you covered.  

    Seoudi Market

    Shopping at Seoudi
    Market is a much more intimate deli experience. It doesn’t have the atmosphere of a
    large chain the way Metro Market does. Seoudi has fewer branches that are generally smaller than those of their competitors. This inevitably means that Seoudi’s stock is
    more limited and they are prone to running out of certain items occasionally,
    but you will also find it comparatively cheaper than Metro and Alfa.  

    Seoudi Market normally
    has a great selection of fresh herbs, organic milk such as Dina Farms, Ocean
    Spray Juice, and fresh cherries and strawberries. The shop also has a winning bakery, where fresh
    bread is baked twice daily and far better than the bread and savoury pastry of Metro
    and Alpha. Seoudi is definitely the best
    spot for value amongst Cairo’s major supermarkets, unless you’re in search of a
    rare food item, in which case; head to Alfa Market.

    Alfa Market:

    Alfa Market is so more
    of a hypermarket than a grocery store, where you’ll find everything from food
    to stationary items, kitchen supplies and even sporting goods. You can pretty much furnish your whole kitchen with one shopping trip to Alfa.

    The supermarket has a
    wide selection of imported food items and cleaning supplies that can get pretty
    pricey. You’ll find the local brands too, but should you order delivery; be
    sure to specify your preference or you’re likely to be paying a hefty price
    difference. Still, Alfa’s selection of
    specialty items such as dried seaweed, Hoisin sauce and other ingredients for
    Asian cuisine make it a good place for more exotic finds. Their butcher counter is equally impressive: an
    order of minced meat is usually ground to order from a thick fillet of beef.

    Nearly any household
    or kitchen appliance is available at Alpha Market, but not in the greatest
    selection. Your choice is often limited
    to either a lower quality or a really expensive brand, with no mid-range
    appliances available. The supermarket
    also has a wide range of flatware, glasses, and food storage containers at moderate
    prices. TVs, computer screens and sound systems are available in the Zamalek
    branch, while the Maadi Corniche branch has a good collection of sports goods,
    equipment and beach toys.

    Alfa also has a
    selection of midrange sheets, towels, clothes, and some sporting goods.   Although they won’t have the best bargains in
    town, the convenience of having everything available under one roof can save
    you a lot of hassle.

    If you’re more
    interested in price than imported luxury items, stay tuned to our upcoming
    guide to the Best in Budget Supermarkets in Cairo.