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Friday, January 10, 2020

What Do Groceries Cost?

I am sometimes asked what it costs to live in Egypt, and get to explain that it depends on what you buy.  Generally, any local products are a true bargain by U.S. standards.  Our first stop upon arrival was to purchase a few groceries for the next few days.

We stopped in at the local "supermarket," Ragab Sons, and found these potatoes selling for 8.45 Egyptian Pounds (EGP) per kilogram.  That translates to 24 cents per pound.
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For some reason, sometimes you get a lot of dirt with your potatoes.  Shrink wrapped with dirt. That is usually not the case for supermarket potatoes.  Sounds odd but we get excited over washed potatoes for sale when we find them.  But they clean up OK with a little effort.
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Tomatoes were not so expensive.  They sell here for 5.95 EGP per kilo or 17 cents per pound.  That made this half dozen into a 20 cent purchase.
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You can probably beat these prices at the vegetable or fruit markets on the streets.  Here you see oranges going for a remarkably low 3.50 EGP per kilo - 10 cents per pound.  Local bananas have increased quite a bit over the past two years and now are a pretty standard 10 EGP per kilo or 28 cents per pound..
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Prices for most things have been rising steadily over the past few years.  These delicious rolls from our favorite bakery used to cost 1.5 EGP but are now up to 3.  That is  19 cents apiece.  They weigh in at a full five ounces each and are one of Tom's favorite reasons to come to Cairo.
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Yesterday we made a trip out to the Carrefour hypermarket in the Dandy Mall.
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This is a top-notch French market and they are celebrating their seventeenth anniversary operating in Egypt with several large stores in Cairo.  The anniversary sale is always quite a madhouse.  The big items on special this year are an array of large-screen televisions, mostly in the $400 - $700 range.  In this picture you will see five in three carts - there may be more!  It is hard to believe the number of shoppers that can move through these aisles.
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We both find it peculiar that televisions made in Korea and China and sold in Egypt are measured in inches.  There are no other inches to be found in this country!

Some imported "luxury" items can be quite expensive.  For instance, this tiny can of Fancy Feast turkey and giblets cat food goes for 21.75 EGP ($1.36) - that is equal to the price of 5 pounds of bananas.
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I certainly hope that our cats appreciate the treats they get from us during the winter - the other nine months they pretty much live on scraps.

Chicken for people is quite reasonable.  Boneless cut pieces of chicken thighs come pre-packaged at two pounds for 81.95 EGP or $2.57 per pound.  You can certainly beat that price in the street markets but you probably don't want to hear what you have to do to the bird. We always purchase our chicken (or any other meat ) prepared to cook.

Linda combined the chicken, some mushrooms and a little magic to produce this main dish for dinner tonight in the cast iron skillet that Terry gave us as a Christmas gift a few years ago.  We frequently have unusual items in our checked bags, from Jalapeno peppers to skillets.  There are a few things that are hard to find here.
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