Dili - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

This, and internet speed, are the only thing that makes Dili a "hardship" post. Not as much choice in the grocery store, but meat and vegetables are pretty good. Bread is great, and so is the local coffee. - Aug 2021

Groceries are somewhat pricey since most products are imported from either Australia, Singapore, or China. The selections in the markets are improving all the time, which is good; but you can't always count on finding the items you were so excited to see on one trip to the grocery the next time you go there. You can finally find most of what you're looking for these days, although not in the huge variety that you may be used to in the States. - Sep 2017

It has improved greatly over the past year in terms of selection but prices are high. Pork and fish are good here but beef is definitely tough most of the time. Most produce is pretty seasonal and things like watermelon and bananas are average at best. Things like carrots, green beans, pumpkin, lettuce, avocados, onions, apples, grapes, cucumbers are generally available and very good. Other grocery items are becoming more available and we can usually find what we are looking for. We mainly buy things like flour, contact lens solution, cereal, some nuts and other baking items online. Long life milk is readily available now where it was not when I first arrived. There is a decent selection of cleaning products at most stores. There are some decent office stores but quality isn't what you would normally want. We tend to bring an extra suitcase on our trips and fill it up with bagels, cheese and other items we like. Cheese is available here but a little pricey. - May 2017

There are a number of supermarkets spread around town, with the best being Kmanek, Lita and Leader, offering a range of mainly imported goods (from all over), some fresh fruit and vegetables and some local products. Timor Plaza, the largest shopping center in the country, has just about everything you need. Sometimes you will be surprised by what you can find, sometimes you will be surprised by the price on offer (much more than you would expect) and sometimes you need to be careful with expiration dates, but overall most things are available.

There is at least one supermarket which will get you whatever you want from Singapore for a price. There are also several bakeries around town offering fresh bread, some specialty supermarkets that stock just about everything, like Pateo which imports almost all their goods from Portugal or a new store Qilina (spelling?) that offers organic products as well, at a price. Some more specialty items you can sometimes find at certain cafes or restaurants that sell them on the side, such as granola, fresh yogurt, hummus, etc.

There are also some OK butchers in town, but you will mostly find beef and pork there -- most of the chicken, mutton, lamb, goat and fish on offer in supermarkets is frozen, even though you will find chicken, fish and goat all over the country!

While there are scores of small fruit and vegetable markets around town, I shop at the big one, Taibesse, which is an adventure in itself, but offers lots of smiling faces, curious Timorese and great quality seasonal fruits and vegetables at cheap prices. The adventurous with a bit of Tetum can even find things like pomegranates and local almonds. - Sep 2016

Varies. Local products are cheaper. - Nov 2013

Fairly good and improving. Almost all food (except coffee and a few local fruits and veggies) here is imported from Australia, Portugal, China or Singapore. A few US imports are available. Food is expensive. Availability is generally good, but there are sporadic shortages of fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. An extra freezer is helpful for buying in bulk when items are available. Most fruits and veggies are available on a seasonable basis. There is a very limited amount of frozen and/or prepared foods. Health and beauty products, cleaning products, paper products and other household items are generally easily available. - Apr 2013

This is the bane of my existence. I would have no real reservations about Dili if it weren't for the grocery shopping. There are three main grocery stores in town. You really need to go to ALL THREE to find things you need. But you have to get good at remember what to buy at what store. One may have cream cheese or butter for 1.50 while it is 4.50 at the other. You have to be really careful about checking the expiration date on things as A LOT of things are expired. You can RARELY find yogurt and ice cream is really expensive. Kid snacks are non-existant aka fruit snacks, sting cheese etc. On the up side fresh fruits and veggies are plentiful and super cheap. You can eat extremely healthy for very little money. If you were a vegetarian this place would be awesome. I have had the hardest time with meat here. It all looks scary and I have yet to venture away from the whole chickens that I cook and they cut up and use in recipes. The detergents here are extremely perfumed and very hard on your clothes. Couple that with the hard water and, well just leave you JCrew and Anthropology clothes at home ;)There is no dry cleaners here either- AT ALL. Luckily embassy workers can use APO so we have a regular stream of grocery's from Amazon and Netgrocer. We all are members of Amazon prime so we don't pay shipping. If you don't get to use the APO-- bummer seriously that has saved me in the food department. If you get a consumables shipment jam pack it full of anything liquid you use because you can't ship them. Don't waste it on juice etc. you can get plenty of that here. No sunscreen, after-sun/ aloe, hairspray, nail polish, vitamins. Can get but is expensive: cookies, cake mix, frosting, bread mix's, ice cream. Small appliances are CRAZY expensive. I tried to get a hand mixer and they wanted 50 bucks! I waited until I went to Bali and got one for five dollars. - Mar 2010

There are several grociery stores in Dili and you can get anything you really NEED if you want to pay the price. Most goods are from Indonesia or Australia. Very few American brands. - Feb 2010

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