Istanbul - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Everything is available here, which makes that part of life pretty easy. There is a Costco equivalent with a few American brands or similar Turkish ones, and the main grocery stores are very well stocked. The things you can't get are some pre-made/packaged foods, ground coffee is not great, little cheese options outside of white feta/goat cheese, no Mexican spices, few or no pork products. Feminine products are available but the quality is very poor, there is no turkey meat, and finding produce out of season is more challenging (winters can get a little repetitious produce-wise for that reason). Those particular about paper products will find typical lesser quality toilet paper and paper towels. However, there are delicious and cheap spices, open air farmers' markets, and the more boutique (and expensive) grocery stores generally have the stuff that is harder to find (some pork, different cheese, US cookies, etc). When you do get produce it's delicious, and everything is very organic - you don't have to bleach anything, but you do have to wash a variety of bugs/slugs/sand off the produce. There is a small and inconsistent commissary that gets orders from Ankara every two months or so. You can request specific things in advance, so people put in orders for Thanksgiving turkeys and stuff like that. Overall grocery shopping was very easy. You can't drink the tap water, but we had a scheduled delivery set up for our filters. - Aug 2021

Nearly everything is available at a much lower price (60%) than the U.S. Some imported items are expensive (you can get Jif peanut butter, but it is 8 dollars a jar). There is an employee association store that stocks items from the military commissary in Ankara, and will pick up items from there by request. - Sep 2017

Fruits and veggies are very affordable. Meat is fresh, although most people buy it from the consulate shoppette. Fish is exceedingly expensive. For those who need a little taste of home (Oreos, wine, etc.), there is always the shoppette on the consulate compound (sorry, it's only open to government employees) or the BX/PX/commissary in Ankara which delivers larger orders to you via the Istanbul shoppette. - Oct 2010

Groceries nd household goods do not need to cost a lot if you learn to use TUrkish brands and shop like a Turk. Fancy markets like Migros cost more and Western goods and brands are, of course, luxury items. I, personally, live on 1/4 of my salary and live well. - Jan 2010

Very expensive especially for Western/imported items.$11 for a medium sized jar of Jif peanut butter - Jan 2010

The office has a great little store bringing meat, dairy, and American items from a military base. Most everything is available locally, including fantastic fruits and vegetables in season (and bread and sweets year round), but anything imported is expensive. - Dec 2009

Very expensive. The only exception is certain fruits and vegetables. Any pork product will run you over $100/kg. A kilo of beef will easily run you $10+ for an average quality cut. - Dec 2009

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