I am the type of guy that walks into a grocery store, buys what I need and walks out. But in Thailand, sometimes it pays to take your time and see what is stocked.
There is 3 main types of stores. Western goods (think Villa Market), average Thai grocery stores (Tesco, Tops, Big C), and Fresh Markets.
- Western goods, place like Villa Market. These places also charge top dollar for items, so items are not cheap! This is not the place to go to for a loaf of bread, a quart of milk and some other items. These places generally have the spices needed other places will not have, stock up. The places may have a deli section with cheeses and meats, again, prices may be higher than other places.
- Average Thai grocery stores, places, like Tesco, decent prices and a good range of products. I use Tesco for fresh chicken, pork, and canned goods.
- Fresh Markets. These are open air markets, think fresh vegetables and fruit, even meats. These are the places for fresh veggys! Lower cost, normally, and fresh. Fresh markets are a great place for potatoes, carrots, radish, tomatoes, etc. Some open markets will have fresh pork, chicken, and even beef. Prices are very good.
Quality of the foods at the various places. First, meats here are free range, the chicken is large, the pork and beef is delicious. The veggys are mostly grown in the central area of Thailand.
I have told people that I buy 4 chicken quarters (leg and thigh attached) and when I cut them I can fit 4 thighs in a 12 inch pan. That is a large healthy chicken.