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Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

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Aussie
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Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

It seems like an apartment for a 6 day stay and eating in some of the time will be good value but just wondering how befuddled we will get working out what is what in supermarkets, will take a translation book but wondering if we will have much trouble getting basics. Also hear reports of some apartments having next to nothing in the way of kitchen utensils, anyone know from experience any apartments that do have the usual basics to prepare and eat simple meals, thanks folks

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

Hey there!

Let me assure you that you will not have any trouble in a COTO or DISCO Supermarket scattered everywhere in Buenos Aires. In fact , just by walking down the aisles you will see basically the same packaging that you can buy right here in one of our Aussie chains like woolies, coles...From your twinings English Breakfast tea to Kellness (Kellogs and Nestle) Muesli! I think you will love the supermarkets...They are very much layed out like ours including selling ALCOHOL under the one shop roof....just do not go to them between say 5:30pm and 8:00pm the lines are incredible.... :-) Umm pack your Vegemite and get ready to be bombarded by Jamon and Queso!! (I love it!)

I do have a couple of recommendations for apts etc...one in Palermo on Sanchez de Bustamante and Guemes and one in Recoleta on Quintana and Rodriguez Pena and a couple in Congreso around Plaza Congreso on San Jose etc. Actually these can all be searched by www.byt.com.ar. I have used BYT and others agencies and whilst some have had issues, I have been lucky to book online and get everything that it said etc... I can assure you that the above listed apartments all have sufficient kitchen utensils and quite good appliances in well appointed kitchens.

Try and learn some spanish if you can...just basics like numbers, introductions and basic food items..the conversations via jestures and animation are some of the best...Portenos (People from BA) are a fantastically warm and welcoming people that will help you along the way!

Suerte! and feel free to ask anymore questions!

Scunthorpe, United...
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2. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

Supermarkets will be no problems. In smaller shops, we found a brief statement that we didn't speak Spanish as we were English produced looks of panic. But if you know basic numbers it is amazing what can be achieved by a smile, pointing and indicating what you want. There were always delighted smiles back as we made ourselves understood.

Buenos Aires...
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3. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

I think if you are adventurous you will love the experience of staying in an apartment and "immersing" yourselves in BA .. more than the more gently coddled feeling of being in a hotel where they do everything for you.

Which is not bad, I happen to love a bit of coddling but it is fun to stay in apartments here.

Grocery stores and kioskos and all the small mini-marts carry the same thing. As Ant says, you will find quite a bit of familiar looking items .

Do a bit of Spanish study so you will know which sort of milk you want etc..

There are sections in most large supermarkets where they have all the imported stuff.. if you do not have diet restrictions, it will all be eaiser.

( imagine my son, living in Japan, not speaking/reading Japanese , not eating meat )

Depending on the budget/rental company, you may or may not have much in the way of kitchen utensils... and then even when you pay more and quite rightly expect it, you might not find much of anything.

Our first rental, was extremely expensive and had nothing .. and the few items there were, were cracked/ broken. But then we did not go with a well known agency ..

We were here to live so we bought things anyway but you can ask when you are dealing with the rental agency..

Same with towels etc .. some people think a tiny thin towel constitutes adequate bath supplies.. just ask questions ..

The ArtSuites hotel in Recoleta has a kitchenette, terraces, large living rooms, bedroom and bath and walk in closets.. this is a very nice alternative to just hotel or just apartment ..

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

We rented an apartment in Palermo through VRBO and absolutely loved it. The kitchen was equipped well enough, the place was spotless and we were within minutes of great restaurants. No problem at all buying groceries. I was very happy with our experience.

Boulder, Colorado
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5. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

We've done 2 extensive stays in BA........our Spanish is horrible....and have NEVER had a problem in the supermarket. You will feel right at home.

You are probably going to eat out once a day........breakfast is easy: cereal or medialunas.....and there are always ingredients for salads.

There are also many places like La Juvenal where you can buy prepared tortas,empanadas and fresh pasta.

Don't miss the experience of eating out in BA!

Branford...
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6. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

Some important points. They will ask you if you plan to pay by cash (efectivo) or credit card (tarjeta). Also if you want your groceries delivered to your apartment have the address written out on a piece of paper. They will drop them off later in the day and you give the delivery guy a nominal tip. Good if you plan to buy some bottles of beer and wine and other heavy stuff. You can also have it delivered to your hotel. I had a bunch of beer and snacks delivered to my hotel a number of times. Bell boy had brought it up to my room...didn't put it in the fridge though...tsk tsk.

As far as the rest of stuff in BA supers ...most things are self serve. The deli and bakery departments sometimes require you speak to someone but pointing to the item works. For Americans reading this is it good to remember that a kilo is a lot bigger than a pound. Also...there is usually a guy in the vegetable/fruit area who weighs and bags your produce and puts a sticker on it. They generally don't have a scale at the cash register. Remember to pay with big bills. Supermarkets are a great place to get smaller bills you will need to cabs and kiosks and small shops. The milk is kind of funky. It can come fresh and cold or boxed and ready for eternity. Plus it often comes in plastic bags and assumes you have a milk pitcher.

Most places have a prepared food section...you can get some good stuff you can eat cold or heat up in a micro or your oven. Search for a good deli/bakery in your immediate neighborhood. They are all over BA. That should be your source for medialunas for breakfast, and sandwiches de miga for snacks or a light lunch.....and many have empanadas you can heat up a bit and wash down with that beer that was mentioned earlier.

As was mentioned it is an adventure. Everywhere I traveled in the world...and a lot of places in the US I wound up in Supermarkets looking around. I also have a thing for Costcos much to my wifes chagrin.....but I digress.

Anyway don't worry about cooking cooking...plenty of take out places will deliver a complete meal to your door at a cost that is as much or less than what you would spend to cook it yourself....so eat in for sure...but check out the local delivery places.

Buenos Aires...
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7. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

Veritas has such great info !

And you can also go to places where they cook "home-cooked meals" and you bring them home with you. There is one in Recoleta on French that we love , Basau .

A bunch of ladies in there cooking all day and everything I have had has been delicious. I strongly recommend the Apple Pie :)

You can also use a ATM machine in most Disco supermarkets.

Veritas, I love markets in other countries too. I always come home with soaps and (as in last visit to Paris.. laundry detergents lol)

The downside of this is discovering something you love and finding out when you go home that they don't sell it there.

About deliveries and Take - out .. wherever you go, grab a take out menu and the little magnet for calling them. Most places will give you the magnet when you use them once... your apt might already have them.. one of ours had an entire refrigerator door covered in Take out menus.

I wondered if they were just collected over time or was the owner really such a non-cook.

Buenos Aires
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8. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

Grocery shopping in BsAs is easy and fun... except for the lines at the check out.! Buy extra packets of chimichurri spices to take home and enjoy at your next BBQ.

Punta del Este...
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9. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

Regarding the check-out lines that BACharla mentions . . . This used to be a terrible, unavoidable problem; when I first started coming, 14 years ago, it was the one thing that drove me crazy. But gradually, oh so gradually, the major grocery stores seem to have learned the concept of the "express line" for a maximum number of items. It varies from store to store, from 10 to 20 items, but it's there in most stores of any size (at least in Recoleta). For me, it's worth making two or three trips to the store over a couple of days, keeping the number of items below the maximum, just to use that fast line. Otherwise, in the normal lines, you can easily spend a half hour at check-out. Keep this in mind when shopping.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Grocery shopping if you don't speak spanish

"half hour at check out" ???

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Wow, seriously!? Is this at peak times?