Shopping for food in any country not your own can always be a bit daunting. I mean, not just fast food or restaurants, but buying raw food items so that you can cook for yourself. It’s always difficult to know where exactly to go, though. Sure there’s always the basic places in Thailand like 7-11 or the new small shops being opened by Lotus and Big C, but those just don’t cut it except for the bare basics.
The biggest problem is getting frustrated because not every store is going to have exactly what you’re looking for. Major supermarkets like Big C and Lotus are going to primarily cater towards the local population and not picky expats. I’m not saying they aren’t great places to shop, but you won’t find a lot of variety when it comes to Western or non-Thai foods.
Possibly the best place to go for imported items when shopping for food (Asian and Western) is going to be Foodland, off of Pattaya Klang Road. Foodland started out as a boutique supermarket in Bangkok that catered to primarily to embassy staff, but has grown into one of the best supermarkets in Thailand. If it’s European and you want it, they probably have it. Foodland is the place to go in Pattaya for deli and imported foods.
Foodland also has an excellent alcohol selection. 이미테이션
Friendship / Saenthip Supermarket
A new supermarket that I recently found out about is Friendship or Saenthip Supermarket, off of South Pattaya Road near the Tukcom electronics mall. Friendship is a great place to find some different snacks, sauces, or small foods from anywhere. The place is a fairly large mixture of everything and is definitely worth going to if you’re craving something a little different. It turns out that it’s fairly well known but not at the same time. Everyone who knows about it kind of assumes that everyone else already knows, so nothing is said. Parking can be a bit of a problem but once you’re in the area there’s other stuff to do. Making an afternoon of the visit isn’t a bad plan.
Big C Central Pattaya (Formerly Carrefour)
Big C in Central Pattaya is one of the more interesting supermarkets when shopping for food in Pattaya, Thailand. There are several different types of Big C shops in Pattaya; a mix of mini-marts to compete with 7-11 and traditional supermarkets for your usual food experience.
The minimarts are exactly what you would think of when a grocery store builds convenience stores. These shops have just enough fresh produce and meats to compete with 7-11, but not enough so that there would be no need to go to the main food shopping supermarkets in Pattaya. They are excellent to have around, especially if there’s one very close to where you live., as a great alternative to 7-11. Sometimes you just need more grocery than convenience related items.
Standard Big C supermarkets can be found in both North, South, and Central Pattaya with roughly the same items available in each. It is my opinion that the North and Central ones are the best, depending on your location. The North location is integrated into a large mall with a lot of other shops available.
Big C had always been seen as a lower end shopping experience compared to their main competitor, Tesco-Lotus. Their stores were always well stocked but with less expensive items and a more cluttered look. Big C tried to counter this image by purchasing the French hypermarket chain, Carrefour. Carrefour has always known as one of the top supermarkets in the world, with locations in the Middle East and Asia, and is well known by expats.