Food, clothing, and shelter are the most important things anyone can ever hope to have. Now before I go into a soliloquy on the essential elements in happy living, let’s nip it in the bud and just talk shop.
Yup. Shopping for food.
Man can’t live on bread alone — in Vietnam, banh mi and finding the best supermarket or grocery is on top of the list of any person. For a foreigner that’s used to the common brands in their country might find it difficult to find the same brands but believe me, you’ll get by. If all else fails, you can always raid the gourmet shops.
Those living in and out of District 7 will be happy to note that Lotte Mart at Bac Nam Road in D7 offers free shuttle service. There are two routes: Lotte Mart to Cantavil (D2) and Lotte Mart to Phu My Hung (D7). You won’t miss it because it’s a red bus amidst the sea of motorbikes. I’m sharing this here because I have searched the world wide web extensively and couldn’t get a link to the shuttle schedule.
Download the Lotte Mart Shuttle Schedule.
Or refer to Barijoe’s site where he made the schedule easier to view. 🙂 Thanks Barijoe for translating!
[as of February 2011, there are now 2 Lotte Marts: one in D7 and another in D11]
[received news that the Lotte Mart Bus Route D7-D2 has stopped – May 22, 2011]
There are, at the moment, two Lotte Marts, one in Quan/District 7 as mentioned above and another on 3 Thang 2 (3rd February) @ Ly Thong Kiet in Quan/District 11.
They are as different as night and day.
– On its own mall area;
– Free parking;
– There is a long walk between the parking lot and the most distant part of the store (fruits and vegetables)
– They have an affinity card;
– There are two floors – groceries/supermarket on the ground floor and ‘hardware’ on the second. To go between floors you have to cash out then store your purchases at the lockers near each entrance;
– Layout resembles those found in Western countries;
– Selection fairly wide;
– There are sub-stores within both Lotte areas AND countless small stores/stands outside the Lotte areas;
– Vegetable choices /quality are good;
– That walking will kill you
– 3 floors in a mall
– Upper 2 floors food/groceries and hardware/household goods are interconnected by in store escalators;
– Fruit and vegetable – excellent selection/very high quality/good condition;
– Fish – excellent selection/very high quality/good condition;
– Meat – excellent selection/very high quality/good condition;
– Choice of food stuffs are far better than Q/D 7 store;
– Pay parking, underground (VND3,000) free if Lotte purchase exceeds VND100,000;
– Excellent choice of Korean and Japanese foods stuffs (Floor 2 , behind escalators);
– Deeper stocking of products;
Both stores have wine/alcohol/beer sales areas
Hi Jay! Thanks for the information! Glad to know that we have options. Does Lotte Mart in D11 have shuttle service as well? Info on that would be great.
SaiGon Co-Op Supermarkets
There are around 10 Co-Op Marts in greater HCMC. They all have different characteristics, some are great, some are terrible, some shut earlier than they should.
BUT they are about 10% cheaper than most other chain supermarkets and they have an affinity card that results in annual cash refunds, birthday discounts and a few other goodies.
All have paid parking, some have parking out front which you can use, most times, for a quick in and out shopping.
The aisles are narrow, shelf allocations change too frequently, they have butcher and fish sections where they will prepare your choice of cuts. Selection is not as great as Lotte but the 10% lower pricing might be worth it to you.
Co-Op Marts are a nationwide (long) outfit with over 50 stores up and down the country – your SaiGon affinity card works all over.
Co-op Mart is large enough to have it’s own product lines which include bar soap, toothpaste, soap powder, certain food stuffs, dish washing liquid, etc. All are priced significantly below name brands.
Co-op also has beer, wine and alcohol in most stores.
The place to go for savings except for their fruit and veg sections which are, most of the time, not the greatest quality or selection. They do bake baguette bread (VND5,000) in the store.
For Coop Mart in D7, I’m pretty much satisfied with their vegetable selection. But then again, I don’t cook a whole lot so I wouldn’t really know all about that. I also like the fact that they have already cooked viands that you can take home.
Coop Mart aisles are real narrow, no? No two shopping carts can go through 1 aisle at the same time. And I just hate that sometimes they don’t open a lot of cashiers and you have to line up for a long time. And some customers cut you in line.
It’s more stress-free, at least for me, to shop in Lotte Mart or the nearest Fivi Mart.
Big C Supermarket
Out in the deepest suburb of AN LAC sits the 3C Supermarket. It is simply huge.
Hard to describe it’s precise location but if you head east along Hung Vuong, this becomes Hung Bang and when you’ve driven a fair way you hit the PHU LAM roundabout/traffic circle. Travel across this to almost the other side and this road is Hung Vuong – just carry on and this road becomes, imperceptibly, Kinh Duong Vuong.
Carrying on to the next traffic circle/roundabout you again take the exit almost opposite which is still Kinh Duong Vuong, past the Mien Tay Bus Station, through the toll gate (free for motorcycles) and then there is a traffic light.
This is the Ho Hoc Lam intersection where you turn right/north and the Big C is on the left. Hard to miss, it is very large.
It is reminiscent of a French super-supermarket as it has almost everything under it’s roof.
The fruit & vegetable selection is amazing, good quality and what a selection.
I think I’ve been to Big C Supermarket in Nha Trang. There’s a whole good selection there too I think. 🙂
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