FOOD!

18 09 2011

So I decided this week I would write a post dedicated to food and grocery shopping. Some of the most common questions people back home ask me are “What is the food like there?” and “Is everything really, really expensive?.” I figured the best way to tackle both of these questions is to start out by covering some basics of grocery shopping here in Oslo. I’ve posted some pictures of a few different places that I usually go to for groceries. I’m sure there are numerous other options in Oslo, but these are the ones that are the closest to where I am and also the most convenient. I should also mention that all of these stores are not only grocery stores, but sell health and beauty products, too.

For the most part, food in Norway isn’t too different from the US, at least when it comes to shopping for food. Of course, they have some things that are different,like their brown cheese, but if you don’t want to branch out and try different foods, you wouldn’t really have to.

The first store is called Bunnpris. The one I usually go to is located on our campus. Therefore, I usually don’t do full out grocery shopping there since it’s farther from my flat (I live two metro stops away from this part of campus), but I sometimes go there on days that I have class to grab some coffee or a snack. I also love the Bunnpris, because of the great cooler room they have! It’s basically a massive refrigerator and has tons of options for when thirst attacks. The Bunnpris is also interesting since it has a different “check out” method than the other stores; it’s all self-check out. At first it intimidated me, because it forces you to communicate with the employees, but after going a few times you get the swing of things. 🙂

A couple other stores I occasionally go to are the Rema 1000 and Kiwi. From what I’ve experienced they are quite similar. The Kiwi is right next to my  T-bane (metro) stop and the Rema 1000 is right by my apartment building.  They both are great when I just want to stop in and grab something quick and a few things are cheaper at them compared to the larger grocery store, too.

The last store is called ICA. It is located in the soccer stadium on the way from the T-bane to my apartment. This one is probably my favorite out of all of them – most likely because it is most like a grocery store in the US. It is larger than the other stores, and therefore offers more options and variety. I posted some pictures of the inside of this one so you can sort of see the size of it. Although it is larger than the other stores, it is on the smaller side compared to most US grocery stores.

All of these stores also have a place for you to recycle bottles and cans. I love this mainly because for every bottle or can you recycle, you get money to use in that store. When you recycle the bottles and cans, usually you will get 1 NOK per bottle unless they are the larger bottles, in which case you get 2,5 NOK. While that isn’t a whole lot of money considering most of the canned or bottled beverages cost at least 25 NOK, it’s still more money than you would get if you just threw them away. 🙂

Also, I never buy fruit or vegetables in the grocery stores. Not because of the quality or anything, but because it is way over priced. Instead, a friend showed me, back when I first got here, a place in Grønland that sells produce. Grønland is the more international part of town and you can often find things a lot cheaper there – especially the fruit and veggies. I can get half a dozen apples, half a dozen oranges, onions, peppers, and some potatoes for about $20, give or take depending on the actual weight. I’ve also heard from some people that the quality is much better here. I haven’t tried fruit from the grocery stores so I can’t say whether it’s better, but it definitely is good quality.

Quick note on buying beer or cider from these stores: Norway has some different rules when it comes to buying alcohol than in the US. Alcohol must be purchased before 8pm Mon-Fri, before 6pm on Saturdays, and you can’t purchase it on Sundays. Most places are closed on Sundays, anyways though.

As far as the cost of things go – yes, everything is really expensive compared to the States. I took note of the prices of a few things while I was in ICA the other day so people can compare; these are just the costs at that store and you might be able to find them a bit cheaper elsewhere, but from what I’ve noticed they are pretty close to the prices at other stores. Here’s the prices on a few things that I happened to see at ICA:

Dozen eggs: $6.50

1 liter of milk: $2.70

0.5 liter of beer: $4-5 (This definitely depends on what kind of beer you buy, but this would be a cheaper option. Also, this is only buying it in the store; it would be much higher if you bought it out at a bar or restaurant.)

About a dozen cookies (similar to Oreos): $4

Bag of chips: $4-5 (once again, depending on what kind)

5 pieces of gum: $2

Those are just a few random things and their prices. Below are some photos of the grocery stores and a couple of my favorite things to buy for fun snacks. 🙂

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