When I was on my backpacking trip last year, I ate out for pretty much every meal. When you stay in a guesthouse or hotel, there is usually not too much opportunity for cooking, and in southeast Asia it was cheaper to eat food from the street anyway. Now that I am living in Mexico, I can’t afford to eat out every day, but nor would I want to. I quite enjoy the process of finding places to do my food shopping, trying out local ingredients, and cooking for myself.
And what’s even better – the food here is so darn cheap. Or at least in comparison to London, my home city that has some of the highest food prices of anywhere in the world. But what does the food here actually cost? Well I am just back from the market and the supermarket, and I have documented every little bit of my spending for you.
The first place I headed to was La Merced – the most famous market in all of the city that sells virtually everything you could wish for. When I first visited this market, it was Christmas Eve and everybody was buying food for Christmas dinner as well as Christmas presents. There were so many people, I couldn’t find my way around, and it was pure hell. Now I am getting a little more used to it and I actually choose to buy my veggies from here because there are so many sellers to choose from and the prices cannot be beaten.
Some of my veggies from La Merced.
I don’t buy everything in the market though. Afterwards, I took my shopping bag to my local supermarket, Soriana, where I purchased staples like pasta and cream.
So here are the prices:
Food from La Merced
1 kilo of tomatoes - 5 pesos; £0.23; $0.38
1 cabbage – 10 pesos; £0.45; $0.76
1 cucumber – 4 pesos; £0.18; $0.30
½ kilo of avocadoes – 8.50 pesos; £0.39; $0.64
1 kilo of onions – 9 pesos; £0.41; $0.68
1 kilo of potato – 10 pesos; £0.45; $0.76
¼ kilo of chilies – 5 pesos; £0.23; $0.38
½ kilo of limes – 18 pesos; £0.82; $1.36
A big bunch of parsley and coriander – 8 pesos; £0.36; $0.60
And from Soriana:
10 litres of water – 26 pesos; £1.18; $1.97
Cappelini pasta – 10.80 pesos; £ 0.49; $0.82
Corn tortillas (800g) – 12.50 pesos; £0.57; $0.94
12 eggs – 26.90 pesos; £1.22; $2.03
Frozen spinach (500g) – 13.90 pesos; £0.63; $1.05
Cream (200ml) – 9.30 pesos; £0.42; $0.70
Sachet of peach ice tea mix – 3.90 pesos; £0.18; $0.29
Oaxaca Cheese (220g) - 31.34 pesos; £1.42; $2.37
Pasta sauce(big jar) - 18.90 pesos; £0.86; $1.43
For all of that food, I spent a total of 231.10 pesos, £10.50, or $17.47. However you slice it, that is a grocery shopping bargain. And with all that food, I can make guacamole and mop it up with tortillas, I can make my potato and cabbage curry, and I can make Huevos Mexicanos for breakfast each morning. Hooray for food.