Grocery Shopping at Giant

One of the things I miss about Canada is grocery shopping. No, I don’t miss it specifically, but I sure as heck do miss the quality in the variety that you can find at almost any grocery store back home. You could go get groceries (good, healthy food), maybe buy a birthday card for someone, browse some clothes, and for the most part, it was all fresh food, and good quality products. You can go to one enormous store and get pretty much anything you want.

Here in Indonesia, they have… well, they sort of have that. They have Giant. Have you ever thought to yourself “Self, I would love to shop at Walmart more often, but I find that the stuff in their stores is too high in quality”? If so, Giant is the store for you. Giant is like Walmart’s sad, dirty orphan brother that grew up hoarding empty cans “because you can totally re-use these later!”

Without further adieu, I give you: a typical trip to Giant!

Daddy! Let's go to Giant!
Daddy! Let’s go to Giant!
It's this way, Daddy!... We admittedly go to the nicest Giant, it's in the only 'Western Style' mall in Bogor, called Botani Square.
It’s this way, Daddy!… We admittedly go to the nicest Giant, it’s in the only ‘Western Style’ mall in Bogor, called Botani Square.
So at the mall, they're finally installing their first elevator. To give you an idea about just how unsafe a career in construction here is, yes: that is a hand-made ladder, made out of bamboo scraps. And it's 150 feet off the ground.
So at the mall, they’re finally installing their first elevator. To give you an idea about just how unsafe a career in construction here is, yes: that is a hand-made ladder, made out of bamboo scraps. And it’s 150 feet off the ground.
OK, let's start this off with weird groceries: This is egg-flavored jam. It also costs like a dollar. I bet that it's just as disgusting as it sounds. I have no plan on finding out.
OK, let’s start this off with weird groceries: This is egg-flavored jam. It also costs like a dollar. I bet that it’s just as disgusting as it sounds. I have no plan on finding out.
This is an aisle full of instant noodles. There are three aisles that look exactly like this. EVERYONE here eats instant noodles. Mie Goreng in a bag for like 10 cents.
This is an aisle full of instant noodles. There are three aisles that look exactly like this. EVERYONE here eats instant noodles. Mie Goreng in a bag for like 10 cents.
To compare against the rice and noodle aisles: This is the bread section. VERY few people here eat bread. It's barely a thing. We had to buy our own breadmaker so that LittleB can eat soya and egg free bread in the morning.
To compare against the rice and noodle aisles: This is the bread section. VERY few people here eat bread. It’s barely a thing. We had to buy our own breadmaker so that LittleB can eat soya and egg free bread in the morning.
I hope you like rice, because it's the main food here. Aisles and aisles full of rice. TONS of different brands, too. I dunno... it all sort of just tastes like "white" to me, but I guess some people prefer the Bumblebee brand to the Snooty Non-Asian Chef brand?
I hope you like rice, because it’s the main food here. Aisles and aisles full of rice. TONS of different brands, too. I dunno… it all sort of just tastes like “white” to me, but I guess some people prefer the Bumblebee brand to the Snooty Non-Asian Chef brand?
One of the quirky Indonesian features are bags. EVERYTHING comes in bags. This is a bag of cooking oil, but you can get anything you want in super-sized bag-form: oil, laundry detergent, liquid sugar, ketchup, soya sauce... anything.
One of the quirky Indonesian features are bags. EVERYTHING comes in bags. This is a bag of cooking oil, but you can get anything you want in super-sized bag-form: oil, laundry detergent, liquid sugar, ketchup, soya sauce… anything.
In a country that's over 85% Muslim, pork really isn't a thing here. This is the pork section. Funny story: they only recently started carrying pork. I bought some ham whose barcode I guess wasn't yet in the system, and the very Muslim cashier refused to do a price check because she refused to touch the package. She had to call a manager, who used a paper towel to pick it up and take to the meat department to get a price.
In a country that’s over 85% Muslim, pork really isn’t a thing here. This is the pork section. Funny story: they only recently started carrying pork. I bought some ham whose barcode I guess wasn’t yet in the system, and the very Muslim cashier refused to do a price check because she refused to touch the package. She had to call a manager, who used a paper towel to pick it up and take to the meat department to get a price.
Ugh. These are some gross-ass meat balls. I have no idea if they're even meat. They taste like someone mixed barf with gelatin, and made a "meatball" out of that. Unfortunately, it's very popular: you see this stuff at street vendors EVERYWHERE.
Ugh. These are some gross-ass meat balls. I have no idea if they’re even meat. They taste like someone mixed barf with gelatin, and made a “meatball” out of that. Unfortunately, it’s very popular: you see this stuff at street vendors EVERYWHERE.
Oh yeah: they don't refrigerate eggs here. This is just a bunch of eggs... who knows how long they've been there. For all I know, that bottom layer of eggs has been in Indonesia longer than I have.
Oh yeah: they don’t refrigerate eggs here. This is just a bunch of eggs… who knows how long they’ve been there. For all I know, that bottom layer of eggs has been in Indonesia longer than I have.
Apparently, they don't refrigerate chickens here, either. This is just milk crates full of whole chickens. I took this photo at about 1PM, and I assume they'd been there since the store opened at 9AM. They were room-temperature when I touched them.... but they were on sale, so it's ok, right?
Apparently, they don’t refrigerate chickens here, either. This is just milk crates full of whole chickens. I took this photo at about 1PM, and I assume they’d been there since the store opened at 9AM. They were room-temperature when I touched them…. but they were on sale, so it’s ok, right?
This is a close up picture of our shopping cart, that J not only took herself, but insisted I put in this blog post. A picture about a shopping cart in a post about pictures taken from the shopping cart... she's so meta.
This is a close up picture of our shopping cart, that J not only took herself, but insisted I put in this blog post. A picture about a shopping cart in a post about pictures taken from the shopping cart… she’s so meta.
Here is an uncovered cooler full of Chicken Nuggets. OK, I lied, I have no idea if there is any chicken in those nuggets. It's like a box of Cracker Jax: you get a surprise in every serving! Hint: surprise is most likely salmonella.
Here is an uncovered cooler full of Chicken Nuggets. OK, I lied, I have no idea if there is any chicken in those nuggets. It’s like a box of Cracker Jax: you get a surprise in every serving! Hint: surprise is most likely salmonella.
Aw, god damn it. God damned Durians. They smell like a used diaper pulled off of a kid on a "peach-only" diet, and then electrocuted (the diaper, not the kid). Durians smell so bad, and so strongly, that if they're cutting Durians in the fruit section, you can smell it as soon as you enter the mall.
Aw, god damn it. God damned Durians. They smell like a used diaper pulled off of a kid on a “peach-only” diet, and then electrocuted (the diaper, not the kid). Durians smell so bad, and so strongly, that if they’re cutting Durians in the fruit section, you can smell it as soon as you enter the mall.
BEER! What's that? You can buy beer off the shelf in grocery stores in Indonesia, a country so anti-alcohol that they impose a 400% tax on any other liquor? Heck YES! The trade off: all of the beers you see in this picture taste like piss. All of the beer in Indonesia tastes like carbonated piss because Indonesian laws restrict beer sales to only beer brewed in Indonesia, and Indonesians have no frigging clue what they're doing in a brewery.
BEER! What’s that? You can buy beer off the shelf in grocery stores in Indonesia, a country so anti-alcohol that they impose a 400% tax on any other liquor? Heck YES! The trade off: all of the beers you see in this picture taste like piss. All of the beer in Indonesia tastes like carbonated piss because Indonesian laws restrict beer sales to only beer brewed in Indonesia, and Indonesians have no frigging clue what they’re doing in a brewery.
Haha, I had to include this... how often do you go to a toy section and see both the name brand AND it's cheap Chinese knockoff brand being sold side-by-side?!? Literally, they were right next to each other! Nerf: $9.99, Sol: $3.99
Haha, I had to include this… how often do you go to a toy section and see both the name brand AND it’s cheap Chinese knockoff brand being sold side-by-side?!? Literally, they were right next to each other! Nerf: $9.99, SDL: $3.99

Don’t take your local grocery store for granted!

-B

3 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping at Giant

  1. Yes we do take so much for granted. Just back from Cuba – ketchup and sweetener are scarce. Their idea of snacks are tons of candy but no cheesees, peanuts or pretzels. The only snacks they had were pringles at $4.55 a container and you had to get to the store early before the shelf was empty. No such thing as salad dressing either at the salad bar – mayo only and bottles of oil with hot peppers in them. Happy shopping.

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  2. Just a comment. Kim Cesare from Scotiabank Place is a friend of mine. She says hi. I have sent her some of your e-mails but she still hasn’t registered on your blog yet. I guess I will have to go over to her new place and do that for her. Bye for now.

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  3. Fantastic post! Having been in that particular Giant several times, I am glad your post showed many of the things that horrified me. Salmonella for sure – and most like Campylobacter in the mix!

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