Since turning 30, my reasons to be excited shifted from shoe sales to home center sales, from 50% off Debenhams to 50% off laundry detergents. What can I say? I’ve officially become the “tita” who unabashedly ooohs and ahhhhs with delight when the monthly announcement of promotions arrive from local grocery stores. I throroughly read through the pamphlets and select the best deals before I wheel in into the shop. And let’s all admit it, it’s so much easier to shop around with a trolley than an arm full of paper bags. 😉
I’d like to think that I’m not alone in this delicious quest, thus let me shine the light on the Top 5 Supermarkets in Riyadh that give us the best bangs for our buck. Truth be told, most of them do have periodical promotions that you should be on the lookout for. This list is by no means exhaustive of good, better and best…I think there’s a lot of factors that go into why someone shops where they shop: location, accessibility, availabilty of goods, brands offered, price range and service. But based on my experience of these brands, these are my Top 5.
I’ve always thought why it was called “Panda” back in the day considering there is no letter “P” in the Arabic alphabet nor were there any pandas around Saudi Arabia. And take a moment to imagine a literal, “hyper panda,” ain’t that a wild thought? 😀 Before it became HyperPanda, it was called Aziziah Panda. Taxi drivers who have been here for more than 20 years still know this term however, the newbies do not. Anyway, as of date there is a HyperPanda in almost every district of Riyadh and they come complete with an electronics section that is competitive with other appliance-based stores. They have had ridiculous promotions that will compel you to buy (like three rolls of aluminum foil for only 12SR) and cooking oil and/or rice for only 5SR. Apart from that, I am satisfied with their fruits and vegetables section that are decently priced. Their fish and meat selections aren’t too extensive but they have the basics covered. I would mainly go to HyperPanda for the good prices on detergent, toiletries and canned/pantry goods which are often on sale. On another note, they’re one of the first supermarkets I knew of who employed female cashiers and disabled people to work in their stores.
Check out this viral video that went around last year in a HyperPanda Supermarket, highlighting the love for Saudi Arabia:
Inside Riyadh Gallery
King Khalid Rd, Hitteen
Nasriyah, Al Mather
Rimal Mall, Exit 16…and many, many more!
Previously known as Safeway, this American-inspired establishment is popular among the expats for being one of the first to showcase imported items on their racks. It’s built up quite a reputation to be a bit elitist when it comes to products and prices but I’d say that’s just quality speaking. They are home to several imported names and have their own dedicated Organic Food section (not just an aisle). In recent years, they have redesigned their stores to a new look and floor plan that feels more convenient and logical for the consumers. Their fresh produce is always clean and arranged so well and there isn’t a foul smell to be sniffed, even in the fresh seafood section. Tamimi is the place I go to for fresh, good greens, a large selection of fruits and really good steak. Contrary to the image of Tamimi being pricey, they’re actually competitive when it comes to many mainstream brands like those of milk and snacks. They would also launch ocassional promotions on produce, fish and select grocery items.
King Fahad Branch Rd.
Al Mather, Arcadia Plaza
Inside Sahara Mall
Oruba Rd…and many more!
Step into Lulu Hyper Market and be greeted by an predominantly Asian crowd. This Indian-owned conglomerate is a revered brand by the Asian expat community for carrying an extensive selection of ingredients native to the Asian countries like India, Philippines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. If you want to be able to cook a taste of your homeland here in Riyadh, most of what you’ll be needing can be found in Lulu. And, if you don’t feel like cooking at all, they have their very own Cooked Food sections situated inside the actual grocery store itself. Just point and pay for any Filipino or Indian food that you want. There’s even a salad bar and dessert aisle with packed food ready for consumption. Also, as the shawarma afficionado that I am, I can tell you that Lulu is one of the few places where you can find decent shawarma being sold before it’s usual 5PM.
Murabba, Avenue Mall
Khurais Branch Rd.
Al Jazera Markets
Al Jazera is also one of the classic names in the grocery store game. Their main branch in Suleimanya is well-known with old-school Riyadhizens. They carry a balanced selection of local, international and Asian goods as well. It’s also a one-stop shopping center for your gifts, toys and apparel needs. If memory serves me correctly, I got my first Barbie doll in Riyadh in an Al Jazera supermarket. As of date, the company has undergone a rebranding featuring a new logo and a new look that aims to appeal to the new generation. They have also launched a new branch in the Al Ghadeer district and it’s looking forward to expanding more.
Musa Ibn Nasr St., Suleimaniyah
Al Ghadeer District
Al Jazera Express at Mousa Center, Olaya
How can I describe Danube HyperMarket? Extravagant. Huge. Massive. I say that with respect folks. Whenever I’m in Danube, I’m agape with how much items they have stacked up in tall, almost unreachable aisles. Some of which, are adorned by lights or promotional multimedia that just grabs your attention left and right. Seriously, I don’t know how other customers are able to reach on those top shelves. Or are they just there for display? If you’re looking for a superwide selection of grocery goodies, Danube has a lot of diverse suppliers especially for the imported brands, including a dedicated store for organic items. They also have a big section for their kitchenware and home decor and their fresh produce area is impressive as well. Prices are a tad bit higher compared to their local competitors but I think that’s the tradeoff for the shopping experience and ambience that they offer. They even have their own self-checkout counter. If you can’t stand the long lines, you can go ahead and do the checkout yourself…pretty cool and high-tech!
Inside Panorama Mall
Inside Hayat Mall
Anas Ibn Malik Rd, Al Malqa
I know there’s a whole handful of other grocery supermarkets out there so if I haven’t included your favorite one here just yet, tell me and I’ll write them altogether in a new list. Until then, happy shopping!