Notes From Hairenik
July 11, 2005
I want to warn anyone shopping for food in central Yerevan to be sure to read all labels and prices very carefully, or you can easily be taken. Despite my usual heeding of price tags for food products, I was ripped off for about $3.00 (1400 dram) for a 200 gram piece of sausage, supposedly Russian. But in actuality it is just a very expensive piece of bologna. In fact the equivalent, domestic piece of meat is worth a fraction of the cost and in my opinion tastes the same if not better--I usually stick to meats made by "Geghard."

This incident occured just about an hour ago when my fiancée and I popped into Europa supermarket, located on St. Vartanants Street just near Sakharov Square, for something to eat as no other stores in the area were open. For some reason, few if not any of the meats displayed in their case have any prices per kilogram shown. We picked a piece of sausage that we later realized after paying and leaving the store was priced way too high for what it was. Going back to the store and asking for our money back did us no good, as about six employees including the manager, who must weigh about 300 pounds incidentally, refuted our claim that we were not aware of the actually cost of the meat (which we obviously weren't).

In any case, just be careful and never assume anything as I did this evening. That market mostly caters to foreigners who may not know any better or just do not care about how much things cost.

The no-name supermarket that I usually go to, which near the intersection of Republic (Alaverdi) and St. Vartanants Streets, is an excellent store and everything is fresh as well as the prices clearly labeled--their prices are the lowest I've seen anywhere. There's another small grocery store on Nalbandyan Street on the left as you go through Sakharov Square is also nice. SAS supermarkets on the corner of Mashdots and Amirian Streets as well as on Tumanian Street are expensive but are open 24 hours and have a very wide selection of liquors, breads, pastries, juices, canned goods, and so forth.

Panino, another shop on Mashdots, is also open 24 hours and is an even better store with has a better selection of foods, but also cheaper. They carry a full selection of Georgian wines that are at least a dollar cheaper than seen elsewhere (for example, the very expensive Russian food store across from the opera).

Last but not least I want to point out the Red Rooster market, which is on Pushkin Street near the Mashdots intersection, going in the direction of Saryan Street. This place has an excellent fresh meat selection, the best I have seen anywhere, as well as a wonderful grocery selection with many foreign stuff you cannot find elsewhere, including a fantastic tea selection. Prices are not too high considering the quality and that the meat is actually cut according to established European/American standards--in other words, there is not some guy in the back with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth pounding away randomly at a carcass segment lying on an old worn tree trunk turned butcher block with a dull axe. The meat is wrapped in cellophane and even seasoned, ready for the barbecue.

In any case, you're warned.

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Anonymous Nazarian said...
Can you get steak cuts like T-bone or round-eye? A couple of years ago when I was there the butchers had no idea about them.

Blogger Christian Garbis said...
At the "Red Rooster" grocery store you can. They also have Delmonico-rib-eye style steak cuts as well. I don't know about roudn-eye--is that they same as filet mignon? In any case, they should have what you're looking for, or I'm sure you can order how you want your meat cut.

Anonymous Knarik Meneshian said...
In regards to the Europa store, I strongly SUGGEST that it not be patronized.  They don't know how to treat customers!!!!!!   When my husband Murad and I went in there to buy some things (mostly things for some poor and orphaned kids in Gyumri), we were followed around the store as if we were shop-lifters.  After a few minutes of this, I turned around to the "super sleuth" and asked why he was following us around.  A big, fat guy in a black suit near the front of the store said in a very loud voice, "If you don't want to be followed around, then give us your purse!  We'll return it to you when you finish shopping."  

Murad and I walked past him and I dumped the items we were going to purchase on the counter.  I then turned to the big guy, looked him straight in the eyes, and said in a very loud voice, "Amoot dzez!  Gogheruh dook ek!"  ("Shame on you!  You are the thieves!")  Murad and I then walked out of the store shaking our heads in disgust.  

So, don't shop at Europa!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Christian Garbis the two stores you mentioned, one on Nalbandian and the other one on Alaverdi are owned by the Vehabar. :-)