Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On buying groceries in Bangalore

Considering the fact that we haven't been here very long I feel like I've written a lot about groceries. In New York I do a big shopping trip at Trader Joe's every two weeks, and supplement from local sources as needed, and sometimes that still feels like I'm always going to the store! Here, with the local markets so small and crowded, grocery shopping has actually started consuming even more of my time and thoughts!

Before I even arrived in India I knew that there were several grocery delivery services in Bangalore, so once we had our internet up and running I started looking for one that delivered to our neighborhood (a challenge in itself, since I'm still not sure which neighborhood we live in. Google maps says Mathikere, but if that's correct we're on the very edge of it. In fact, we appear to be on the edge of 3-4 different neighborhoods). It turned out I actually had choices! But it also turned out that I couldn't order until we had working cell phones, since a cell phone number was one of the required fields for ordering.

So I spent a week filling a shopping cart and looking for reviews of the companies I was considering using. Aside from the glowing testimonials on their own websites reviews were pretty thin on the ground-- perhaps because these services are new or not commonly used yet. And when my cell phone turned on yesterday I promptly placed an order with Big Basket. Why Big Basket? Well, they had a fairly large selection (including some organics!), come out to my corner of the city, and I read someplace that it was started by some former tech guys looking to go into business for themselves, which reminded me of my brother. So there you go: practicality and emotion, blended together, the basis of all good decisions! I requested delivery today between 10am and 1230, did my best to fill in my address, chose cash on delivery (LOVE this option!) and hit send.

Within 2 minutes I had a phone call (with a woman who spoke excellent English) confirming my address and landmark (Bangalore addresses are sufficiently confusing that giving a nearby landmark is standard practice. Actually I think this is standard in most of India, but I've only seen it in action here so far). Later I got text messages confirming my order, and telling me that it was packed, ready, and out for delivery.

This morning at 930am there was a knock on the door, and my groceries had arrived! The delivery guy was very polite, and also spoke good English. Here's a picture of most of  my order.


I got:

-2 kg spinach
-1 kg organic tomatoes
-1 kg organic carrots
-organic cauliflower
-cantaloupe
-avocado
-4 zucchini
-250g cilantro
-3 chermoya
-1 kg baby bananas
-2 kg sweet potatoes
-2 HUGE bags of garlic (I thought I was buying heads of garlic, not bags.  I think I have at least 30 heads of garlic now!)
-peanut butter
-nutella
-milk
-a can of gulab jamun, as an experiment
-yogurt (not pictured)
-1 kg boneless chicken (not pictured)
-1 kg cubed buffalo (also not pictured- and will clearly require a report of its own!)
-1 kg oatmeal
-toilet paper

Not a bad haul, right?? I don't have a clear sense of how Big Basket's prices compare to the local stores, but they seem reasonable to me based on what I have seen-- the whole lot I just bought cost about $39. Expensive stuff was the meat (buffalo was $3.25, chicken was $5), the peanut butter ($5!! and not a big jar), and the toilet paper ($4.75). I tried to get PB without hydrogenated oils, and I may have succeeded...hydrogenated oils aren't listed in the ingredients, and this PB cost more than the ones that did list it. So...maybe? We don't buy peanut butter at home since Liel is allergic, but we can't get alternate nut butters here, and so we're now leaving the remaining almond butter and sunflower seed butter that we brought for her and the rest of us are eating peanut butter. Anyway,  I now officially have a crush on Big Basket, and absolutely plan to keep ordering from them! Oh and it's probably obvious, but I'm not being paid to endorse them, or to write this review. Just posting to help out anyone else in Bangalore who is wondering which grocery delivery service to use. I can't speak to the others, but so far I love these guys!

2 comments:

Pusstat said...

You haz F.O.O.D.
What a find. This place has a wonderful selection AND they deliver. You may not have to slither down the narrow isles of the local markets all that often now.
I love reading your blog - as do alot of your buds from back home.

Oh...and yes, I want to hear more about the buffalo after you prepare it. I had a buffalo burger at Ted's once, but that's the extend of my buffalo experience. Except for the yarn I have from Buffalo Gold.
: D

battybp said...

Glad to see that it is all coming together. Hopefully the adventures from here on out will be good ones.