Granada, Nicaragua has two American-style
supermarkets with a version of just about anything you could want. There’s always a spice we can’t find or you may not have four types of beans and four brands of ketchup, but you’ll be able to find pretty much a version of everything you want in Granada.
If you buy your fresh produce in the American-style supermarket as opposed to “the market” or from a street vendor, you’ll probably pay two to three times more than you would at the market.
If you want a specific imported brand or item, you’ll probably only find it at the American-style supermarket and you’ll pay more in Granada than you pay in the States. For example, I wanted to make a cherry pie recently, and they had these little 16-ounce cans of cherry pie filling, which cost $8 here. Anything imported is going to be a lot more expensive than other items in Granada.
In addition to the supermarkets, there are mom and pop shops everywhere in Granada where you can get the basics. Living in Granada, Nicaragua is a lot like living in the States in the 1930s and 1940s where, on every street corner, there was a little grocery store and mom and dad live behind it or above it. I grew up in a small town in Vermont, and on the street corner, half a block from my mom and dad’s house, there was this little, tiny grocery store; not a huge supermarket you would find today, but you could always get your rice, beans, eggs, flour, snacks, candy bars and cokes. There are lots of those kinds of places on every street in Granada.
What we call “the market” here in Granada, but what North Americans think of more as a street market or farmer’s market (lots of individual stalls in an open area), has every sort of fresh fruit and vegetable you could think of and priced very, very inexpensively.
There’s one large “market” here in Granada that has expanded over the years and has now flowed out two or three blocks away from the central market itself. In Latin culture, there is usually a “Mercado”, or central, or farmer’s market, where everyone brings their produce. And they usually house it in some large building somewhere, sometimes a city block or so in size. Well, we have one of those, but Granada has grown so rapidly that there are dozens of these farmer’s market type booths that have spilled out of the market, onto the street, going two or three blocks in every direction.
In addition to this, in Granada there are people who have baskets or wagons pulled by horses who drive around the streets selling vegetables out of the backs of their carts. So, "the egg guy" will come by your house once a day. The milkman doesn’t have bottles of milk. Rather, he has a five-gallon pale of milk on the back of a horse drawn cart, and he rides his cart up and down the street yelling “leche, leche, leche” (“milk, milk, milk"). If you need a gallon or a cupful, you stop him, and he dips your cup or gallon in his pale and you’ve got fresh milk from a cow that was probably milked just two hours before.
If you don’t go to the “market’ or you don’t go to the grocery store in Granada, the people with the baskets or wagons come to you. They’ve got fresh flowers, mops, brooms, disinfectant, clothing, all being sold on the street. There’s an avocado woman who goes up and down the street and sells nothing but fresh avocados. There’s a woman who goes up and down the street and who sells only papayas and bananas. It’s fun.