Shopping in the TRNC
Shopping when we first came to North Cyprus was a nerve-wracking experience. There were no supermarkets so we went into the small markets with our bundle of paper money, confusing 100,000 notes with 10,000,000 notes, with no idea what peynir or ekmek were and struggle back to the hotel with all sorts of exotic products, some of which ended up straight in the bin.
Now there are supermarkets with UK foods, if you want to pay a premium for imported foods. The main supermarkets nearest to us are Tempo, Lemar and Astro. Astro is the furthest away from us, almost in the big city of Girne. We have found that even though Lemar products are possibly the cheapest, at the moment, and they have a slightly bigger range, our favourite supermarket is Tempo. This is mainly because the staff are friendly and helpful and they actually smile because they want to.
There is also a ï¿½freezer centreï¿½ called Bells where reasonably priced frozen food can be purchased. It is here that food cravings develop for things such as sausages, bacon and pork chops. It is quite easy to wander round this shop and end up taking bulging baskets of food to the till.
There are many smaller shops where surprisingly the prices are not much different from the main supermarkets. They have a very restricted range of products but have the main advantage of being open later that the 10pm closing hour of the supermarkets. One in particular, Behiï¿½ler, is still open at two in the morning! This is particularly useful when landing at Erï¿½an airport at 12 am in the morning.
We are not too keen on the Turkish wine we have drunk so far but have found the Red Cricova, a sparkling wine, to be more than palatable. In fact we tend to buy every bottle available when we can, just in case it goes out of fashion. This may seem unlikely but the North Cyprus beer, Gold Fassel, seems to appear in brewing cycles and if a person is not careful he could end up being forced to drink the fizzy Turkish mainland Efes.
Obviously local produce is cheaper than imported and has the advantage of being fresher. It takes a lot of getting used to the growing season, especially in the case of oranges which appear locally twice a year and outside these times become either unavailable or expensive. At one of the local restaurants we like, Mirabelleï¿½s, one of the waiters has an irritating habit of looking at us as if we are idiots when we order avocados and prawns and saying, ï¿½donï¿½t you know they are out of season?ï¿½
We have noticed over the last three years that there are now far more foods for the British, including even Chinese ingredients! Our aim is to stick to the local produce as much as possible, after all it is fresh, which is more than can be said about our supermarket chilled food in the UK, and of course it is cheaper.