As you can imagine, grocery shopping is a whole different experience in Yerevan than in LA. It’s probably more like New York. For one, I don’t have a car here so it’s much less convenient. Also, there’s not a single Trader Joe’s in sight. I kind of miss strolling down the aisles and discovering yummy new things (not to mention the eggplant tahini wrap, among other things), but I do NOT miss the busy parking lot and spinning in circles to find a spot.
Here I have to take a 5-minute walk to SAS (kind of like a cross between Ralph’s and CVS) and on the way back I stop by a small local store where Gohar (above) sells the freshest fruits and vegetables. You tell her what you want and how many, and she picks it out and bags it for you. And if you happen to forget something, like I forgot lemons the other day, then it’s not a big hassle; you just walk back over and pick some up. Gohar has sort of become my neighborhood aunt since my mom knows her very well and has been shopping there for many years.
The selection at SAS is way less expansive than I hoped, and since things are written mostly in Russian and Armenia, it’s taking me a lot longer to figure out what I need. I can read Armenian, of course, but not as quickly as English. I’m hoping that will change after my 4-month stay. I once accidentally got tahn instead of milk and only realized after I poured it over my cereal — oops! I just have to be careful not to buy too many things at once since I have to carry them all back. The other day I made the mistake of getting too many water bottles and ended up walking back with weights that hurt my hands. I’ll just have to buy less and take more trips a week. So far my favorites are the tomatoes (they taste SO much better here), the ready made Russian beet salad at SAS, salted garbanzo beans (a healthy snack), the greens (a mix of cilantro, parsley, dill, etc), and apricot juice (fresher and tastier than American juices). I haven’t found avocados or quinoa yet, which would be nice, but I *think* I can live without them.