Grocery prices in Thailand at the time of this writing are reasonable compared to more expensive Western countries, but not as cheap as the Philippines.
This post will give you an idea on grocery prices specific to Hua Hin – an expat and retiree haven about two hours southwest of Bangkok. (Though Bangkok grocery prices are similar.)
For us, groceries are usually the second or third highest monthly expense, after lodging, travel costs or charity.
Street food is so cheap that we actually haven’t cooked one single meal in the two weeks we’ve been here so far. We also have a sparse kitchen in our rental this month that is not exactly set up for gourmet cooking.
But I’ve told husband Theo, I would come back here and stay longer than one month, and one of many reasons is because it’s affordable, and there is abundance.
You can find virtually anything you want on grocery store shelves. This is in part because of a large Western expat community, and also because the royal family has a summer/beach palace here. I’m going to guess the king’s massive staff is accustomed to an abundant, varied selection of goods.
At the time of this writing, one U.S. dollar equals 34 baht. For quick conversions in my head in stores, I multiply by three to get a basic idea of the cost in dollars.
Tap to open the picture to show prices in a new window, or just pinch to zoom.
All prices below are from western-style supermarkets, not open-air markets — except for the fish. That we bought where the boats come into the river.
Unlike the U.S., Thailand uses the metric system. A kilo is 2.2 pounds.
Hua Hin grocery prices
Beef is expensive, chicken is cheap, seafood is fresh and cheap.
Beef: a sirloin steak will set you back $24.65 (820 bath) a kilo! That’s roughly $11.20 a pound.
‘Premium’ ground beef: 460 baht a kilo, which works out to about $6.15 a pound.
Chicken is way cheaper. Wings are about $2 a pound in big sale bins in the middle of the store.
Shoppers wear plastic gloves and use tongs for self-serve selection (note the picture below).
Fish can be bought where the fishermen come in. Prawns, for example, cost about $6 a pound — for fresh jumbo prawns!
Cheese is expensive, yogurt can be relatively cheap, milk is reasonable.
Cheese prices are high across the board, but you can find sales. Around the equivalent of a half pound of mass-produced mozzarella or cheddar will cost about $5 – $6. The sale price pictured below shows $4.25 for 250 grams.
Quality imported cheeses start at $15 a pound.
Yogurt can be relatively cheap. I like a ‘no sugar added’ yogurt for 53 bath, or $1.56, with three servings per container.
Milk is reasonable. A quart can run the equivalent of around $1.15 on sale.
Speaking of sales — here’s a budget slow travel tip: look for the discount area!
Theo found a two-liter container of milk (more than a half gallon, pictured above) for 66 baht, or $1.94. The original price was $2.61 – a 67 cent savings.
Hey, it adds up!
Even though we haven’t cooked ‘at home’, I took some pictures of vegetable prices in the grocery store to give you an idea.
Open-air markets will always have better prices and selection.
Grocery prices in Hua Hin
One thing that continues to rankle us: the cost of peanut butter. The best deal we can find is 91 baht for 340 grams. That’s $2.67 for three-quarters of a pound.
The one-pound jars of Skippy and Jif (the latter with American flag displayed on the picture below) cost almost $6!
When we were still in the USA, we remember buying super cheap generic jars of peanut butter for a couple of bucks.
Coffee is all over the map. We buy ground coffee bags that weigh 200 grams, less than a half pound, and cost about 115 baht, or $3.37.
Plenty of imported bags cost more than double that. Coffee grown in Thailand costs less, 98 baht, or $2.88.
Beer, Theo’s staple, is about the same price as in the Philippines.
He pays 50 baht for a 620 ml bottle (almost two U.S. cans) – $1.47.
In the Philippines, he was paying $1.20 to $1.30 for a smaller 500 ml bottle.
Somehow, unlike in the USA, 7/11 stores often have the same prices at supermarkets – and in some cases prices are cheaper. We haven’t figured out why – but it sure is convenient because 7/11 stores are everywhere (and Family Mart, too).