Food Shopping

Panama has the best food shopping in Latin America. You will only appreciate this if you have lived elsewhere in the region. Its American-style supermarkets are stocked with all the most popular American products at inexpensive prices.

Supermarkets

To start with, Panama has large, modern, well organized American-style supermarkets in all the places where foreigners live. These supermarkets have just about everything an American could want but the prices are cheaper. You will be surprised to find that many goods imported from the USA cost less here.

The best supermarkets are Riba Smith and El Rey.

Riba Smith

Riba Smith is hands-down the favorite supermarket for Americans and foreigners. The only problem is that it only has four stores—one in Punta Pacifica at the Multiplaza Mall, one in the older neighborhood of Bella Vista near Balboa Avenue, one on Transistimica Avenue and one in Costa del Este.

Riba Smith is popular for two reasons- it has the largest selection of American specialty items and products, and excellent prepared foods and baked goods.This includes gluten free products and other in-demand alternative health food products. They have the best selection of American salad dressings, cereals, ice creams, holiday candies, diet and health foods, spices, etc. Their Riba Smith prepared foods are excellent—we love their chicken pot pies, lasagnas, pastas, yogurts and ice cream.
Riba Smith has its own bread and baked goods company with some of the best fresh bread loaves including several whole grain types and a variety of fresh, delicious baked goods. Their whole grain multi-cereal bread loaves are the best in Panama.

El Rey Supermarkets

El Rey has supermarkets in nearly every Panama City neighborhood as well as in Coronado on the Pacific Coast and in David in Chiriqui province. We love El Rey because the stores have just about everything Americans want, are spotless and well organized.

Super Kosher, Punta Paitilla

Panama's only kosher market and a fun place to shop because it has many products other supermarkets don't have.

Fruteria Mini Max: Bal Harbour Plaza in Punta Puntilla

This is the place for specialty Oriental foods like tofu, miso, kimchi etc and it also has a wondrous fruit and vegetable section with the best variety in town.

Fruits and Vegetables

Inexpensive tropical fruits abound as well as all the usual vegetables. If you love papaya, pineapples, mangos in season etc- you're in heaven. Sometimes small stores and open air markets have better quality fruit so ask around. The supermarkets have an abundant selection of fruits and vegetables. For those who want better prices, are adventurous and speak some Spanish, go to the farmers market near Ancon and walk off with 50lb bags of oranges for $5, large avocados and pineapples for 50 cents apiece etc.

Health Food

The only health food store is Organica in Punta Pacifica. It's small but has the basics including range fed poultry. The only problem is that the prices are high. Tel: 390-2000. The major grocery stores also have health food sections.

Delis

The Deli Gourmet with a branch on Calle 50, in El Dorado and Albrook is the best deli in town. Their take out including sandwiches are excellent and this is also a store with hundreds of imported food items as well as wines and liquors.

If you have a favorite place I have missed here, send the info along.