December 10, 2018

Video #44 | July 12, 2018

In this video I’m going to introduce you to where I buy most of my imported food and drink; Villa Market Bangkok. Specifically the Villa Market branch near Ari BTS, La Villa Ari.



Click on the following link to check out more Bangkok Supermarkets.

#VIDEO TRANSCRIPT#

Welcome to the forty-forth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to introduce you to where I buy most of my imported food and drink; Villa Market Bangkok. Specifically the Villa Market branch near Ari BTS, La Villa Ari.

Let’s get started!

Villa Market Bangkok: Some background

When I arrived in Bangkok 19 years ago, the options for buying imported food and drink were not great! It took a while to miss foreign food, but eventually the urge for simple things like peanut butter, baked beans, cheese, marmite, cereal, biscuits and decent bread all became too much!

At the time, Villa Market was pretty much the only game in town. Fast forward to today, and there are lots of options; Makro, Big C, Tesco Lotus, Tops, Foodland, Gourmet Market and more.

With this said, I think that Villa Supermarket still offers the widest selection of foods at comparatively reasonable prices. Note. I want to highlight the word ‘comparatively’. The import taxes on processed food products are somewhere between 30 percent to 50 percent plus. This means that most things you buy in Villa Market are going to be at least twice the price of what they cost back home.

One other note. If you want the best selection of premium imported foods, the Central Food Hall at Central Chitlom has got to be one of the best, if not the best, supermarket in Thailand. The only problem is that it’s crazy expensive. Buying all your food and drink from this store will likely bankrupt you! The Central Food Hall even stocks a lot of products from Waitrose; which any Brit will tell you is probably the best supermarket in the UK.

Villa Market Bangkok: A brief history

Villa Market opened its first store on Sukhumvit road, near Soi 33, in 1973. At the time grocery shopping in Bangkok was done at an open-air market, a mom-and-pop shop, or one of the few air-conditioned stores in the city.

In the early 70s, the Sukhumvit area housed a lot of foreign personnel involved with the Vietnam conflict. There were also many foreign executives, along with their families, working in and around Sukhumvit. From what I have heard, Villa Market served as an unofficial local meeting place. It was a place to see friends and catch up on the community gossip. The store also had a bulletin board – as it still does today – near the door where anyone could post a notice for a maid wanted, apartment for rent, car for sale, or community events. [When I was a teacher I worked with a number of guys who were stationed in Thailand during and after the Vietnam war].

Villa Market is a family-owned business. Where they have always excelled is the fact that they offer organic fruits and vegetables, and premium quality meats and seafoods.

Currently Villa Market has 34 stores through Thailand; 27 stores in Bangkok and 7 stores in Hua Hin, Pattaya, Udonthani and Phuket. To find the closest Villa Market to you, I’d google “Villa Market” and then check Google Maps to see what’s available. If you’re in Central Bangkok, you’ll definitely have a branch somewhere nearby.

Villa Market Bangkok: Reasons that I shop there

  • They direct-import more than 2,500 products from all over the world. A good number of products stocked by Villa Market aren’t stocked by anyone else due to partnerships with Iceland [a British supermarket] and Monoprix [a French supermarket].
  • Villa Market has partnerships with farms all over Thailand. This means that they have some of the best quality fruit and vegetables in the city.
  • From my understanding Villa Market is Thailand’s original butcher shop. Their meat selection is solid, and very high quality.

One criticism though; their imported frozen meat is very expensive. I strongly recommend that you head to Makro, like I do, for frozen beef and lamb. Makro also offers great deals on frozen venison, sausages, bacon and more. For context Makro is about half the price of Villa Supermarket for frozen New Zealand and Australian lamb – shoulder and leg. I plan to review Makro in a forthcoming video.

Villa Market Bangkok: Online delivery

If you’re lazy, you can do online delivery through shoponline.villamarket.com. This saves walking round the store in circles trying to find exactly what you’re looking for. Something that I have spent many hours doing! Note. While many of their staff are good people, most don’t speak English, and are thoroughly useless at helping you find particular food items.

95% of Villa Market’s products are available to purchase online, and the prices are the same as in-store. Note. If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can still order online and then pick up the order in store.

Villa Market Bangkok: Final Thoughts

It used to be the case that it was extremely hard, and very expensive, to cook Western food at home. Many food items simply weren’t accessible. Now you can easily put together literally whatever meal you want. While many imported foods are certainly more expensive than back home, you’ll save a fortune cooking at home versus going out to eat. These days I rarely eat out. Maybe once a week or so.

If you have a hankering for a particular imported food item, I’d consider heading to one of the Villa Market branches. If they don’t stock it, or something close, I’d be surprised.

Anyway, that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.

For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.

To check out details on arranging a bespoke Bangkok tour with experienced tour guides, please click on the link in this video’s description section.

Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have any questions or comments on Villa Market. Please do reach out to me through the comments section of this video!

Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.

jamesnardell

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