Shopping Options In Boqueron

As I’ve written before, the shopping options here in Boquerón are extremely limited. There are three small tiendas with a very limited inventory made up mainly of cold drinks, some very basic staples and junk food. There are also two larger establishments known generically as “Chinos.”

They have that name since most throughout Panama are owned by Chinese immigrants, some who have been in the Republic for generations having first migrated to work on the French-built railroad and later on the Canal.

All of the supermarkets have produce sections and the one at El Rey in David comes close in size and quality to anything found at most Publix and Winn-Dixie stores in Florida. Their prices are pretty similar, too.

Most people, at least here in the countryside, buy their produce at roadside stands and many have bargains unheard of in the States. For example, a large, wonderfully fragrant, juicy pineapple generally be had for a buck. While none of these stands can rival the splendor of the open-air markets in Antibes an Nice, France, the quality, if not the quantity, stands up to the comparison quite well.

Here in Boqueron there is another alternative and it comes to you and the prices are the envy of state-side residents. Twice a week a small pickup truck rolls down our street with its loudspeaker announcing its arrival and the prices he offers. Of course the selection is limited but how can you beat four pounds of spuds for a buck?

Today I made a score with another truck that came selling fresh seafood. Panama, being bordered to the north and south by the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean respectively has an abundance of fresh seafood. When I lived in Chalmette, just outside of New Orleans, I used to buy fresh, unsorted, heads still on, shrimp for a buck a pound. Naturally with the heads still on you’re paying for weight you can’t eat. In the supermarkets in Fort Lauderdale I used to think I was getting a good deal when I could pick up a pound of shrimp at less than seven dollars a pound and these were generally heads-on as well.

Today, off of the truck I was able to buy a whole pound of tails-only shrimp for the unheard of price of $2.75! Richard’s going to eat good tonight.


Filed under Boqueron Panama, Living Abroad, panama, Retirement Abroad

3 responses to “Shopping Options In Boqueron

  1. Hi Richard:

    Hi Richard:

    I had lunch about half and hour ago. After reading your post, I’m hungry already. Yummity-yum-yum-yum.

    Bon appetite, cher ami.

    Au revoir!


    They were unbelievably good, Omar. Sauteed them up in olive oil and real butter with enough garlic to stop a pack of werewolves dead in their tracks. Only thing missing was a nice glass of wine or a cold beer to go with it. I don’t care about the cholesterol, either. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old movie Auntie Mame, but there’s a great line where Mame tells her young nephew “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

  2. I posted a link to this post on Facebook (FB). I wanted my FB buds to read your lines about “four pounds of spuds for a buck” and “a whole pound of tails-only shrimp for the unheard of price of $2.75!” My wife is up in Boquete (waiting on me…9 more days) and she told me about the fruit guy who passed through the neighborhood selling naval oranges…200 for $6. She and her mom juiced them and made a few gallons of OJ for the freezer.

    Glad you liked the story, Michael and thanks for posting a link to my blog. When I got the shrimp out in the evening to shell them and chow down I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the size of them. More like bait, but sauteed up they were absolutely delicious and you sure couldn’t beat the price so, overall, no complaints.

  3. When I first came by to read this, I got side-tracked by “chinos”. I started wondering if the name for the trousers was related, and sure enough, it is, through the military. I’ve always liked them – perfect for those “dress-up” occasions when jeans just won’t do! 😉

    One of the things we were able to do in Liberia was community buying, and it really helped with things like bananas. An entire stalk of bananas coming ripe at the same time is more banana bread than a freezer can hold. As for the pineapples – gosh, I’d give anything for those sweet, sweet ones for a quarter.

    I have discovered something interesting. I picked up a hand of organic bananas the other day because the others looked so ratty. I was amazed at the difference in taste – well worth the extra twenty cents a pound!