ASTANA – Every capital citizen has no doubt faced the situation of choosing where to purchase groceries, especially when the to-buy-list is long. The city has a wide range of places to shop, but are they really worth wasting time and money?
It is no secret that during the weekend the heaviest jams are in specific places – near the bazaars. The city’s food bazaars are mainly located in three places – near the crossroads of Bogenbai Batyr Avenue and Ualikhanov Street, the Eurasia Market and Alash Highway.
Today’s bazaars have evolved from the old-fashioned outside markets which lacked pleasant conditions for shoppers. Of course, there are echoes of earlier days in some markets, especially those on Alash Highway. Most of today’s bazaars, however, are spacious buildings with different pavilions for various kinds of food.
There is something really special about bazaars. It is a way to meet the country’s culture and see real people with different incomes choosing and negotiating.
Bazaars are well-known and usually chosen for their assortments of fresh dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables and their prices. Those who prefer fresh products straight from the farm should definitely go to bazaars, even though shopping will take longer than expected.
Unlike bazaars, supermarkets are located on almost every street. Everything shoppers need is in one place and there is no need to see different people to buy different items. Supermarkets are super time-saving, but many people are sure the meat, dairy and vegetables on the shelves are not as fresh.
Several city citizens shared their views on the issue with the Astana Times.
Bolat Zhunusov, a 31-year-old IT specialist from Ust-Kamenogorsk, has been living in the capital for several years.
“Me and my family, we usually go to the outside market on the weekends, which is located near Eurasia Shopping Centre. There we buy sour cream, cottage cheese and greens. Well, everything from the farms that is fresh. Such products cannot be bought in the supermarkets. I understand that there is a risk to get bad-quality products, but I have been shopping there for 3.5 years,” he said.
He also shared his hint. During the fall, he buys dozens of kilogrammes of fresh cottage cheese from the farms and freezes it for his family to enjoy throughout the winter.
“Also, two times a month we go to Magnum Supermarket (23/1 Alash Highway) to buy groceries, household chemicals and other necessary stuff. And, of course, we go to small shops to make small everyday purchases,” he added.
Aleksander Skripachenko, 35, is a construction firm worker.
“I think there are different products in the supermarkets and bazaars. You have to know where to buy what. I buy dairy in Eurasia Market, meat too. But I know there are places where they are cheaper, for example in Artyom. I think meat in Eurasia is good as well. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it is better to go to the Artyom bazaar,” he said.
He is certain supermarket prices are higher.
“But some things are better to buy there,” he said. “For example, batteries and stuff like that.”
Karlygash Dosymbetova, a 25-year-old state employee, says she, too, balances her shopping between bazaars and supermarkets.
“Well, bazaars are attractive because there you can taste everything and you can negotiate on the prices. But I work until late at night and for me it is more convenient to go to supermarkets rather than bazaars, because they are closer and they work until late night or even 24 hours. And most of the supermarkets in Astana have special deals. You can buy bags of rice and bottles of sunflower oil for special prices. Household chemicals, toilet paper and things like that can be bought with the discount as well. As I know, there are no such offers at the bazaars,” she said.
Sholpan Sarlybayeva is a 53-year-old accountant with a local company.
“We live on the left bank, so we don’t go far to such places as Artyom. Usually we shop at Keruen Shopping Mall and Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre to buy everyday products. And near our house we have a little shop where we buy vegetables and fruits. We prefer to buy there. We don’t have time to go to bazaars – too far,” she said.
Whether close or far, cheap or expensive, high-quality or low-quality, the most important thing is health and time. To make the right choice, shoppers should definitely try everything first.
The city has bazaars for items other than food. There are outside markets for construction materials and car parts as well.