Grocery shopping in Brazil is - first of all - not a weekly event. You go every few days. Especially if you have to take all your stuff back home on the bus!
Second of all - there is no such thing as one-stop shopping. Not every store has what you're looking for. If you see an item that you think you might want or need, you had better get it. You may not see it on the shelves again for a long, long time.
There are numerous mercados to choose from when it comes to grocery shopping:
We have our little neighborhood markets a few blocks away that basically cater to the locals. You'll find nothing American there.
On the other end of the scale, we have supermercados that cater to the upper class and offer a lot of variety - Brazilian style. American food is still scarce but can be found if you want to pay the price. (We have found cans of Campbell's soup for $7.00. Cream of Onion, even. I know. Who has ever bought a can of that particular soup, anyway!?)
(Note that the cereal isle is only five feet long.)
Most of the time we do our shopping at ones in between the two -Carrefour or Condor. Both are on the red bus line and offer a fairly good variety of food - or maybe we're just getting used to them. Anyway, we hit these stores at least 3-4 times weekly.
And let's not fail to mention the fruit and vegetable places that are everywhere. Mostly fruit. Lots of different fruit. Some recognizable. Some not. All worth a try.
For those of us who don't speak the language, the are four words that will get you by at check-out.
Não (Meaning I don't have a state tax number yet.)
Cartão (I'm using a card.)
Crédito (It's credit, not debit.)
While we're on the subject of food, we enjoyed a Sunday evening Chá with fellow missionaries, the Franças - herbal tea, bread, fried bananas, and good conversation (all in Portuguese, of course). One day I plan to actually contribute to one of these conversations.
This is the view from their balcony.
We are loving Brazil. Every day is an adventure!