Supermarket and Grocery Stores in Bangkok (Sukhumvit Road)
There is ample choice for grocery shopping along (lower) Sukhumvit Road, from cheap supermarkets to upmarket 'gourmet' outlets.
Ranked from less to more expensive, you can find along lower Sukhumvit Road :
1) MaxValu Tanjay
3) Tops market
4) Gourmet Market
5) Villa Market
[ 6) 7-Eleven convenience stores ]
We just recently discovered an outlet of MaxValu Tanjay. It is located in the basement at Jasmine Executive Suites Hotel, at the entry of Sukhumvit Soi 23 (below the Starbucks). MaxValu Supermarkets (which are larger) and Maxvalu Tanjay are operated by Aeon Thailand. Aeon is a major Japanese retailer. The Maxvalu Tanjay on Sukhumvit Soi 23 is small and you could call it basic, but it can provide a lot of groceries and daily necessities at the cheapest prices in the neighborhood. It opened around the middle of 2013 and even now most Thai people have not yet discovered it, that is, it is not all that busy. Interestingly, you can find prepared fruits at prices just 10-15 baht higher than what you pay 'on the street'.
MaxValu Tanjay outlet in the basement of Jasmine City, entrance soi 23, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok.
[Fruit vendors in a lot of sois in Bangkok sell small packages of fruits like pineapple, guava, melon, apples, mango at prices of usually 20 baht. Similar packages, chilled, are sold at Tops, Gourmet Market, Foodland, for around 60-80 baht, while offering (if any) only marginally better quality]
MaxValu Tanjay here is open around the clock.
Foodland long was the place to go. It is located about 100 meters from the main road in Sukhumvit Soi 5. While operating a long time at a basic level, the store was completely renovated a few years ago, and looks quite fancy now. We think prices have gone up a bit too. It operates 24 hours a day. You will find a larger selection of goods here than at the smaller MaxValu Tanjay. It is also a good place for getting a cheap breakfast or a meal, at the counter restaurant at the entrance.
Foodland used to have one of the more reasonable bakery shops, to the right after entering. Good quality pretzels and a good selection of modestly priced bread rolls. This counter has been renovated begin 2021, and items are now more upmarket, while the 'old' stuff can still be found in the supermarket, but looks less appetizing, now all items are put in plastic bags. It is a pity about the pretzels.
As far as we know, the local bakery shop is one of the few places in Bangkok where you can find decent fresh pretzels. Most bakery products are also sold at modest prices.
Vegetables for sale at Foodland, soi 5, Sukhumvit Road.
One thing against it, is that the local environment is not optimal, that is, there are prostitutes and a lot of people loitering around (doing what exactly?) around the Sukhumvit Soi 5 area, giving it the appearance of a semi-criminal scene (with no police to be seen), especially in the evening hours and at night.
Tops market (at Robinson Department Store, soi 19 ; connected to the Asoke skytrain station) is more fancy, has a foodcourt, but prices inside the supermarket are more than you would pay at Foodland, even when discounts or promotions are given. Of course, you are at Robinson, and can do some shopping inside the department storea also.
You can get a membercard at Tops and will be asked to present it each time you buy things and check out (or give your phone number instead). There are regular discounts for members only (some discounts are borderline, but sometimes there are some really good deals).
Tops market fruits on display, at the basement level below Robinson Sukhumvit, soi 19, Sukhumvit Road.
Furthermore what you spend is tallied, and with the points accumulated, you can get cash coupons and discounts (we are not quite capable of telling how it works exactly). Besides that, you get coupons (sent by mail) which entitle you to discounts. For example, if you buy goods worth 1,000 baht, you can get a 65 baht discount, etc.
Tops offers a quality shopping environment, and certainly it is up to international standards. Lots of good quality fruits and vegetables, bakery products, lots of cosmetic products, and standard supermarket fare. A lot of the non-food items you certainly will not find at smaller supermarkets like MaxValu Tanjay.
Gourmet Market has a small and two large 'supermarkets' along this stretch of Sukhumvit Road.
A smaller branch is located in the basement at Terminal 21, which offers a very limited amount of goods.
For more extensive and upmarket shopping we recommend Gourmet Market at Emporium Department Store (at the upper floor) or Gourmet Market in the basement at EM Quartier on the opposite site of Sukhumvit Road.
Both these Gourmet Markets offer attractive wares, with a large collection of fruits and vegetables, prepared meals, fresh meats and seafood. We are regular visitors to the salad bars, which are the best in Bangkok. Gourmet Market is upmarket, and in Bangkok only rivalled by the outlets of Central Food Hall. We do also take usually a weekly trip to Central Food Hall at the Chitlom Central Department Store.
Salad Bar at Gourmet Market, Terminal 21, Sukhumvit Road.
Villa Market close to soi 33 on Sukhumvit Road, is the original supermarket in the area, and popular especially with foreigners. It is expensive though, but you can find some items here that are not easily found at other supermarkets, even though the store itself is not large. There is another Villa Market outlet on Sukhumvit Road, soi 49 (at least 3 km away from the main road), just opposite to where the Dental Hospital was located a few years ago (close to Samitivej Hospital) which is somewhat larger, and less cramped, and which we prefer.
One reason why a lot of foreigners shop at Villa Market, is that a lot of imported (expensive) goods are available. Quite a few people seem to prefer imported broccoli or strawberries over local produce.
The Villa Market at Soi 33 can be quite crowded (because of its popularity combined with its small size). There can also be a lot of staff members around, because the shelves apparently need to be refilled often. The crowded environment can be a bit taxing in times of pandemics, like in 2020.
Villa Market also has a VPlus card for its customers, tallying purchases. It allows for accumulating points which add up to a discount of 0.5%, for example, after buying 20,000 baht of goods, you can get a 100 baht discount.
7-Elevens are ubiquitous in Bangkok and can be found at the beginning of most sois, and on the main streets. Last time we checked, we noticed that around 13,000 7-Elevens were supposed to have opened in 2021, of which like about half in Bangkok. While the shops are convenient, beware that prices are higher than in supermarkets. They offer beverages, pre-prepackaged and pre-cooked meals, cosmetics, cigarettes (!), snacks, candies. Besides processed foods, you can pay bills, buy telephone prepaid cards (True), etc. While convenient, a lot of the foods and snacks offered, are highly processed, and not suitable for regular daily consumption (that is, if you value your health). Of course, you can find beer, juices, water, soda drinks etc., and cheap but reasonably good hot coffee.
Quite a few outlets inside the sois of Sukhumvit Road, offer some space around the convenience store, where people can 'relax' in the evening. Close to where I live, it is not uncommon to have 20, 30 people sitting together in small groups, drinking beer. Compared to local eateries or bars, it is much cheaper to buy alcohol at convenience stores, and just drink it sitting on the pavement or closeby. Quite a few people, mostly men, seem to have a alcohol problem !
7-Eleven outlet are located around Bangkok, usually at the entrance of sois coming off main roads. This 7-Eleven is located in soi 23, Sukhumvit Road.
Hypermarkets, offering cheaper goods, sometimes in bulk, and also cheap clothes and other necessities can be found from Sukhumvit when taking the subway. Closeby is Lotus's, located at Rama 9 MRT station, and Big C located at the next station, at Thailand Cultural Center. Lotus's is adjacent to Fortune IT Town, so you can browse through computer hardware and software available in Bangkok at the same location.