Major Grocery Stores and Specialist Convenience Stores

2011-01-17. Published in
by Nils Pasi

As a student, I am always concious of how much things cost, and I will sometimes go to great lengths to choose the stores and products that won't break the bank. But as you will know by now, there are quite a few grocary store chains in Sweden, and it is not always clear where to go. And what if you are looking for those special items that you simply will not find in your ordinary grocary store? I shall endevour to present some of the major grocary store chains present in Gothenburg, with some commentary on prices and supply, and there after we will take a closer look at some Asian specialist stores and one Russian as well.

General Grocery Stores

I used to think that the swedish grocery shopping experience wasn't that different from the grocery shopping experience in most other countries around the world. Turns out that isn't entirely true. When I was in Japan last summer, for example, I was very surprised to discover that there were no conveyor belts to place the groceries on, and that I was supposed to put the whole shopping basket, without emptying it, on the counter. Here in Sweden, we are expected to empty the basket ourselves onto the conveyor belt.
Did you know:
It is generally considered good manners to carefully position the items on the conveyor belt so that the bar codes face the bar code reader. Not only does this speed things up, but it also reduces the strain placed on the back and shoulders of the person behind the counter. The bar code reader is typically placed opposite the person behind the counter, so you will want to position the items on the conveyor belt so that the bar code faces you.

Lidl and Netto:
If you are a student, this is the place to go. In my experience, Netto and Lidl are the cheapest of all the grocary chain stores in Gothenburg, although if you are looking for specific brands or some less common items, there is a risk you will not find it here. They are generally very good on fresh fruites and vegetables, as well as most common ingredients, although there are often from less well known, cheap brands.

Willys and ICA Maxi:
Willys is cheap, but not, in my experience, the cheapest. They do some of the things you wont find in most Lidls and Nettos, though, so if you do not find what you are looking for at Lidl or Netto, you can have a look here. Do take note: Do not confuse ICA Maxi with other ICA stores such as ICA Nära. They set their prices very differently.

Hemköp, ICA, Coop:
These tend to be, in my experience, the most well-supplied grocary stores in Gothenburg. Here you will find well-known brands, limited specialist shelves for Asian ingredients and lots of things that you simply will not find at other grocary stores. The downside is that the prices are generally higher, and if there is a Lidl or Netto nearby, the fresh vegetables and fruits are sometimes not that fresh any more. Again, though, these are just my own personal observations, and I should point out that I personally visit Netto, Willys and Hemköp regularly, depending on what I need to buy.


Asian Grocery Stores

I was fortunate enough to spend the summer of 2010 in Sapporo, Japan, and I was quite frankly spoiled with perhaps the greatest, most delicious food I have ever eaten. Upon returning to Sweden, I naturally missed all these wonderful, to me very exotic, flavours. Consequently, I went out to find some asian supermarkets in Gothenburg. It thurns out there are quite a few such stores in Gothenburg, and fortunately miso paste and wakame seaweed turned out to be common ingredients available in all of them, so now I can once again enjoy miso soup for breakfast and dinner.

There are actually quite a few asian shops in Gothenburg, and I have visited most of them on my wild hunt for japanese pickled plums (umeboshi).

Yamato is actually a Japanese restaurant, but small section of the restaurant doubles as a store where you can find various Japanese products. This is, for example, the only place in Gothenburg where I have seen umiboshi for sale. They do not have as much for sale as the dedicated asian stores, but what they do seem to have items that are very difficult to find anywhere else in Gothenburg.

Head over to Masthuggstorget for a visit to Yamato (map).

Viet Thai Trading
This store looks smaller than it is, so do not be fooled by the exterior! They have a wide selection of different foods and ingredients, as well as some lovely porcelin!

You find Viet Thai Thrading at Södra Allégatan 24-29 (map). The closest tram stop is Järntorget or Hagakyrkan.

Heng Lih Market
On their sign it says that they have Chinese and Thai goods. I have bought a bamboo steam boiler there once, but otheerwise I have no experience of shopping in this store.

You will find them on Basargatan (map), close to Grönsakstorget tram stop.

New Thai Livs
Sells food and ingredients from Asia, according to their sign. As with Heng Lih Market, I have no real experience shopping at this store, but I will say that the people who work there are very friendly and helpful.

New Thai Livs is also located on Basargatan, although much closer to Kungsportsplatsen tram stop than Heng Lih Market. Here it is on the map.

Gain Trading Asian Livs (or 'Công Ty Kiét Tu'ò'ng'?)
This is where I usually go when I have run out of Japanese rice or the necessary ingredients for making miso soup. It is a fairly small store, alhtough surprisingly well-assorted for its size.

This store is located outside Nordstan on Östra Hamngatan (map). The closest tram stop is Brunnsparken or Lilla Bomen.


Russian Grocery Store

There is, to my knowledge, only one russian store in Gothenburg. I used to go there fairly often a while back to buy russian sweets. This was while I was still taking russian classes in school (upper-secondary school).

Babushka is a russian store were you can eat russian pirogue, buy Russian sweets and ingredients necessary for various russian dishes. I have bought sweets here a couple of times, which is really good and different to the exceptionally suger-sweet swedish sweets.

This store is located almost oposite the street from Viet Thai Trading, although on this side of the alley, the street is called Norra Allégatan instead of Södra Allégatan. Have a look at the map here. The closest tram stop is Järntorget or Hagakyrkan.

As always, for information about which tram and buss services best suit your needs, head over to and enter you starting point and destination in their online route planer – it is really good!

Should you have any questions, please leave a comment or head over to the forums!

/Nils, team 2010-2012


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