Shoppers look for groceries at Lucky Supermarket in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Alexander Crook/7Days
A large cross-section of Phnom Penh’s local and foreign residents forgo the close proximity and cheap bargains of their local markets and household shopfront stores, instead opting for the convenience and wider range of the supermarkets that have started dotting the city’s landscape in the last few years. Dagmarah Mackos asked people outside Lucky’s Sihanouk Boulevard store why they travelled further to pay more.
Some time ago I lived with my family close to Lucky and we always shopped here. Now we’ve moved closer to the airport but I still get my groceries from Lucky. Even though it’s a little bit of a trip and the prices are higher than in small local stores, the products are of better quality. Their food is tasty, their shampoos are good. At supermarkets like this one, you can find a wider variety of products as well, all in one place.
I station my tuk-tuk in front of Lucky supermarket and even though I make 13 rounds to other places in the city, Lucky is still my favourite parking spot. Many people shop here—both foreign and Cambodian—and neither I nor the supermarket can complain about a lack of customers. Late afternoons are the busiest, with many shoppers carrying heavy bags. They need a tuk-tuk ride home with all that load. It’s like an unofficial taxi station and it’s good for everyone because our services guarantee the safety of customers.
Maria Theresa, 57
It’s my first time at this supermarket and, in my opinion, everything is way too expensive. But for foreign customers like me, it’s a perfect shopping centre because it caters to our needs and responds to our Western tastes. There’s a wide range of imported products on offer and that’s very important to me. For instance, I love Parmesan and goat’s cheese—something it is easier to purchase at a supermarket like Lucky. So even if the prices make me frown, I will come back knowing that I will find what I’m looking for.
Tan Xiao, 28
I’ve been here for 9 months and I still consider it the best place to do grocery shopping. Most of the time I just buy food and drink. I think the quality this supermarket offers is much better, and it is a safer option for non-Khmer speakers. It’s easier to find what we’re looking for at Lucky.
I just arrived in Phnom Penh not long ago and I don’t know a better way to shop in Phnom Penh. It was my friend who introduced me to this store and I keep coming back, until I learn my way around the city. For now, a big supermarket like Lucky is the easiest shopping option to me. Here, I can find everything I’m looking for, food and other stuff.
Photography: Alexander Crook/7Days