By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: With the high cost of living along with food price hikes due to the Russian war on Ukraine and the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, Kuwaitis and expatriates head to buy foodstuff from Souq Turki (Turkish market) in Shuwaikh. After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, people are more careful about their spending.

Vendors told Kuwait Times that people in Kuwait try to minimize the impact of any price increases due to external factors by buying groceries, snacks, disposables and cleaning and personal care products from the Turkish market because of the cheap prices as the goods are near expiry.

Mohammad Sobhy, who has been working at the market for six years, told Kuwait Times shops in the market have witnessed high demand lately, especially since prices went up in supermarkets. He added the market was crowded two weeks ago because of girgian, noting that many Kuwaitis and expats bought chocolate, sweets and nuts for their girgian events.

Vendor Abu Mohammad said many items are sold here for less than their original prices. "For example, this evaporated milk can is sold in the co-op for 450 fils, but here it is sold for 50 fils because it's near expiry," he said. "Our prices are cheaper than co-ops and supermarkets. Low-income families are struggling, especially during Ramadan, due to the high prices of items. Here you can find a variety of cooking oils, spices, pasta, sugar and salt at very cheap prices," he explained.

Joyce, a customer who was buying a box of chocolate, said: "My friends and I come here to buy foodstuff, chips and chocolates that we send to the Philippines. Usually, we choose items with more than three months of validity. The prices here are cheaper than the offers in supermarkets. It is nice when you are traveling to your home country to take chocolates, and here you have plenty of choice."

Um Othman told Kuwait Times she is a regular at Souq Turki. She has her own small business, where she cooks and uses a lot of spices. "The spices here sold in large quantities for a reasonable price. I also buy plastic cutlery for preparation," she said. Jalal Samer said he buys daily staples - instead of buying one item, he buys several at the same price. "A bottle of oil is sold here for half a dinar, while it costs at least KD 1.500 at cooperatives or other supermarkets. I buy items I know I can use right away. They are not expired yet and can be consumed immediately."