As a foreigner it is easy to get caught up in going to convenient supermarket malls like Supermaxi or Coral Hipermercado where you can find many conveniences from the States. However, don’t overlook your local co-op.
Coopera is great, they sell fresh veggies and all kinds of fruit from their own farm. They also have crates of dried beans, corn, rice, flour etc. and fresh beans too. You can even buy local eggs and other things like jams, honey, oil, pies, meat, fish, crabs, cheese the list goes on depending on the day.
If you are living in Cuenca or another province that has Coopera then you should consider opening up a savings account with them. Not only do they sell super affordable fresh food, they are also a bank but more like a community credit union where you’ll get a better interest rate.
I go to Coopera all the time for my veggies, fruit , eggs and grains; I buy a ton and never spend over $11. For example, the other day I bought:
3 bushels of green onions
5 big garlic cloves
4 yellow peppers
4 red peppers
A dozen eggs
If I bought this much in the States at say New Seasons or Whole Foods I would have spent over $30. This was just about $10. I’ll have to show you a receipt next time. I love shopping here.