El Cangrejo has a big U.S.-style grocery store within a short walking distance in the form of Pricesmart (the equivalent of Costco), but you’ll find higher quality options at Casa de la Carne, a local supermarket chain, which has great fresh fish and meat counters, a host of imported goods, as well as an excellent bakery with warm bread fresh out of the oven. El Rey, which is open 24/7 and is equally well stocked with fresh produce and baked goods, even carries Hamm’s and Old Milwaukee in the cooler.
Fruteria Mimi is THE place to try the tropical fruits and produce Panama is known for (ever tasted guanabanas?). El Motete is a one-stop shop for everything eco-friendly and organic, from groceries and natural foods to beauty and household products. It’s Will Ridlehoover and Megan Vose’s dream project, who, as former Peace Corps volunteers, opened the store as a way to empower local producers and agricultural communities and bridge the gap between rural and urban Panama.
Finally, don’t miss the “chinitos” on virtually every street corner. Usually owned by Chinese immigrants, descendants of those who might have arrived over 150 years ago (when Panama was still Colombia) to work on the cross-country railroad and the Panama Canal later, it is said that by the beginning of the 20th century the entire country relied on provisions from their stores. Not much has changed – they stock everything.
This article is part of our Ultimate Guide to El Cangrejo. Download the complete guide by clicking here.