Thai Language Thai Culture: At the Supermarket

Thai Language

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Supermarkets in Thailand…

If you are going to live in Thailand, one of the things you will find yourself doing is food shopping. When I first came to Thailand there were no such things as supermarkets. Now they are as ubiquitous as Thailand’s outdoor markets. They may not be as much fun or as exciting as the outdoor kind, but supermarkets are cleaner, and air conditioned. So, except for the small stuff, that is where we usually shop.

As a primer on supermarket shopping here are some vocabulary words that will help on your next outing. We’ll also make some short sentences to put the words into context. General food categories are listed; as you get hungry you will learn specific food names rather quickly.

Supermarket: ซูเปอร์มาร์เก็ต /súp-bpêr-maa-gét/

Note: In some parts of the kingdom, namely Bangkok, the shortened form ซูเปอร์ /súp-bpêr/ is sometimes used. I haven’t heard it in Chiang Mai yet though. Let us know if it is in use in your neck of the woods.

The following are general categories of food…

Food(s): อาหาร /aa-hǎan/


Baked goods: อาหารประเภทอบ /aa-hǎan bprà~pâyt òp/ Thai Language
Beverage: เครื่องดื่ม /krêuang-dèum/
Bread: ขนมปัง /kà~nǒm-bpang/
Frozen food: อาหารแช่แข็ง /aa-hǎan châe-kǎeng/
Fresh vegetables: ผักสด /pàk sòt/
Fruit: ผลไม้ /pǒn-lá~máai/
Meat: เนื้อ /néua/
Milk or dairy: นม /nom/
Seafood: อาหารทะเล /aa-hǎan-tá~lay/
Snacks: ของว่าง /kǒng-wâang/

Departments or sections in a supermarket…

Department: แผนก /pà~nàek/

Bakery department: แผนกประเภทอบ /pà~nàek bprà~pâyt òp/
Bakery or bread department: แผนกขนมปัง /pà~nàek kà~nǒm-bpang/
Dairy department: แผนกผลิตภัณฑ์ นม /pà~nàek pà~lìt-dtà~pan nom/
Frozen foods department: แผนกอาหารแช่แข็ง /pà~nàek aa-hǎan-châe-kǎeng
Fruit department: แผนกผลไม้ /pà~nàek pǒn-lá~máai/
Meat department: แผนกเนื้อ /pà~nàek néua/
Produce (vegetable) department: แผนกผักสด /pà~nàek pàk sòt/
Seafood department: แผนกอาหารทะเล /pà~nàek aa-hǎan-tá~lay/

Things you might find in a supermarket…

Aisle: ช่อง /chông/
Aisle: ทางเดิน(ระหว่างชั้นวางของ) /taang-dern (rá~wàang chán waang kǒng)/
Bag (paper, plastic): ถุง (กระดาษ, พลาสติก) /tǔng (grà~dàat, pláat-sà~dtìk)/
Can: กระป๋อง /grà~bpǒng/
Cashier: แคชเชียร์ /ká chia/
Cashier: พนักงานเก็บเงิน /pá~nák-ngaan gèp-ngern/
Manager: ผู้จัดการ /pôo-jàt-gaan/
Queue, line, checkout line: คิว /kiw/
Shopping cart: รถเข็น /rót-kěn/

Supermarket words in context…

chûay séu bp-sêe grà-bpŏng nèung lŏh
Please get a dozen cans of Pepsi. Thai Language

séu aa-hăan wâang láe krêuang-dèum tèrt
Let’s get some snacks and drinks.

ai-sòk-reem yòo nai pà-nàek aa-hăan châe kǎeng
Ice cream is in the frozen foods department.

chăn dtông gaan séu kà-nŏm bpang
I need to buy some bread.

ter séu má-kĕua tâyt nai pà-nàek pàk sòt
She is buying tomatoes in the produce department.

súp-bper-maa-gèt née mee pà-nàek néua dee
This supermarket has a good meat department.

aa-hăan tá-lay yòo nai chông râek
The seafood is in the first aisle.

เขาไม่ชอบผัก แต่เขาชอบเนื้อ
kăo mâi chôp pàk dtàe kăo chôp néua
He doesn’t like vegetables but he loves meat.

Kiw nán yaao
That’s a long checkout line.

ter jàai kâet-chia
She paid the cashier.

For more on shopping in Thailand take a look at one of my recent blog entries: You can get anything you want.

Hugh’s fun Thai word for the month…

Compensate, reimburse, repay [v] [adj]: ชดเชย /chót-chəəi/

This is another of those Thai words with really difficult vowel sounds, especially the second word. But what makes this word fun is not the dictionary meaning but the way you will probably hear it used the most often. It is used when a holiday occurs on a weekend and they push the day off to Monday. That Monday day off is called วันหยุดชดเชย /wan-yùt chót-chəəi/ or literally, “a repaid day off”. Just don’t schedule a Monday tee time at the golf course on a วันหยุดชดเชย or you may have to deal with long lines – just like I did on Monday January 3rd.

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
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