Food shopping in Colombo can be frustrating. You’ve often have to traipse through a bunch of places before gathering all the stuff you need. This is especially true if cooking non-Sri Lankan food. Things like herbs, sauces and good cheese can be surprisingly difficult to find.
The Cargills Food City on Staple Street is one of the city’s best supermarkets. It’s been around since 1983 but it looks much more historic. It’s large and offers a wider variety of products than most other stores. No promises, but you can probably satisfy most of your culinary requirements here. They have a great vegetable section, lots of fresh herbs, good variety of cheeses, and a nice air-conditioned liquor store at the back. And it’s all laid out nice and neat. Easy to navigate.
Service, as with pretty much all Sri Lankan supermarkets, isn’t amazing. There seem to be more staff than necessary, but checkout still proceeds at glacial pace. I’ve long failed to understand why there are always two assistants per checkout counter. Surely people can bag their own groceries? And how, despite there being two assistants, is service still so painfully slow?
Anyway, slowness aside (what to do), this is a good supermarket and expats seem to like it. Not cheap, of course, but it’ll save you the time and effort of going around searching for various items of food. Recommended.