How to Shop in a Deli on a Budget: Not Everything Is Expensive!

Pick out your items wisely, and you won't have to spend too much money when shopping in a deli.

IMAGE Cat Altomonte

A deli, short for delicatessen, is a specialty shop that often holds imported or international items that you wouldn’t normally find in a regular grocery. In a deli, you will see items like bomba rice for paella, cured meats and sausages from Europe, and high-quality chocolate brought in from different parts of the world. But not everything is going to burn a hole in your wallet if you look carefully—have you checked the freezer section or asked the butcher for your best options?


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Save money by shopping and cooking smart.


We have tips for sticking to a budget when shopping in a deli. If you’re smart, you can take home delicious, high-quality items without going crazy on your expenses!


1 Be friends with the butchers. 

The butchers who man the meats, sausages, and cold cuts are some of the friendliest men and women you will come across. They never hesitate to answer your questions and give you advice on what to shop for. Ask for any deals they may have available: steaks are cheaper if you buy them in bulk (what's the harm in keeping them in your freezer?), and cold cuts often go on sale when a new batch arrives.


You may also ask for locally-made or locally-sourced products that may be cheaper but just as excellent in quality, such as the meat selections at Earle's Delicatessen. Purchase a whole pork loin or beef brisket and cut it into portions at home so that everything is portion-controlled. 


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Need help with your meat? Ask the butcher behind the counter!


2 When it comes to perishable items, purchase only exact amounts that you need.


Delis often hold a selection of fresh greens, herbs, and fruits. Pick up the exact amounts that you need to avoid food waste, especially if they don't last too long before spoiling. It doesn't matter if you only save a few pesos. Money is money!


3 Check the frozen goods. 

There are loads of useful items stocked in a deli's freezer section. Terry's Bistro and Santi's Delicatessen have extensive selections in their freezer aisles. Salmon often comes in large packs, and buying anything in bulk is always a good idea if you're looking to cut down on your costs. You will also find frozen berries, whose prices are much cheaper compared to fresh berries available in groceries. Use these for homemade pies and jams. Frozen spinach is another common deli find. They are perfect for quick sautes and vegetable bakes!


4 Stock up on spices and seasonings. 

Delis like Santi's Delicatessen and Bacchus Epicerie have great selections of hard-to-find spices and seasonings like pink peppercorns and fennel seeds. They are also often sold in small bottles or plastic containers, which means that you won't have to purchase too much of anything. Keep these stocked in your pantry to flavor your favorite roast meats! 



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Make it complete with pickles, cheese, cold cuts, and jams.

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Each serving costs less than P100!


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