Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Search of Peanut Butter - Updated!

A How-To Guide for Finding Peanut Butter in Astana, Kazakshtan

**Update on 30 August, 2013:  Metro seems to no longer have it.  However, Fine Foods does.

**Update on 25 May, 2013:  There have been numerous peanut butter sightings at Metro.  The brand is HyTop and it tastes slightly better than the Shop Rite brand you usually find in Astana.  It still has partially hydrogenated oils (most American peanut butters have this, which is incredibly unhealthy.)

Metro is located outside of Astana, on the road that leads to Karaganda.  At some point this road is called Abylai Khana.  Bus 32 and a few others come out to Metro.  Depending on your current location, it may take 1 to 3 hours to get to Metro via bus.  You also need a Metro card in order to get in; however, this is easy to get.

So I recommend starting at Metro first, it is your best bet at this time.  And you can use a credit card there.  If you can't find it at Metro, or really don't want to go there, following is a list of where to search for peanut butter.

Before you start, make sure you have enough cash to buy as much peanut butter as you'll need for the next 6 months, since there will be a good chance that you won't see it again for that long.  Peanut butter runs about 1000 Tenge ($7) a jar.  I think that most stores that sell peanut butter do accept credit cards, but I'm not sure of this.

1)  Go to the bottom floor of Khan Shatyr, into the Green supermarket.  I've never found peanut butter in Green, but I have found American items, so there's always a chance!

2)   Wander every aisle and look everywhere.  It could be on the lowest aisle, it could be hidden behind other food, it could be near the yogurt.  The best chances are amongst the jelly, honey, and Nutella, usually near the cereal and the coffee.

3)  Cross the street and go to the Alma supermarket in the Asia Park shopping center.  Peanut butter has previously been found in other Alma stores.

4)  Repeat step 2 in Alma.

5)  Find the Bekker supermarket.  If you exit Asia Park and are facing the mosque, turn left and cross the street.  You want to go under the bridge.  There are restaurants here and a small supermarket will be on your right, called Bekker.  It is here where I recently found peanut butter, at over 1000 Tenge a jar.
**Update:  This store no longer exists. **

6)  Repeat step 2 in Bekker.

7)  Head towards the Mega shopping mall.  You can walk there or take bus 35.  Or you can walk back to Khan Shatyr and take bus 43 or 46.  Go to the Ramstore supermarket in Mega.

8)  Repeat step 2 in Ramstore.

9)  Walk towards the circus, cross Kabanbai Batyr Street, to the building with the big Turkish Airlines sign on top of it.  There is another Alma supermarket here.

10)  Repeat step 2 in this Alma.

11)  Go to the bus stop on Kabanbai Batyr Street.  Take bus 30 or 42, getting off at the corner of Abai and Valikhonov Streets.  The Zhanur shopping center is here; inside is Smoll.  Several years ago I could find peanut butter here on a regular basis.

12)  Repeat step 2 in Smoll.

13)  Walk down Valikhonov Street towards the Artyom shopping center/bazaar. You'll pass by another Green supermarket on your right.  I've never found peanut butter here, but it's worth a try.

14)  Repeat step 2 in Green.

15)  Continue towards Artyom.  Across the street from Artyom is a shopping center with another Ramstore.

16)  Repeat step 2 in this Ramstore.

17)  Walk or take a bus down Seifulin Street to Respublika Street.  Get off at the corners of Seifulin and Respublika and turn right.   Another Alma supermarket will be on your left.

18)  Repeat step 2 in this Alma.

19)  Get on a bus to go down Respublika, towards the Rainbow Bridge.  Get off before the Rainbow bridge and walk towards the tall yellow building.  There's another Ramstore here.

20) Repeat step 2 in this Ramstore.

21)  Find a bus stop on Respublika or Tashenov Streets so you can take bus 2 towards Manas Street. Get off on Manas Street across from the Ajar shopping center (which will be on your left).  There's another Ramstore here.

22)  Repeat step 2 in this Ramstore.

23)  Walk towards the Eurasia shopping center (a few blocks).  To the right of Eurasia is a supermarket called 5-Minute or Bakhus.  I have never seen peanut butter here, but a friend claims she did once, several years ago.

24)  Repeat step 2 in this store.

At this point, you've exhausted all the best options.  You can now go slowly through the city, repeating step 1 in every grocery store you come across.  If you find any peanut butter, please let me know!

Of course, if you do find peanut butter, buy all that you can afford.

If you have a car, this entire process will be slightly less time-consuming.  Beware of rush hour traffic.

And when you do find peanut butter, most likely it will be the generic Shop-Rite version (from Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA) and high in hydrogenated oil.  If you're extremely lucky, you'll find the Calve peanut butter from the Netherlands (and please do share with me if you're that lucky!)

Good hunting!


  1. I was in a same search for jalapenos for quite a wile as well... then got lucky and got a jar from Ramstore in Mega (TexMex brand), also found them selling by weight at the stall with olives, gherkins, pickled onions and othe stuff.. quality wise... erm... leaves a lot to be desired... but still better than nothing. :)

    looking for peanut butter now....

    1. I haven't seen peanut butter since I've posted this! I keep looking, though...