grocery prices canada

Family compares cost of a week's worth of groceries in Malaysia vs. Canada

With the cost of living skyrocketing, one Canadian couple is planning to relocate to Malaysia for a more affordable lifestyle — and that includes cheaper groceries.

Married couple Sana, 32, and Muhammad William Saleh, 37, are social media content creators who manage the YouTube channel Saleh Family, which has 1.3 million subscribers.

They're also business owners who run Lala Hijabs, a company that sells hand-dyed and colourful hijabs. Sana and Muhammad were born in Canada and grew up in Okanagan, B.C., then moved to Ontario once they had kids.

The family, currently in Malaysia, plans to move there permanently this fall, and they've been taking their viewers along on their journey.

In one video, they head to Village Grocer, a local supermarket, which Sana says is "comparable to the stores we shop at in Canada."

However, there are some differences.

"We find dairy and beef to be quite expensive here. All of it is imported, even butter," Sana said. "We notice things are smaller in size than in Canada, but the quality is pretty good. Some items are not the best, though, like chips."

While supermarkets might be lacking in the quality of snacks, it's easier to find halal products.

"In Canada, we barely find anything that we can eat without having to read ingredients first and the selection for meat is very little," said Sana. "We can go to any restaurant or any grocery store here and be confident that it is all halal and Muslim friendly."

She said their food costs have dropped significantly since they've been eating out more.

"To give you an example, a family meal for all of us is generally over $100 back in Canada, and that's not exaggerating," said Sana in a video where they detail the differences in the cost of living. "You can get by on, like, $20 to $30 and get a lot of food for the whole family to eat."

We wanted to compare the prices of groceries in Malaysia and Canada, so we decided to go with Walmart Canada for consistency.

Here's how a weekly shopping trip in Malaysia stacks up against Walmart Canada.

Bananas

Malaysia: 5.57 ringgit/6 pieces ($1.59)
Canada: $1.80/6 pieces

Blueberries

Malaysia: 10.90 ringgit/125 g ($3.12)
Canada: $5.97/277 g ($2.15/100 g)

Gala apples

Malaysia: 11.20 ringgit/6 pieces ($3.21)
Canada: $4.74 for 6 (79 cents each)

Watermelon

Malaysia: 13.47 ringgit/3.37 kg ($3.86)
Canada: $8.97/5.98 kg

Eggs

Malaysia: 7.35 ringgit per dozen ($2.10)
Canada: $3.87 per dozen

Chicken breast

Malaysia: 11.29 ringgit/0.45kg ($3.23)
Canada: $14/4 pieces ($1.51/100g)

Plain yogurt

Malaysia: 18.70 ringgit ($5.36)
Canada: $3.28

Butter

Malaysia: 15.95 ringgit/500 g ($4.57)
Canada: $7.28/454 g

Milk

Malaysia: 16.20 ringgit/2L ($4.64)
Canada: $5.38/2L

Orange juice

Malaysia: 11.90 ringgit/2L ($3.41)
Canada: $7.79/2.63L

Water

Malaysia: 8.20 ringgit/6L ($2.35)
Canada: $1.24/4L

Whole wheat bread

Malaysia: 4.65 ringgit ($1.33)
Canada: $3.97

Diapers

Malaysia: 49 ringgit/44 pieces ($14.05)
Canada: $19.97/64 pieces

Although Village Grocer is pricier by local standards, the supermarket sells many imported items. During this shopping trip, a week's worth of groceries cost the Salehs 473.71 ringgit ($135.85) — still cheaper than their average weekly grocery bill of $200 in Canada.

Sana said that for those who want to cut food costs, Malaysia has wet markets and other grocery stores where food is significantly cheaper.

"So it totally depends on your preference," she said. "For us, we always shop at grocery stores like we have in the West, where it is all easy to shop."

Lead photo by

Saleh Family/YouTube


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