We've talked about visiting local farmers' markets to get a flavor for a city, and a similar argument can be made for local grocery stores as well. Even the most suburban, fluorescent-lit supermarket can give an interesting look into everyday life in another town and its people.
Perhaps you'll find a new food item to try out or an inexpensive tool that would be difficult to find in the US. In Italy, for example, you might find several kinds of tomato paste where you'd be lucky to find one at home. And if a language barrier keeps you from figuring out what's in that package of cookies, chalk it up to a taste test adventure.
What's your favorite foreign grocery store find?
(Images: Stephanie Barlow)