While Kuwait has an overall look and feel of modern Europe and North America, shopping here can be a bit like going on a scavenger hunt for some well-known, everyday products. More often than not, you'll need to visit several stores. There's very little one cannot find, if you're only willing to search for it. Not every major grocery store carries the same products, and more often than not, supplies are limited and run out quickly. For example, rinse aid for washing machines can be difficult to find. Dishwasher salt does, on occasion, run short.
Located on Muthana Street in Hawally, directly behind Hawally Park, Al Mohalab Mall is better known as The Titanic Mall, because its shape mimics the deck of a boat.
Sharq Mall is also a popular mall among the locals. It can be found on the Gulf Road, right at the waterfront with spectacular views of incoming container ships headed for the main port .
Marina World is the second biggest shopping mall in Kuwait. Like Sharq Mall, Marina Mall is also located along the coastline in the area of Salmiya. The mall has many retail clothing stores, a sports store and numerous restaurants.
Al-Kout Mall is located in Fahaheel, just outside Kuwait, and also on the waterfront. Visitors to this mall will find one of Kuwait's most famous attractions, a dancing water fountain, which is the only one in Kuwait.
The Laila Gallery a small but classy complex located on Salem Mubarak Street, in Salmiyyah. The Mall has a movie theater attached to it.
Al Hamra Tower, the tallest tower in Kuwait, is also home to an elaborate shopping mall with name brand retailers, coffee shops and many restaurants inside. It is also the world's tallest sculpted tower.
Al-Fanar Mall is a small but unique shopping center in Kuwait. It too is popular with locals, especially during the evening hours.
The Avenues is probably the biggest, and certainly the most popular shopping mall in Kuwait. A new phase was recently opened offering visitors the chance to sample some of America's most popular restaurants. The mall has a large grocery store, a movie theater, an IKEA store and over 150 name brand stores.
The Magic Mall is located next to one of Kuwait's best sandy beaches.
The mall encompasses 82,000 square meters of luxury shops and holds Kuwait's largest collection of international designer brands. It has a large grocery store, and indoor entertainment center for kids, a movie theater and plenty of quality restaurants.
For oddball knick-knacks and unique gifts, this enormous open-air, weekly market is very popular with locals and expats. It provides a unique look into contemporary Kuwaiti culture. However, shoppers should avoid buying meats from the market and note that counterfeit money is known to pass through here.
This small market offers craft workshops for visitors, along with a chance to stroll along the coastline. Opening times vary for the workshops and some crafts are for sale. Not-for-the-faint-hearted crafts include stuffed bustard, an endangered bird, and shell decorations that you wouldn't wish on your enemy.
This market is located in the heart of downtown Kuwait City. Middle Eastern and Oriental items are readily available as well as a gold and jewelry market.
The fish market is one of the most interesting things to see in Kuwait. It's a giant, bustling building filled with endless rows of counters stocked high with fish from all around the Middle East. The interior is kept very clean with people hosing down the floor.
There are no shortages of supermarkets in Kuwait. All carry name brand products from across the world such as Asia, North and South America and Europe. Most products come from the US, with many more coming from the UK. Fresh fruits, vegetables and meats (excluding pork) are all available in any of these supermarkets. Selection and quality do tend to vary between each store so you may have to shop around to find any specialty items. You will not find any products containing pork, or even traces of pork.
Opening hours vary from store to store. Some, like the Sultan Center and Geant are open 24/7. It's not uncommon to find entire families shopping late into the night at many grocery stores across Kuwait.
Below is a list of the major shopping stores in Kuwait, along with a link to their respective website.
As a Muslim nation, pork and alcohol are not allowed in Kuwait. Possession of these banned products is illegal and can result in arrest, a fine, deportation, or all three.
However, that does not abate many expat's desire for the banned products. Expats who would like to drink alcohol or eat pork, should consider taking a 90 minute flight to Dubai, where it is legal to purchase and consume both. Pork is legally sold at Spinneys.