Beginners’ Spanish: food and drink
Beginners’ Spanish: food and drink

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Beginners’ Spanish: food and drink

Actividad 1

Markets in Spain and Latin America are full of vibrant colours, noise, scents and fresher products than you would find in most supermarkets. In this activity you will practise how to shop for recipe ingredients.


Pilar, a regular customer at the market, is comparing prices in the frutería before she buys anything. Listen to the following audio track and write down the prices you hear, as in the example.

Escucha y escribe.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Fruit and vegetables
Skip transcript: Fruit and vegetables

Transcript: Fruit and vegetables

Here’s someone asking about the price of fruit and vegetables.

—¿Cuánto valen los plátanos?

—Uno cincuenta el kilo.

—¿A cuánto están los limones?

—Los limones a uno veinte el kilo.

—¿Cuánto vale el kilo de patatas?

—Setenta céntimos.

—¿A cuánto está el kilo de tomates?

—A uno setenta.

—¿Y cuánto cuesta esta lechuga?

—La lechuga noventa céntimos. Pero ¿compra o no compra?

End transcript: Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).



  • plátanos – uno cincuenta el kilo (€1,50)limones – uno veinte el kilo (€1,20)
  • patatas – setenta céntimos el kilo (€0,70)
  • tomates – uno setenta el kilo (€1,70)
  • lechuga – noventa céntimos (€0,90)

Language: Asking for prices

Here are some useful expressions to ask for prices when shopping for food.

¿Cuánto es?How much is it?
¿Cuánto vale / cuesta?How much does it cost?
¿Cuánto valen / cuestan?How much do they cost?

When asking the price of goods whose prices fluctuate daily, like fish or fruit in markets, the following expressions are used.

¿A cuánto está el bacalao?How much is cod going for (today)?
¿A cuánto están las cerezas?How much are cherries (today)?


The verb valer, commonly used to ask for prices, means literally ‘to be worth’. It is also used very frequently in the following expressions.

Vale la pena.It is worth it.
No vale la pena.It is not worth it.


Now listen to the audio track below and follow the prompts to ask for the prices of the items you hear.

Escucha y habla.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Prices
Skip transcript: Prices

Transcript: Prices

Use the prompts to ask the price of each item.



¿Cuánto cuestan los calamares?


¿Cuánto valen los calamares?

Now it’s your turn.


—¿Cuánto cuestan los huevos?


—¿Cuánto cuesta la mantequilla?

(queso de cabra)

—¿Cuánto cuesta el queso de cabra?


—¿Cuánto valen las madalenas?


—¿Cuánto vale el chorizo?


—¿Cuánto cuesta el pollo?

End transcript: Prices
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Here is some vocabulary for items of food that you may want to buy. Match the phrases in Spanish with the relevant products.


  1. una botella de aceite
  2. una caja de galletas
  3. una bolsa de patatas fritas
  4. una bandeja de dulces
  5. un paquete de arroz
  6. una lata de atún


1–(e); 2–(b); 3–(c); 4–(f); 5–(d); 6–(a).


Listen to the following audio track and match the quantities listed below with the relevant products, as you hear them mentioned. Which quantity or product has not been mentioned?

Escucha y relaciona.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Shopkeeper and customer
Skip transcript: Shopkeeper and customer

Transcript: Shopkeeper and customer

Listen to this dialogue between a shopkeeper and a customer.

—¿Qué le pongo?

—Me da cien gramos de queso.

—Sí. ¿Algo más?

—Sí, un cuarto de jamón.

—¿Otra cosita?

—Sí, un kilo de zanahorias y un kilo de plátanos.

—¿Algo más?

—Hmm… Ah sí. Un litro de leche y media docena de huevos, por favor.

—¿Es todo?

—Eh… sí. ¿Cuánto es, por favor?

End transcript: Shopkeeper and customer
Shopkeeper and customer
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
  1. 100 gramos de…
  2. un cuarto de kilo de…
  3. medio kilo de…
  4. un kilo de…
  5. un litro de….
  6. media docena de…


1–(c); 2–(d); 4–(b) and (e); 5–(a); 6–(f).

The quantity that was not mentioned was medio kilo.


Weights and measures are metric in all Spanish-speaking countries, so when someone says un cuarto de or medio de it is assumed that it is a quarter of a kilo or half a kilo.

Language: Weights and quantities

Here are some of the more common phrases used to talk about weights and quantities when shopping.

un kilo de fresasa kilo of strawberries
medio kilo de carne picadahalf a kilo of mince
un cuarto de kilo de queso de cabraa quarter of a kilo of goat's cheese
un litro de aceite de olivaa litre of olive oil
una docena de huevosa dozen eggs
media docena de huevoshalf a dozen eggs
una lata de espárragosa tin of asparagus
una caja de bombonesa box of chocolates
una bolsa de magdalenasa bag of fairy cakes
un paquete de azúcara packet of sugar
una bandeja de canapésa tray of canapés
una botella de zumo de naranjaa bottle of orange juice

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