Monday, August 27, 2007

Grocery shopping in China

Let me walk you through my experiences of grocery shopping in China. What you think may be child’s play is not so here. Obviously language being an issue, so one must inspect or smell the item to determine the contents.

We are restricted in our list as we do not have anything to cook with at this time, and personally speaking even if we did, I am not sure it would make that much of a difference. Not just due to the lack of our culinary skills, just because we wouldn't know what to do with most of the food that we see here.

Grocery List:

Okay, you would think that this is simple…or is it?

The fruits and vegetables are fairly simple and many look like items we would have back home, though the types of salad greens they have don’t look that healthy, but we figure that’s because we are in China and things are a bit different. After you pick your items, you weigh your purchases and move on, except here in China, everyone wants to be first in line, and think nothing of pushing you out of the way as they are really big with being the first in line. You give them a look that says I can’t believe you just did that, and they give you a look back that says, what’s your problem?

We move along as I need to get salad dressing. There is a wall with 10 shelves, that has nothing but Soy Sauce, and some vinegars but absolutely no salad dressing. People gaze at this, like they were purchasing fine wines. They take their soy sauce very seriously here. There were a couple of red wine vinegars. Edlin tells me the art of finding decent vinegar which by the way we didn't find. She turns the bottle over, and tells me that you need to look at the sediment on the bottom. If there is sediment, than don't buy it. We tried 4 and all appeared to be bad. The last one leaked on my hands, and smelled like very bad red wine. I think I will forgo the salad idea, I tell her. Edlin knows of a better place to get vinegar and will take me their on another day. Guess what Emily?

Next stop is for milk. You head over to the refrigerated section to find yogurt but no milk. Odd you say? Yes, yes, it is. It is on a shelf in a box, which would seem odd, but it is vacuumed sealed, and once opened you put in the fridge. Your options do not include skim or 1 or 2% milk. It's by name brands and the only recognizable one is Nestle. Apparently it tastes similar to the milk back home. Mark didn’t think so.

Then we see potato chips and figure let’s check this out. Interesting flavours here. One can choose from red meat sauce, to cucumber flavour, or chicken flavor. They even have chicken drum stick flavour Cheetos here. No barbecue, or salt and vinegar chip, though I did pick up the cucumber flavour and will report back to you on that.

Lastly, I headed over to the bread section. I have been unable to find good bread here and thought Edlin may be able to shed some light. She tried. Okay back home, we get whole wheat, 7 or 12 grain, white, bagels, croissants, rye bread etc. Here you get sweet, sweeter, or sweetest. The long French baguettes from home are now just a distant memory. Everything is stuffed with something sweet in it. You think you are buying rolls, or baguettes but nope, you get desert with this to whether you want to or not. Guess what your are bringing Emily?

It’s a sad day, when I ask Edlin, is this good and her reply is, ah, it’s not so bad. Back home you would say, it’s good, or delicious, here when someone says it’s not bad, you buy it.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading every day and enjoying your blog. I also forwarded it to some friends of mine that are adopting from China. This grocery store story reminds me of my trip to Japan. It reminded me why there were all the size of a toothpick also. Not like your going to over eat crappy food.... :)

Tina said...

Thank you for reading leaving comments and glad you enjoy our blog. We attempt to add humour into our daily life, to what some friends have consider insanity.