Grocery Shopping in China

December 29, 2012

Grocery Shopping in China

One of the best things about family travel, is just doing ordinary things in extraordinary places. Who would guess that just grocery shopping around the world is part of a good travel education?

In basic ways, unlike the shopping markets, grocery stores are not so different around the world, but dealing with cultural and language challenges usually comes up and often very different kinds of food as well. For a family into organic food and health choices, reading labels and deciding what to buy can be a challenge and adventure.

We had an apartment rental from Wimdu when we were in Xian that I will be writing about soon, thus that meant going to a grocery store so we could cook some of our own food. Truthfully, I have some fears about food in China, but then I do about food in the USA and every where. We made simple choices like free range eggs and veggies and hoped for the best and it seemed to work for us.

Local Bruce Zhang, our great travel guide in Xi'an, was kind enough to help us with our shopping because even with our daughter being fluent in Mandarin, it was great to have the help. DaVinci did grocery shop some on his own in Beijing, including at a Carrefour store ( that are popular hypermarkets in Europe, especially France that we know from there but are very different in China). It was always easier when he took Mozart, but if he was alone, he kept asking until he found an English speaker to help.

Notice all the Christmas decorations? That surprised me all over China as most don't really celebrate Christmas there, but it IS common in most of Asia to see Christmas decorations and we even see it here in Penang which is a Muslim country. ( There are Christians of course and other religions here as it is a multicultural country, but Christians are an extremely tiny minority here, so the holiday is not celebrated by many).

One thing that surprised us was the loud speaker bargains going on in Beijing which seemed to just add to the sensory overload and crowds. Also because we were the only Caucasians in the store, we...especially Mozart with her long blond a lot of attention. She was even "stalked" by some young girls her age, for a bit, who ( after they all got over their shyness) seemed pleasantly surprised to find out she could speak Mandarin fluently.

Have you had adventures in grocery stores while abroad?

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