Adventures in grocery shopping!

Although we arrived 3 days ago with a small basket of fruit in our place, that wasn’t nearly enough food to curb those “hangry” moments that we both suffer from now and then. So on Monday, it was off to the grocery store(s).  We did a little research of supermarkets in the area and went to the front desk to have our choices written out in Hanzi (written Chinese) to show our driver, Mr. Jia.  He knows about as many words in English as we do in Mandarin, but that doesn’t matter…Google Translate and Pleco App to the rescue!  It’s fun to muddle through conversation with him with all three of us trying to explain ourselves by gesturing, pointing and laughing trying to get our point across.  The sign language interpreter in me is really loving these linguistic moments!

I’m sorry, but for now, it looks like you’ve grabbed a pen out of the pencil cup and just scribbled to see if it still works or not!

So Paul and I had a rough idea of what we wanted to shop for, but of COURSE we had to go up and down every. single. aisle.  Looking at everything!  So overwhelming, so interesting, so stressful, so fun! The first place we went to is called City Shop.  A mostly an imported grocery store, we found a few things including…

“Pardon me. Do you have any hot dog sauce?”

I just love the juxtaposition on this!

When we went to check out, the cashier asked if we had ??? (sorry, we can’t understand you!). So it turns out she pointed to a poster on the wall showing their frequent shopper card! Since we didn’t have one, Paul filled out the form including name, address, phone number, email address and passport number. Passport number? We’re still shrugging our shoulders at that one, but I guess that’s what happens when you live in a communist country.

After grabbing a few things, we were off to Carrefour.  It’s a much larger store with a wider selection including a small electronics and small appliance section. So many local people…now THIS is the fun and confusion we were looking for! And check out this sweet ride just outside their door!


They have those locking-type shopping carts like Aldi where you have to insert a coin into a contraption to use their cart. Luckily, I had a few, but wasn’t sure which to use. I went to the customer service desk, held out my handful of coins and asked “which one do I need to get a cart?” The puzzled look on the woman’s face said it all. I then mimed pushing a shopping cart, held out my coins again, pointed to the coins, pointed to the carts, shrugged my shoulders and smiled. She then grabbed the appropriate one (don’t know the monetary system yet), handed it to me and gave me that “get off my lawn” hand sweeping motion.  Sorry…I just know about 4 words!

Paul willingly did his usual cart pushing duties as I looked around. So many interesting things! Cold ass? How about buying one of these? Cozy, warm and plush with a full-on display of many patterns, colors and fabrics to choose from to match your throne room. It’s cushy for your tushie! Imagine the static shock as you are about to go about your business…


Which shade of black would you like? Jet? Coal? Ebony?

Vegetables for students? Does this mean I have to start eating this in a few weeks?

Chicken foot! Not for a million dollars!

Oodles of noodles!

Fancy cut pineapple

Dragon Fruit…beautiful on the inside and out


The bakery department made us “Year of the Monkey” cookies!

Fun packaging in the frozen foods section…RAWR RAWR RAWR

Cute novelty ice cream. Which reminds me…Shanghai Disney will be opening in the spring!

Our four hour shopping extravaganza was so much fun! A few interesting things that we noticed are that all food items have 2 dates on them. One date is the packaged date and the other is the expiration date. Every non-Chinese food product has a sticker about 2″ x 3″ with product information in Chinese. Eggs were not chilled. I’ve heard of that before, but so used to seeing them in the cooler at home. But the highlight of our trip with checking out the Chinese New Year goodies when an elderly gentleman came up to look at them too. He started talking to me. I started talking to him. Both of us had no clue what the other was saying, but somehow I think we did 🙂

I’m so glad Paul whipped out his phone for this awesome moment!

OK…I lied. This guy was a close second to the elderly man. Those of you that know me well, know that Frenchies make me swoon! (S)he was in a pet grooming saloon/ pet store. Don’t even get me started…


17 thoughts on “Adventures in grocery shopping!

  1. I’ve been waiting for your first post about life there, this did not disappoint! What an adventure… And please tell me you got the gig, Gomez needs a Sister!

  2. How fun!!! I am so excited for you both!! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures!! Great writing!! Enjoy!!

  3. I love shopping at our various Asian stores! Most of the packages have some vague pictorial instructions. An old Chinese saying: “If it’s back faces heaven, it’s edible.”

  4. Oh, this is delightful! Sure glad that you are taking the long way to San Pedro. And thank you very much for taking me along!
    May I reblog this story?

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