04 September 2013

Grocery Shopping in Shanghai

Here in Shanghai, the stores are either sparkly and huge and don't have what I consider staples, or they are small and dirty and they still don't have what I consider staples. The supermarket near us is two floors, and yet I still can't find everything I'd like to find. Such as:
  • oregano (since I couldn't find this, I looked for basil)
  • basil
  • baking powder
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • butter
  • over-the-door shoe organizer
  • dry erase markers
  • paper towels
  • soap dispenser
  • canned tuna
  • tortillas
  • tortilla chips (even though there are tons of potato chips, boohoo!)
  • cheese that isn't that processed stuff

Some of these we have found in other places, but the prices are an astounding subject for another post.

Anyway, maybe these pictures will help you get a feel for grocery shopping in Shanghai:

Shanghai Supermarket
Only supermarkets look like this. Not pictured: the store employees that either stand around and stare at you, or are snoring in a back aisle (no joke--I witnessed two of them on one trip).

Lots of oil in Shanghai stores
Everything you see in this picture is oil. They really like it here. I wish they really liked butter and baked goods, too.

Chinese bin store aisles
Bins. I don't know why there are so many everywhere we go. Laundry, storage, carrying, cooking?

Soy sauce store aisles in Shanghai, China

Two full aisles of soy sauce. I guess this is what they do since they don't have many spices?

Engrish "Hand Extended Noodles"
Labels have some English, but the English doesn't always sound right or make perfect sense. These noodles were extended for you by hand.

Engrish "Whole Theat Toast"
Wait, which label is right? Is this "whole wheat toast" or "whole theat toast"? Is the "theat" thing to get around the fact that it doesn't look remotely wheat-y?

Giant cucumber thing in Shanghai
That is a giant cucumber thingy. You can get slices chopped off for you to take home. You also have to get all of your produce weighed at the weight counter.

Live and dead turtles and toads in store in Shanghai
How do you want your turtles today? Pre-killed or not? How about your toads?

Dead, frozen, whole chickens in store in Shanghai, China

Don't worry about the chickens, though. We'll just kill them and freeze them whole! That way you can just hang them on your scooter by their feet on your way home.

Food with faces
Which will it be? Smiley or frowny?

Yogurt Tupperware in Shanghai
Some foods come in plastic Tupperware, like the limited supply of yogurt. I guess that's good for transporting?

Dirty, stinky produce store in Shanghai

Non-supermarkets look less appealing. Pictured above is the nastiest large store I have ever been in. The floor was dirty, slippery, and littered with abandoned produce, and the smell was horrendous. And yes, that is a guy on a moped/scooter in the store. And an example of the many stares I get that make picture-taking embarrassing. (The things I do for you, tsk, tsk.)


  1. Replies
    1. Michael says they are dessert pastries that probably have red bean filling or something.

  2. I can't figure out the smiley/frowny things, or what is in the Tupperware. I am assuming it isn't really leprechaun cookies.

    1. Hi Julia, thanks for visiting my blog! Michael says those smiley/frowny things are pastries, and it's a pack of yogurt in the Tupperware. :)

  3. This is your random stalker again. Just FYI, I have a brother and a dad one of whom will be making a trip to Shanghai at least every month (my dad usually goes 3 times a month), so if you need small things like spices I can make them bring them to you!

    Is that weird to offer to someone I've never met? I wished people would do it for me when I lived in Taiwan so I'm offering anyway. =)

    1. Again, thanks for being my "random" stalker. I don't get half as many comments as I used to, because now everyone just posts their comments on Facebook. :(

      I totally have a blog post planned wherein I'll beg people to bring things like cheese and butter or to send those items with someone they know coming here, so I would loooooove if you could do that. I don't know how your brother or dad feel about that, so let me know.