Apr 26, 2007

Food Shopping in Shanghai

During my ten-day stay in Shanghai, we ate street food. But we also shopped at Carre Four, a French-based mega grocery store in Pudong. From a distance, the shelves seem familiar. Close up, the cultural differences become apparent. The variety of food is mindboggling, the labels are in Chinese, the clerks do not speak English, and often the food is live.

Fresh seafood...

...including live eels

...and live turtles. Poor dears. In the meat section one can hear the steady chop chop chop of meat cleavers separating fresh beef from bone.

A sampling of noodles and rice. One container that fed five adults and two children cost the equivalent of U.S. $1.50.

Take away food. This is a Chinese "salad bar". You pick out the ingredients and ladle them onto a tray. Then you visit a clerk, who mixes your choices to your specification with oils, sauces, spices, and other condiments. This section is packed with well-to-do Chinese on Saturdays and Sundays.

More choices from the "salad bar."

Chewing gum aisle. The candy and chips aisles are even more extensive.

A variety of meat- or vegetable-filled dumplings, all freshly made.

And enormous amounts of fresh and dried fruit and vegetables. People are standing in line (if you look closely) for fresh eggs, which had just arrived that morning.

Prices were amazingly different from what I expected. California wines were more expensive than French wines, and Great Wall wines cost only $3/bottle.

Chocolate chips were prohibitive at $8/bag, but kroepoek (shrimp wafers common to the Philippines or Indonesia) cost only 30 cents per bag of approximately 60 precooked chips. I found American foods in the imports aisle, and spicy condiments, such as sambal, for 1/10 the price I am accustomed to paying.


jinxy said...

I know you were in heaven. I fondly remember how cheap chocolate, beer and champagne/wine were when I lived in Luxembourg.

The selection at the market looks amazing though. I can only imagine how long it would take me to go grocery shopping.

Linda Merrill said...

Thanks for the shopping trip! Always fun to visit another culture's market. Although, am feeling sad for the turtles. Yet, I have no problem with lobster - so go figure!

Big Fella said...

So did you try the dumplings? If I were there, I woulda OD'd on them. Nice little report, I gave you a shoutout over at Chowhound.com: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/395897

Ms. Place said...

I am giving the dumplings their own section, big fella! And thanks for the shout out. Please find your own wonderful column on my blog roll lists.

Lynette said...

what a fantastic trip through the chinese market! the images are gorgeous. shrimp chips? bleeeh. live turtles ~ oh no! so much to see. i'd have been on sensory overload. glad you're back. lucky you. maybe me too, one day.