There are many household chores that bother me. Grocery shopping is not one of them. The older I get, the more I enjoy cooking and picking out food to do that is just part of it for me. I’m not the biggest Walmart fan, but even shopping there doesn’t really bother me. I do prefer the stores that sell more organic and/or local foods and like to pick out fresh produce and European cheeses and good bread when my budget allows it, but for the non-food items like detergent etc. Walmart’s prices are just hard to beat. When we travel, it’s fun to do a little grocery shopping as well. Many things related to food are so different and depend on the local culture: how and where people buy groceries, if you have to bargain for the price, how the food is prepared, the way food is enjoyed, and much more. When we are in Guangzhou we stay with family, so accompanying them when buying groceries is just part of the trip. What we found is that grocery shopping in China can be as Western as you want it to be or as local as you dare to go.
In Guangzhou we found quite a few big Western-looking supermarket chains (like Metro or Jusco). These are great if you want foreign delicacies and/or a squeaky clean environment. Jusco is for example where we bought all the sushi and sashimi we ate that one night. This however is not where most locals would shop.
I saw many, many street carts around the city where people stopped and bought bananas, live chicken, and so on. While the bananas were totally fine for me, the chickens and the veggies on the ground were a little too much for me honestly. The streets are not that clean in Guangzhou and some of the food is a little too close to the dirty ground for my comfort.
There are food stores that lay out part of their stuff right in front of the store on the streets. Then there are also what looked liked really clean and modern mini-supermarkets with a ton of different fruit and veggies laid out on stands inside. I wish we had some of these around here in Lubbock! We stopped at one of those to buy some delicious dragon fruit last time.
Something else that seems super popular in Guangzhou are little stores that sell everything from food to household cleaners and tons of little gadgets. The American version of that would be a 7-11.
However, I think that probably most of the grocery shopping in China is done in these huge supermarket-like malls with food stands that seem to have everything from fruits and vegetables to meat. Some are outside, some are inside, some seem fairly clean, some really seem somewhat dirty. What groced me out where the meat stands with some things hanging from the top of the stand, some things being laid out on the stand, and sometimes a little blood running down the side of the stand or on the floor. I found what looked like dog legs hanging down on stand to be the worst…
Check out the pics below for our Chinese grocery shopping experience in Guangzhou.
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