There are many places to get groceries. Wet markets are a favorite, but I must admit that I don’t go to them as much as I might like, partly because they require a minitrek to a neighborhood center, and partly because Xiao Yang cooks for us enough that I don’t need large quantities of veggies (I may well post about them later, though). Foreign stores (Euromart, Freshmart, and others) that carry difficult to get items like cheese, black beans, tortillas, and Kix are also regular stops for us, although we try to get enough when we go to never go more than twice a month. Euromart’s on the other side of Jinji Lake, so it’s a trek too, and the fact that they deliver for free makes it possible to buy lots without having to worry about how to drag it home. Right outside our gate is Chun Store, where we do most of our day to day shopping. It’s a Taiwanese store, with basics for people from all over the world (peanut butter, Japanese curry powder, and kaffir lime leaves are all available) and has fresh milk, basic fruit, butter, pasta, basically most of the everyday stuff. Nearby is O’Best Bakery, with “toast” bread ready for pb&j or toasted cheese. But today I’m going to give you a glimpse of going to the supermarket, in our case the Vanguard store that is the anchor of the mall down on the corner.
It’s a two-story store, on the second and third stories of the mall. The ideal shopper goes in on the upper floor, past electronics and clothing, then through toys, housewares, and other sorts of dry goods. They always have seasonal things in the center of the aisles.
Right before New Years, they were full of sheep; just after that was replaced by back to school supplies for kids going back after the long break.
Once you’ve made it through with your batteries, dishes, and shampoo, and hopefully not too many toys, you go down an escalator into food. You begin with the bakery and prepared foods, go through fruit, veggies, and meat, and end up in the foods in boxes, bulk staples, etc.
It’s very loud in the perishables. Competing barkers yell out deals for meat and fruit, and recording megaphones set on repeat yell out deals without the need of a person.
The seafood section includes live fish and very smelly and extensive collections of dried seaweed, shrimp, and fish.
At this time of year, dried meats of all sorts, including duck and sausages, are also available.
Along the way, big bins of ice hold various specialties, including shark sometimes, and chicken feet.
The last part of the store is quite familiar to anyone who’s been to a grocery store. Big wide aisles, promotional items in the most trafficked areas.
Big coolers full of perishables, including lots of yogurt (all of it sweetened, and some of it aloe flavored). Boxed milk is quite popular to give to children. Our ayi gave B a big box full of little boxes of milk at New Year’s (along with lots of candy and treats)
What is in the aisles is a little different than you would find in the US. There is a larger ramen selection than you have probably ever seen.
And what counts as a tasty snack is a little different.