China: Grocery Shopping

Not all of the food-related enjoyment in China was eating. Some of it was shopping.

Traditionally, meat and produce has been sold at wet markets. We went to a couple of them, and they were very interesting. The produce and meats are very fresh, and very cheap. I wish we had produce markets like this near me. Although we have farmer’s markets in the summer and fall, they’re only open for a few hours a couple of days a week. It’s not like I can just go to a market any time and get such fresh local produce. Not to mention the live fish and seafood! (I actually do have an Asian market a couple of blocks from my house that sells live fish and has an interesting assortment of produce – but it’s not all that fresh obviously neither the fish nor the produce is local.)

The markets were huge!


And just look at this gorgeous produce. Notice the gigantic zucchini by the woman in the following photo – they would cut off rounds of it, maybe an inch or so thick, so you could just buy a big zucchini wheel.

Have you ever seen such plump, fresh gingerroot?


I don’t know what the fruit is that’s in the bottom right corner of the photo below, but we saw some that appeared to have been grown in some sort of mold so that it had a face embossed into it. It looked like you were buying little shrunken heads:


And one more produce photo just for fun:


But it wouldn’t be a wet market without the fish. There were live fish:


And live snakes:


Live frogs:


and live octopus, shellfish, and other assorted seafood:


Of course, there are also grocery stores. We went to a Merry Mart to look around and pick up a few things. It was huge! The top floor was produce, beverages, canned and dry foodstuffs, imported products, candy, snacks, etc. The main floor was meats (fresh and frozen), dairy, and bakery. The basement was “dry goods” – small appliances, electronics, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, hats, socks, and all sorts of miscellaneous household goods. It sort of reminded me of a Walgreens without all the drugs.

I didn’t take many photos, but here’s an assortment of eggs (I don’t think the brown eggs are naturally brown. I don’t think they were tea eggs, either, but I’m not sure what they were):


The frozen meat section was interesting. The frozen poultry, meat, and seafood was stocked in open bins, so you could just pick out what you wanted:


They also had black chicken. I’d heard of it before, but that was the first time I’d seen it in person. Yes, the skin, meat, and bones are black. I didn’t take a photo because it really didn’t look very appetizing at the store, but if you want to see it, here’s an article at The Kitchn with a photo.

That wraps up the food. Now I can move on to the tourist spots!

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5 Responses to China: Grocery Shopping

  1. Carole says:

    Wow, what great photos and how interesting to see how a different culture handles food sales. You can have the live snakes and frogs but that produce is amazing. Mexico has open bins like that but not with meat and seafood, with bakery items.

  2. highlyreasonable says:

    I would probably pass up the bags o’ snakes and frogs, but that produce and fish is incredible. I love the color and variety! Our sad grocery store offerings look quite pitiful in comparison

  3. Anne says:

    Were the black eggs century eggs? If so they would have smelled bad as well. Love the market photos, I used to love wandering around those places alternatively getting grossed out and fascinated.

    • Cheryl says:

      I don’t think they were century eggs – I don’t think those have black shells like the ones I saw. The ones I saw on the street were evenly black, and were being sold alongside blue-green eggs. I’m guessing they’re duck eggs from a variety of duck that lays black eggs.

  4. zeneedle says:

    The food markets are amazing and all the produce looks fresh and delicious. I’d love to have that huge a variety of fish and produce at any of my markets!

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