Foraging For Supplies

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March 21st 2007
Published: March 21st 2007
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Smile for the camera!Smile for the camera!Smile for the camera!

Smashed pig face. Many dried things hang out for purchase. This one is just plain too cute to eat! Now where would you begin anyway????

So where do those expats shop for their daily food anyway??? After living here awhile, I’ve discovered there are many approaches to buying food. Some prefer to have their ayi’s do all the shopping and cooking and they never set foot in a food store. Some only frequent international food stores, believing the quality to be higher and (most importantly), safer. Some only shop Chinese locations for cost savings. Me, I do a blend of all of the above. Most usually, I ride my bike to a nearby Carrefore store, which is like a Chinese version of Meijers. Here one can find important things like toiletries and electronics, as well as food of many quality levels. Always crowded, always has annoying, bouncy, techno music, and always takes way longer than I want to spend. Now, there’s also a large selection of little bread shops popping up all around Shanghai. My most recent find was The House of Flour, where I found delicious whole grain bread and a nice proprietor. My favorite place to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables is at a nearby “wet market”. Here there are few, if any, Caucasians and a large assortment of fruit, vegetable, and grain

Inside, Carrefore resembles a Wal Mart or Meijers. Many sections. Lots of noise as there is lively music and various people with microphones offering sale items in many of the departments. On weekends and before holidays, these aisles are packed so tightly it's difficult to move.
sellers. Of course, it requires a bit of an adventuresome spirit to enter the place as you get many stares. Also, if you intend to head through the fish and meat sections (and for the fun of it, I would advise that you do!), a bit of intestinal fortitude is required! Knowing enough of the language to negotiate pricing is helpful, but not necessary as pointing fingers and using hand gestures often gets the point across. Amazingly, the people are friendly and so happy to help you. But still, the adventure doesn’t end there, because often I’m not even sure what the item is I’ve bought until I get home and try to figure out how to cook with it. Now that’s another blog I think………

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


Turtles, and frogs, and eels....Oh My!Turtles, and frogs, and eels....Oh My!
Turtles, and frogs, and eels....Oh My!

The chinese will proudly tell you, "Chinese people eat many things!", and they aren't kidding. Many years they had no food so everything became potential food sources. Now they find our American food to be a bit "boring". How do you suppose these delicacies are prepared once at home??
House of FlourHouse of Flour
House of Flour

This new bread and lunch shop opened about 10 minutes from my home. Wonderful whole grain bread - which is somewhat hard to find here. White bread is plentiful and delicious, but like all areas of food in China, healthy, whole grain versions are more difficult to locate. The expats have quite a verbal network it seems and as soon as a new place emerges, we're all reviewing it!
Fresh vegies at the wet marketFresh vegies at the wet market
Fresh vegies at the wet market

The fresh vegies are so unusual, plentiful and colorful. This Chinese woman is my favorite. Always happy to see me and always puts more vegetables in my bag than I pay for. She'll add green onions, garlic, or fresh ginger free of charge with a large smile all the while talking rapidly to me in Chinese. The cost for 2 large bunches of broccoli - with extra vegies thrown in - 50 cents!
Why the wet market is called the "wet" market!Why the wet market is called the "wet" market!
Why the wet market is called the "wet" market!

The men in the large, wet, fish section of the market gladly posed for pictures, lifting fish heads, and even large flailing fish for me to photograph. The floor is wet, the tables lined with fresh, very wet, fish, and watch where you step to avoid stepping into bins with anything from eels to crabs to turtles.

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