Life in China is as adventurous as going to the supermarket

Life in China is full of surprises and adventure. Even when you visit the French supermarket Carrefour and head to it’s meat section. It’s not problem if you’re not sure what to cook or which ingredients fit together. You can just pick one ideal-meal-package that includes all the meat and vegetables you need! In Finland we would just choose a ready made macaroni casserole and eat it with ketchup. So boring!

In Finland there’s a growing demand to avoid food additives and eat less processed food. More and more people want to know what they are actually eating. In China finding out is easy because even in Carrefour you can have a close look what kind of duck is it that you are planning on buying.  In Finland we would just google it.

I’m not an expert, but then there’s something I’m not sure is it for humans or for animals. I am sure that my cat Lucy would love to try her teeth on this juicy piece of meat, but I wouldn’t be too thrilled to share (I mean she can eat it all by herself!). It feels strange that there aren’t any covers for the fridge-kind-of-thing. It must waste a lot of energy.

The best part is something I can’t share with you through a blog. You have to experience it yourself. Go to the middle of the meat section in any store or supermarket or just a market in China and breathe. Breathe through your nose to be exact. You will know what I’m talking about.

Am I exaggerating? Tell you the truth I have no idea how are the supermarkets in the States, in France or in Malaysia. If you have a supermarket story on your blog (no matter from where) please share the link in the comments!

 

From Thursday noon until Friday evening I spent in Hong Kong and learned a lot. 1. Digital cameras aren’t cheaper there. 2. When someone knows English, there’s is more ways to fool you. 3. Some rules you can bend, but not the ones you really want. More about my Hong Kong trip will be posted  during the following days!

  • Brandi

    Hi again Sara! You stated it so well: Chinese supermarkets (even the Chinese ones here in the US, in Chinatown in NYC especially) are adventures indeed. Have you gone to the wet markets as well? They’re even bigger adventures =)

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    I’ve been to a wet market but can’t really stay there that long because the smell makes me sick :)

    [Reply]

  • Justin

    You think Finnish palate is bland… Here in Canada, I get weird looks from friends when I eat mac and cheese with ketchup.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    So the ketchup is too much for them? Finnish food doesn’t usually have as much flavour as Chinese food does and is quite plain. But still Finnish food is the best food in the world because I grew up by eating it. This reminds me that I need to buy an oven so I can make more Finnish dishes!

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    Nah, Canadians (white Canadians I mean) love ketchup, I think it’s just the combination of mac and cheese + ketchup that they find odd. I’ve noticed that some westeners (not all)can be ridiculously conservative about food, basically refusing try much of anything they haven’t eaten before.

    Maybe it’s because I grew up with both western and Chinese cuisines (born in China, lived in Germany, USA etc), I’m almost always looking for new foods to try and it baffles me how my roommate could eat cheese sandwich day in and day out.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    I think that people miss a lot, especially if they are traveling or living in China, if they don’t try different dishes. Of course if you’re a vegetarian or follow a certain diet, it’s understandable. But the wilder experience you got the less strict you are.

    [Reply]

  • C

    i felt gruesome looking at the first photo. i could literally throw up and get sick! i can’t get used to seeing that in a package combined with veg.!!!

    sanitary is not their first priority either

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Do you eat chicken? I like that in China I’m reminded where the meat comes from. Because I eat meat I also want to be sure that I’m ok with the fact what it is. In Finland many people seem to foget that chicken is an animal, not just slices of meat in a sauce at the supermarket.

    Hygiene really isn’t as good as in the West, but amazingly I haven’t got any problems with food in here. Not a single food poisoning. (Sure I get one soon when I’m boasting about it here!)

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @C It may not be as unsanitary as you think. Judging by the veggies in the container, they look like ingredients for a soup or a stew, which involves boiling at high temp for an extended period of time thus killing whatever germs that may have gotten cross-contaminated from the raw chicken and beef.

    @ Sara Hope you haven’t jinx yourself, haha.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    I love Chinese food, but Finnish food is always the number one. Especially when living abroad. I also like trying new things, but there’s a limit somewhere ;)

    [Reply]

    C Reply:

    i really wish they did not have to put the chicken head to remind me it’s meat of the chicken, i’m buying. I don’t like eating meat but i need to cos my body needs it. Chicken and fish is what i can take, no more other animals beyond that!

    [Reply]

  • Would be interested in a post about Hong Kong since I’m going there in october! :) Interesting blog you have here, I’ll come again..

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Is there something special you would like to know about Hong Kong? I’m going back there in two weeks and then again in August. If you have something on your mind, maybe I have time to find out and take some photos. Are you going there to travel?

    You can also find few small tips in Finnish from a gues post I wrote a while ago: Vinkkeja Hong Kongiin

    [Reply]

  • Rebekah

    OH! The wonderful smell of the Asian grocery store! It doesn’t matter what city I am in, there are certain stores that just smell SO bad you cannot stay. I think the LEAST smelly one I have been to here(In Philadelphia,PA,USA)has been HMart…It is a Korean grocery store. Their meat/seafood section is the ONLY Asian market in this area that doesn’t smell rotten. My personal opinion however is it must be more healthy and less preserved if it smells like that!

    And it never stops me from eating Asian cuisine.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your smelly grocery store experience Rebekah! It’s doesn’t stop me form eating either, but I just prefer to send my boyfriend to buy the meat. I’m not evern sure how to buy meat when it’s not all packed and with a “used before” stamp.

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Reply:

    Haha…If I tried to send my super Americanized Asian boyfriend to the Asian supermarket he would say: “Let’s go to McDonald’s.” I am the one who likes to learn about Asian cooking, and yes, those meat departments are hard to navigate!

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    That’s a funny thing Rebekah! So you are interested in Asian dishes and he is interested in American dishes? What about in other parts of culture?

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Reply:

    He seems to be very Americanized, where as I tend to be very open about culture. I don’t think it helps I have many different nationalities in my background. I think one place where it is an issue is that he LOVES American music and I love Chinese music….So funny!

    [Reply]

  • C

    you should write a blog post about why you like finnish food?

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    I could absolutely do that. Would you like photos of Finnish food too? If yes, then we have to wait until I get back to Finland next year. I will keep this in mind!

    [Reply]

    C Reply:

    yes please.

    is Finnish food any different from western food? like fish and chips, with big salads and with lots of bread…?

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Finnish people do like to eat lot of bread but I guess the speciality is the rye bread. We don’t really have fish and chips, but we do eat salads. Some just less than others. I have to say that I’m not even sure about the food cultures in other countries. I haven’t really been traveling that much.

    [Reply]

  • C

    what about meat wise?

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Finnish people, especially students, eat a lot of minced beef because it’s cheap. You use it in macaroni casserole, in lasagne, with brown sauce, with tomato sauce with anything really. Northern Finland speciality is sautéed reindeer with mashed potatoes. It’s so delicious!

    [Reply]

  • Olen kuullut jo etukäteen kuinka hankalaa kasvisyöjällä saattaa olla Kiinassa. Itse olen suuntaamassa Hong Kongiin mutta uskon että kyllä sieltä aina jotain suuhunlaitettavaa löytyy. Tuo lihatiski ei kyllä vaikuta hirveän houkuttelevalta… On kyllä totta että suomalainen ruoka tuntuu aika mauttomalta kiinalaiseen verrattuna, se vähän mitä olen maistellut. Ensimmäistä kertaa hotpotia syödessä kiinalaiset kaverit vaan nauroi kun ihana lämpö nousi koko naamalleni kun oli niin tulista:). Nyt menee paremmin.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Uskoisin, etta Hong Kongissa kasvissyojalla on helpompaa. Siella puhutaan hyvin englantia, joten kommunikointi ei ole ongelma. Ulkomaalaisiakin on niin paljon, etta varmasti sekaan mahtuu moni kasvissyojakin. Se on kylla hikista hommaa kun kesakuumalla syo jotain tulista :)

    ella b here is going to Hong Kong and she is a vegetarian. Is it easy to find vegetarian restaurant or foor in Hong Kong? In Guangzhou it would be a nightmare.

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: My foreign name is too long for ICBC | Living A Dream In China()