Grocery Shopping in Shenyang… American style.

I’ve told you before about the local markets I like to buy meat and produce from, but what if you need cheese, bread, and canned goods? These items are not commonly used in Chinese cooking, but fortunately, Shenyang has some nice new grocery stores to fill that import food need.

Yoo Hoo:

  This is the grocery store in the basement of the Richgate Mall, beside the Lexington Hotel. It’s just down the street from the North Train Station so you can even get here on the Shenyang Subway line 2 (Bei Zhan stop.) This place reminds me of a Whole Foods Market. They carry only import goods from all over the world. They have a great cheese and deli section. And sometimes avocados in the produce section! It’s pricey, but if you really need a guacamole fix, sometimes it’s worth it.


This store opened about a year ago in the new MixC mall (Wan Xiang Cheng) on Qingnian Street just north of Zhanlanguan (Exhibition Hall) also accessible on Subway Line 2 (zhanlanguan stop). There is an exit from the metro that takes you directly into the basement of the MixC and right past Starbucks toward Olé. It’s similar to YooHoo but doesn’t have quite the selection they do. They are comparable on price, but Ole is easier to get to so it’s good for a quick trip. I usually buy ciabatta bread, and sometimes cheese here. They also have the best bacon in town.

Riverside Market (aka. The Little Store.)

This place was like a treasure chest and Christmas all rolled up into one when I was first introduced to it. Keep in mind, the above 2 grocery stores didn’t open for six months and a year after we arrived so this little place was IT for the good stuff.

It’s actually still a like a weekly treasure hunt because their stock changes frequently and you never know what’s going to arrive. There’s a Shenyang expat rule you better learn fast or you’ll be frequently disappointed, if there is something you see that you think you might want in the future, buy it. immediately. And probably buy several. Don’t wait and plan to come back tomorrow. It WILL be gone. And there’s a good chance you won’t see it again for months. Or maybe ever.

The is the place to find the American comfort foods. Breakfast sausage, Doritos, Tortilla chips and salsa, Kraft Mac & Cheese. Last week, they even had frozen waffles.


This store has been in Shenyang for several years. French owned, it is similar to Wal-mart in the US. They have the best prices on import goods although their selection is pretty slim. I usually buy milk, cereal, and a few can goods here. The one at the big circle overpass at the intersection of Qingnian and Wenhua Road has the best import section. Bring your A-game for a trip here because it is cah-razy. Like Black Friday on steroids. To save your sanity, don’t even try to go on a weekend.

Notice that I didn’t mention Walmart. While Shenyang does have several, they don’t have the import goods you’d expect. Walmart tends to cater to local tastes and in my experience tends to be kind of dirty. I usually stick to the above mentioned stores (plus the market) for most of my shopping. Although you should definitely make at least one trip to a Walmart in China, just for the experience. That’s one you just have to see for yourself.


Shenyang Knitting Group

I’ve been pretty much obsessed with knitting for several years now. I go through spurts where I get more done than other times, but I nearly always have a project in progress. It’s great for keeping your hands busy on those LONG, boring plane flights.

When I moved to Shenyang, I was excited to meet a few other ladies who enjoyed knitting and crocheting, but none who got as excited about it as me.

What’s a girl to do?

Create more knitters and instill the obsession, of course.

So that’s what I did.

I waited until it got nice and cold outside and then invited my friends over for a nice little stitch&bitch. Fortunately, two were expecting new babies (who now join us for knitting, by the way.) so they were easy to convince. Most didn’t know how to knit when we started.

But let me tell you. They learned fast and are now nearly as obsessed as I am.

And now I have friends who enjoy shopping for yarn, and talking about new stitches, cast-ons, and the difference between wool and cotton.

Mission accomplished.

If you’re interested in joining us, we meet on Thursday mornings around 9:30ish at Riverside Garden. Drop me an email for more details. We’re always looking for more people to brainwash with the joys of knitting.


Shenyang Cha Bu Duo 5K/10K

Last Saturday, the Shenyang LIGHT Foster Program held a fundraiser race called the Cha Bu Duo 5K/10K. It was such a fun morning and a great fundraiser for the foster children.

There were over 100 runners in the race. (That’s me with the banana, still trying to wake up.)

We had a few onlookers trying to figure out what the big group of foreigners was up to.

Friends helping friends pin on their numbers.

We started the day with a kiddie race.

It was seriously cute.

They also had face painting.

And then we ran (or in my case ran a little, then walked a lot. What can I say… not a runner. Unless something really big is chasing me. On second thought, probably not even going to run in that case. I’m more of a fight over flight kinda girl.)

But my friends did pretty awesome and didn’t walk at all! So proud of them.

Me, I kept up with my 8 year old running buddy. She did so awesome and we kept each other moving. And entertained for the whole 3 miles.

She mentioned about halfway… “Do you think they’ll have a nice cold Coke for us when we get to the end?” I laughed. It made it very hard to run.

But I guess she settled for water. I hear that’s better for you anyway.

Even Baby J finished her first 5K at a whopping 1 month old. You go, girls!

This girl did the whole 5 kilometers… and was happy to see the finish line!

Me and my girls had a blast… even though they all smoked me. It’s ok. I’ve gotten used to the fact I’m slow, and I’m ok with that.

Not sure if you noticed, but there are no photos of LB crossing the finish line.

That’s because he was one of the first to cross it. And by “one of the first”, I mean he was second. Despite the fact he hasn’t run a race in 10 years, and he “trained” for this by jogging in the park 3 times in the last two weeks.

Yep, that’s my man.

(And by the way, that’s a peace sign the guy who came in third is holding up. It’s also interesting that even though there is no podium, their heights do distinguish the finishing order.)


Things to do in Shenyang – Hawaii Waterpark

Now that Summer has arrived and kids are out of school, it’s time to find some fun activities to keep everyone happy. Even though Shenyang isn’t exactly full of touristy sites, there are still a few fun things to do.

And now that it’s finally warm, we decided it was time to pull out the swimsuits…

Royal Ocean World is a huge family amusement park between Shenyang and Fushun. It has five parts: Ocean World is the aquarium that has both sea and fresh water exhibits. Century Forest focuses on reptiles, lizards, snakes and crocodiles. Narnian Castle is a theatre where animal shows are performed several times throughout the day (show times may vary throughout the year). Susu World is a soft play place for children.

But this time, we headed for the water park.

Hawaii Waterpark is a large indoor park with tons of ways to get wet.

An indoor beach fit for sand castles.

And waves that start on the hour.

A ropes course so you can get ready for Wipeout.

And plenty of huge slides for the big kids.

That blue and green slide ends in a funnel. I tried it.

Looked like I was being birthed… came out head first.

Royal Ocean World (皇家极地海洋世界; Huángjiājídehǎiyángshìjiè),
Wanghua District (抚顺高湾(沈吉高速抚顺西出口))

The attractions can be purchased separately or on a combined ticket and they range from ¥70-140.

Definitely give it a try if you’re looking for something fun to do. And you don’t even have to remember the sun screen!


Shenyang Pet Market – Chongwu Shichang

A few weeks ago, a friend called asking if I knew where to buy a new puppy in Shenyang. Dog shopping is not something I’ve done in China, but I’d heard of a couple places through the grapevine. I offered to go on the hunt with her and her son. I’m always up for an adventure.

Our first stop was at a little shop on the first floor of the fish and flower market called Bei Shichang. They only had a few kittens mixed in with a handful of puppies, as they mostly sold birds and other animals. While they were adorably tempting, none struck the fancy of her son, who was to be the owner of the new puppy.

From there we were a little stuck. But her driver mentioned that he knew of one other place we could. He warned us that we’d need to be a little careful because some of the small ones could be sick and to be wary if the price was too cheap. He said to expect to pay anywhere from 500-1000 RMB.

It was a good 30 minute drive there and to be honest, I’m not even sure what part of the city it’s in. But as soon as we pulled up, I knew we were in the right place. You could hear the dogs barking from outside the gate.

It’s called Chongwu Shichang, or Chongwu Market. You have to buy a 1 yuan ticket per person to get inside and surrounding the outside were all kinds of little pet shops selling food, toys, beds, and any other pet supply you could want.

There were hundreds of dogs of all breeds. I went back and forth from feeling elated to be surrounded by dogs again (I really miss my sweet lab who couldn’t make the trip to China with us.) and feeling a little sad because the conditions of the place were less than ideal.

Even still, I really enjoyed it.

There were big dogs…

(This fellow looked like a bear!)

and teeny tiny dogs…

And even a few cats.

In the end, he finally decided on this itty bitty ball of fur that was just too adorable to pass by.

And she was quite happy to steal a ride home in his baseball cap.



Jazz Night in Shenyang: June 8

Calling all expats in Shenyang…

For this month’s gathering, one of the best American restaurants in Shenyang has offered to host our growing group of hungry expats. For those who haven’t tried it, Chicago Legend Steakhouse’s imported U.S. beef will make you forget you’re in Shenyang–for a few hours anyway.

Chicago Legends Steakhouse 芝城假日牛排餐厅
No.115 Beizhan Road Shenhe District Shenyang 沈阳市沈河区北站路115号
Restaurant Telephone: 024-88346868

Date: Friday, June 8, 2012
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Price: RMB 150 (Includes Food, Soft Drinks and Juice)
Happy Hour: 6:30 to 7:30 pm (Buy One Get One Free on Beer & Wine)

Continue reading


Expat Housing in Shenyang – Housing Communities

First, let me first clarify what I mean when I say “Expat Housing”. I’m referring to the expats who move to China to work with a large company or as business professionals. People who are moving with families and prefer to live in a comfortable home with similar amenities to what they’re used to. Truthfully, an expat can live anywhere they are able to negotiate a lease. You could certainly find a small traditional Chinese apartment anywhere in the city.

Shenyang China Riverside Garden

Most expats in Shenyang choose to rent an apartment in one of the many gated communities. I say “gated” because, well, they have gates. But I don’t want to mislead you into thinking there are issues with security. That’s not really the case. Most of the time the gates aren’t closed and people come and go pretty easily. China is a very safe place to live. Honestly, I think the gates and security detail are more of a status symbol than a necessity.

There are several different communities and new ones being built all the time. The most common ones are near the Southern end of the city, right along the Hunhe river. Each community has pros and cons and it depends a lot on your personal preferences as to which will work best for your family. It also depends some on the luck of the draw and what is available when you’re looking. Don’t feel like you have to choose right away if you aren’t comfortable with the first few you see. The apartments here are privately owned and can vary a lot between furnishings, maintenance, square footage, and amenities depending on the landlord and previous tenants. Continue reading


Shenyang Improv Workshop

Hello Fellow Shenyangers.

I just heard word of a fun new activity here in town that you might want to try out. It’s recently been started by another expat, Andrew, and I thought I’d share it with you. It sounds fun!

It’s called the Shenyang Improv Workshop.

Inspired by the original bilingual Beijing workshop, SIW is a place for people of all (or no) acting levels and experiences to come together and learn the art of improv in a relaxed, fun setting. Classes are absolutely free and are open to Dongbei-ers of all ages, nationalities, and levels of appreciation for the absurd. The workshop will use both English and Chinese.

Workshops are currently being held every Wednesday evening from 7-8:30 on the 9th floor of the Somerset Hotel Heping Shenyang (80 Taiyuan Jie, at the corner of Taiyuan Jie and Bei’er Ma Lu, 太原街和北二马路的路口). (You can tell a taxi “Taiyuan Jie, Hualian” and he should take you right to it.)
Your presence is both welcomed and desired.

If you’d like more information, you can contact Andrew at shenyangimprov (a)

Now you all practice hard, get really good and funny, and then let me know when you’re having your first show!


Expat Housing in Shenyang

One of the first things I think you’ll need to know when moving to China is where you’re going to stay once you get here. If you’re coming with a large international company, they’ll likely take care of booking this for you. If you’re contracting or working for a Chinese company, you may have to negotiate this part for yourself. Here is an outline of basic housing options in Shenyang that are most commonly used by expats and foreigners.

1. Hotels
2. Serviced Apartments
3. Gated Communities & Apartment Complexes Continue reading


Traditional Chinese Massage in Shenyang

One of the things I miss most when I’m away from China is this little massage place. I am a little (ok, a lot) spoiled because the massages here are so cheap and so wonderful. I usually go once a week!

A friend discovered this little massage place just walking down the street one day and raved about it so I gave it a try a few days after she found it. That was over a year ago and I’ve been going religiously since then. Fortunately for me, it’s just across the main street and a very quick walk.

It’s on Wenan Rd. (The street just behind the Sheraton Hotel.) Take a right at the “Mushroom Girl” restaurant, just past the Jiujiang Hotel down the little walking street. It’s at the end of that row of buildings on the left.

It’s easy to spot from the English “Traditional Massage” on the outside. It’s simple and clean. Continue reading