Living in China: Comforts from home

When you live in China, after a while you start to miss little things from home. Things you don’t really expect to miss. You expect to miss your family, friends, and pets. But when you’ve been living here a while, you start to realize things that you never thought were important become important.

Like food.

You never really appreciate an ice cold Coca-Cola and a Snickers bar until it’s one of the only things in your diet that tastes exactly like you expect it to. Every time.

I went to the Riverside Grocery a couple of days ago to pick up a few things for dinner. It is a great little shop, and one of the best in the city for finding American and foreign import goods. Fortunately (and unfortunately, considering the prices) its within our compound and a 5 minute walk from my apartment. Whenever I go in, I always take a complete walk around the store. (It’s really not very big, more like a convenience store in the US.) You never know what they’ll have it stock. It’s always changing.

The rule we follow here says that if you find something you’re excited about, buy them all. They may not have them tomorrow (especially since all the expats follow this rule) and they may not get them in again for another six months… or ever.

So today, when I happened upon the next to last isle on my systematic trek around the store, I literally jumped for joy. Seriously. I may have even squeaked.

It’s really no wonder they stare. We just think it’s our skin color. Actually, it’s because we jump and clap over products on the grocery isle. Or maybe it’s just that now we have no problem making such a display in public because we realize they are going to stare anyway so we might as well give them a reason to. The chicken or the egg? What do you think?

But in this case, I really just didn’t care… (ok. ok. In most cases, I just don’t care. But that trait turns out to be pretty beneficial here.)

…a light shone down from heaven and I’m sure I heard angels singing.

Riverside Grocery. Shenyang, China

Shells & Cheese!!

To understand how exciting this is, just try this out.

Fast from cheese for the next 4 weeks.

Eat rice. And noodles.

Then you’ll see.

Oh, and the one thing I went to the store to buy…

Shopping for food in China

This little grocery trip only cost 110 RMB.

For those of you who are as bad at conversions as me that makes it $16.56 USD.
More than $5 each.

What do you think? Would you do it?

If not for mac and cheese, what food would you fork out the cash for no matter the cost?


13 thoughts on “Living in China: Comforts from home

  1. What food? Cheese? Well yes…China don’t have cheese? What else? Potato Chips! Cold brew coffee! (thanks to you i have to have it daily) Did I say cheese bc I’d pay 15 bucks just for cheese!

  2. I think it was well worth the price…I would have paid alot more than that. I was freaking out the other day…and what would I drink while I was there;I only drink coffee and Fresca, . I love junk food and potato chips, mars bars and coffee crisp chocolate bars.

  3. From what I’m getting from Toby, not very many Chinese like cheese. That’s just not normal. He won’t even try it if it has cheese in it. Now, he likes pizza. . . . even though it is covered with MELTED CHEESE. He says its not cheese. . . thinks its cream sauce. Yea. . . ok. . . . Toby. Whatever.
    Back to the question – I’d probably pay big bucks for A LITTLE DEBBIE OATMEAL CREME PIE, a chic-fil-a sandwich and mayfield moose tracks ice cream! And do they have popcorn?

  4. Ok….. so I really didn’t know that cheese was that big a deal in China. I’m learing new things just by reading your blog! :) And I would have paid that!

  5. Twizzlers, real American tasting Coke, swedish fish. Why isn’t anything on my list healthy? And I agree with Alison above – you defintely need popcorn as a stand by. What about cereal?

  6. Cheetos.

    It turns out that I will sell my soul for Cheetos. Especially after having tried all 16 varietals of Chinese Cheetos to discover that 1. hot pot should never be a chip flavor and 2. lactose intolerant races should not attempt to make faux cheese flavors. Something like mayo-cheese. Cheese-o-nnaise.

    And I did have uncharitable thoughts about the person who bought all the bags from the import store so I give you props for only buying one of each cheesey goody.

  7. I once paid US$20 for a pint size jar of Best Foods Mayo (Hellman’s) in Japan. Sure I can make mayo, but the taste is not the same. We missed Tex-mex the most and is probably the worse food craving for most American exPats.

  8. I would definately pay that much for mac-n-cheese! I have a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old who live on mac-n-cheese. Looks like I’ll be spending a lot of money on it once we move there!