Reasons why I love China… North Market

One of the hardest things to adjust to when moving to China is the food. It’s not that it’s bad. (Ok, some of it is, but most of it is very good.) It’s just that it’s a completely different diet than we’re used to eating. They don’t eat a lot of dairy products, including milk and cheese, so they are a little scarce. You can find them in most import shops, but they are more expensive than other parts of the world. A small 8 oz block of cheese runs about $5 here.

The milk isn’t found in the refrigerated section. It comes in a box. It is not pasteurized, but sterilized with a process called UHT, ultra-high-temperature processing. I expected for it to be very different than what we were used to, but it’s not that bad. The hardest part is that it is hard to find low fat or skim varieties.

Another difference is that canned and boxed processed foods that we use often in the States are not readily available. Again, some are available in the foreign import stores, but for the most part Chinese don’t use pre-packaged foods. For the last couple of years, I’d been cutting back on cooking with this type of food anyway. I think we consume way too many preservatives in the US, so I had started to cook from scratch more. Not all organic, just as natural as was convenient. However, I never realized how often I did just crack open a can of condensed soup or a jar of spaghetti sauce or a box of noodles.

But I guess necessity makes it much easier to change. Continue reading

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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?

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