Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grocery Shopping in Hong Kong

I was given sound advice by a dear friend (thank you, Marie!) before moving overseas - and that was to view every day, every errand, every chore as an ADVENTURE.

That is in the top-ten list for best advice I've received in my life.

Even the mundane here is an adventure - because it's new and different. It requires thought, attention, and time. (Such as my "quick" trip to the FedEx to mail a Christmas box... yeah, 3 hours later....)

Groceries are just now beginning to get easier. I now know which aisles to find things in. I recognize a few brands. I know where to go, how to get there, how to manhandle the lopsided carts, and how to avoid the crowds. I'm still slow, and I'm sure I'll laugh hysterically at this post a year from now - but from where I stand at this moment in time, here's what grocery shopping looks like in Hong Kong.

Love the little flags depicting which country each meat is from! Australian meat all-the-way!
Top places to shop on the SouthSide:

  1. Taste - a general grocery store akin to Safeway. The product lines vary and change - so if you see something you like, stock up!
  2. Jason's (or "MarketPlace") - more like a Haggen's or a Harris Teeter. Clean, beautiful aisles, beckoning produce, and slightly higher prices. This one is a little further from our home. Great for delicious fresh-baked bread, organic foods, and dependable brands.
  3. Wellcome - yes, that's with two L's. - this is like a mini mart (though there are bigger ones northside). We have one that we walk by daily, at the entrance of the school. It carries basics (produce, cheese, bread, eggs, pasta, milk, freezer stuff, and wine, beer and even hard liquor). Minimal choices. Super convenient.

Reassuring to know that the pigs here are health-conscious. :) Maybe they exercise daily, take their vitamins, and eat organic. What's the "SPF technology" ? - of course! Health-conscious pigs would need sunscreen!

Going for health here. 
(below) Good to know that this chicken has been chilled. Very important. I suppose this is to contrast the open air meats you can find hanging at street vendors....

The seafood selection is entirely GORGEOUS and entirely overwhelming...
Not to mention, it's the highlight for any kid-in-tow:

i would have NO IDEA which of these guys to choose! They look like nice aquarium friends.

a-plenty! Look at this overwhelming selection. (the photo shows about half of what's actually there) Guess we'll have to try them all...

There are a few things we can't live without... 

never heard of these - but we eat them like crazy (along with everyone else, it seems) - i still can't tell if 'BISCUIT' means cracker or cookie.... anyone know??

these puppies are HARD to get around here! Expensive and rarely in stock. Would be a nice part of an All-American Care Package (hint hint)

A new favorite around here. Yes, we have joined the munch-on-seaweed-crew. Salty delicious!!!!
 We also eat a lot of cup-o-noodles now. :) And another new thing - Bok Choy - who knew I'd find this green leafy thing so delicious?

California - REPRESENT (we pay big for these puppies - and they disappear in about 10 minutes)

again with the biscuits - lucky for us, cigar shaped too. ha!

DAIRY - A million kinds of yogurt - but rarely our favorite brands. No half-n-half (And don't tell me to make my own. I've tried. I've failed. That will have to remain a perk of going home during the summer). Cheese is quite pricey, and orange cheddar is not well represented - but Tillamook does make it to HK (no Cabot that I've found yet). Butter .... well, still figuring out which we like best. 

MILK. sigh. It doesn't come by the gallon. We probably go through one carton of milk every 36 hours. We should buy stock. The availability of brands changes all the time - as long as we stay Australian, New Zealand, or Californian - the milk is ok. No organic milk. Milk from China gives me gut-ache.

 I've got to hand it to them. The grocery chains here have to cater to so many different nationalities and tastes. It must be insane for them to order and stock up on everything, and then make room for it in the small spaces they have. Oh! And the bread! They sell loaves of crustless bread for those picky kids. Absolutely GREAT white-bread for sandwiches. Found a few kinds of sourdough (joy!). Bagels are only found in the freezer.

DragonFruit - beautiful!
mild, tastes like sweetened water. Great for digestion.

Funny Branding... (intellectual property rights, anyone??)

Bonus -- FREE same-day delivery (thank God!) is dreamy for those of us who taxi or bus to/from the store. Only have to carry-home any refrigerator or freezer items. 

Alas, you do have to shop-around. It's not a one-stop-shop society here. To get most American brands, you have to find one of the a&m stores (think: Honey Nut Cheerios, Tide, PopTarts, ranch dressing).  And if you want really good produce, it's best from a market - a good one is in Shau Kei Wan.


  1. Very interesting post! The prices on the meat look scary, but I'm assuming that's in HK money, right? Or is it really that costly?? Looks like they actually have quite a large selection of foods there! That dragon fruit lookded pretty cool! Are those tiny seeds inside it and are they also editable? The tank fish definitely looked like aquarioum fish to enjoy watching, not eating... But I guess it's all a matter of what you've grown up on. Thanks for the great post! Love and miss you tons!

  2. I see I made some typos, on "edible" (yes, I really do know how to spell it:), and a few other things. Just writing too quickly I guess...Sorry!