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Shopping is for the Weak

I think one of the hardest things to get used to in a new country is the way grocery shopping changes.

In China, the grocery stores are completely different than in Canada. The main store I shopped in was a department store upstairs and a grocery store downstairs. For some reason I never did quite figure out, you had to go up the escalator then down the escalator to get into the grocery area, even though you walked in through doors on the same floor.

Anyway, produce is bagged and weighed in the produce section, and the bags are sealed off and tagged with the price in that area, which is the big thing that threw me (and strangely took a long time to get used to not doing at home). I remember that there were lots of other differences, but at the moment can't remember what they were.

Shopping here is equally... strange. It's not the same thing - I mean, I can read the cans and know what things are and what they're supposed to taste like. But, it's the huge liquor section in every grocery store, which you'd never see in Canada. It's... the way the dairy section is in aisles, with open coolers instead of just in one back area. It's the way the cheese is strange and unusual colours, and doesn't quite taste right. It's that free-range eggs seem to be the only type the stores here sell, which I don't have an issue with, but kinda took me aback. It's goat's milk being next to the regular milk.

It's interesting that having... what's a way of putting this... alternative eating habits seems easier over here than back home. A lot more restaurants are vegetarian and vegan friendly than in Alberta, land of oil and cows. A lot more prepackaged foods note if they're gluton free. Goat's milk and soy milk and whatever else kind of milk that isn't cow milk isn't that hard to find. I'm not into alternative eating habits (it is entirely possible I'd go out and eat raw rabbits should I go too long without meat, and goats milk strikes me as odd), but quite a few of my friends are, and that's when I started noticing how hard it is in Canada to do that, especially compared to here.

On the other hand, the produce section struck me as very empty in comparison to what I'm used to. And horribly disorganized. I should not have to look in three different places before I find peppers that aren't prepackaged. Barry and I used to make jokes about picking a colour and having a meal where we only had foods in that colour, and since the produce section and my local store is so small in comparison, it would be a pretty pitiful meal here. Especially for the colour purple.

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Comments

You mention the huge liquor section in the grocery store...I remember this bit I heard from a British stand-up comic.

"Sometimes, when I go grocery shopping, I like to play this game called 'White Trash.' You can play it whenever you're about to have a big party and you need to buy lots of alcohol. You play like this: you grab a shopping cart, and then you fill it up with nothing but booze. Then, you throw in one item of baby supplies...like diapers. Then, when you go to the check out and the clerk rings you up, you apologize that you don't have quite enough money, and that you'll need to put something back.

After thinking about it really hard for a few minutes...put back the diapers."

What's your favourite Tesco Value product?

Shopping in Indonesia is fun. You select your goods and take them to a salesperson, they write you a receipt, stamp it and you take to the other side of the store to pay. They stamp your receipt again and you take that to a different section to pick up your goods (after they've stamped it a few more times). All that even if you are only buying a pencil.

You're right about the milk. Each country has its own unique taste to the milk. I think in Malaysia they add sugar to regular milk because it tastes very sweet.

I'm a 19-year-old Filipina who got bored, moved to California, got bored, moved back to the Philippines, and is considering Australia for the next time she gets bored.

And I can definitely relate to the changes in food shopping preferences.

Nice to have found you. :)

imagine India where you often don't have 'supermarkets', and shop for veggies on the streetside, and for the rest in little shops..
and now, we buy everything in a supermarket, with cold sections of meat and milk and cheese lined up as if to admire. new home-shopping was one of the earliest and most interesting/exciting things to do here..:)

really like your blog, btw, so you're rolled!
(erm, and tagged!)

The supermarkets always throw me too, after being in Poland and then moving to France, it gets a bit wierd getting used to the little routines all over again.
Nice blog BTW.

Linked you up by the way;))

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