Luckily, we live within walking distance (about 10-15 minutes) of 2 international stores. If I am willing to go on a hike and haul bags, there are three other stores within a 30 minute walk. There are other larger stores, but they require the driver or some other form of transportation.
Things I have learned about shopping:
1. There is no one (or even two) stores for everything you want/need.
2. Bring your own bags, otherwise you pay for plastic bags.
3. Be prepared to shell out some money for imported items.
4. If you see something you may want, even if it is not on your current menu, buy it and buy multiples. You never know if, when, or where you may see it again. You should also call you friends and see if they want you pick some up for them!
5. Fruits, veggies, and eggs should all be purchased at a wet market. They are WAY cheaper there than a store.
6. Finally, and most important, save all the heavy items for the weekend when you darling husband is home to lug the heavy bags!!
Here is a little taste of grocery shopping in Suzhou:
|Milk. It comes in boxes, non-refrigerated. This particular brand in from New Zealand. We have also tried milk from France and Germany. Cost: 21.80 RMB = $3.46|
|Soup in general is expensive here. I have only seen Cream of Mushroom at one store, occasionally in stock. Now if I wanted Oxtail soup, I would be good to go. Cost: 12.80 RMB = $2.03|
|Ketchup in bag!|
|The Chinese also do not eat cereal. So, cereal = expensive. Cost: 43.50 RMB = $6.90 and this was one of the cheaper ones!|
|I had a really hard time finding sunflower seeds not in the shell. I don't know how many stores I looked in. When I finally found some, it was at the bulk store. I am now the proud owner of a kilogram of sunflowers seeds.|
To the wet market!!
|I don't really know what kind of nuclear bean this is, but it was huge. The lady laughed at me when I explain I only wanted one.|
|You can get all kinds of eggs at the market. I stick to the chicken egg. Cost: 1 RMB = $0.16/egg|
|Longest cucumbers ever.|