I live in China. And that, folks, is quite different planet.
Today we all have to "travel" in the Chinese market.
And then you need to explain what it is.
All grocery stores in China can be divided into three types.
The first - is "The Shop Around the Corner" - such a small eatery that sell everything ranging from peanut, ending a mousetrap. It's all mixed up. And the devil is easy to break his leg. The owners of these eateries have no idea about the terms "display of goods" or "customer loyalty". They are not soared over the management of their institutions. These shops have in every home. Each, without exception. They occupy 20-30 square meters. And I try to have nothing to buy. Well, maybe the water.
The second type of Chinese grocery stores - a modern hypermarkets. Such as "Wal-Mart" or "Kerifor". This palaces of consumption. Tens of thousands of square meters of retail space. Cool air. Perfectly clean floors. Brand new commercial equipment. Bursting with food shelves. A huge range. In such stores foreigner can buy such a rare Chinese cheese! Or fresh milk! Or even olives! This global network that keep their bar, regardless of where they are.
And the third type - the most interesting for us - it's a cross between a hypermarket and "eatery Uncle Liao." This is the supermarket local tailoring. This is a fairly large stores with a fairly large range. But the point is that they are sharpened by the Chinese. And they're like nobody reflect the characteristics and flavor of local food culture. Everything in them is true, the Chinese!
Back and then we go.
Shop where I go is called (yes Xue Cheng Shan Chan). You can translate it as "a university mall." It is located just a couple of stops from my house. In appearance he was not remarkable. And even sign his more than modest. But this store know everything. After all, he is already here God knows how many years.
We go through the open door of the store and down the escalator in the basement. Cute little girl in a red uniform kindly drove us to the shopping cart and smiling, says: "Huanin guanine" - Welcome! On the day she repeats the phrase several thousand times.
We take the truck out of her hands and replied: "Sisi". We're with you polite foreigners! A "Sisi" in Chinese - thanks. And do not laugh.
And here we go into the first trading room. Salesrooms here a little, and they are arranged one after the other. To get to the banks, we have to go through each of them. That is logical.
The first trading room - clothes. Here sells clothing incredibly poor quality. Pants with different length legs, running "at once", synthetic socks "Perfume", footwear, insoles, T-shirts ... and right of us - the whole showcase underwear. But we do not need to go there. No, really, do not even look in that direction, otherwise then you will no longer take seriously the Chinese girls!
Clothing that is very cheap. Both in terms of quality and in terms of price. In general, this is just what we need this popular store. Buy it at all times. Always between the rows with hangers are Chinese or Chinese women and applied to his T-shirt, shirt or pants. Fitting is not here. Sorry!
We go through this department with an empty basket, wheels rattling on the floor of the truck. He is not interested in us. We dress in other places! After all, right?
Next - Department of shampoos, shower gels, toothpastes, rinses, and household cleaning products. The big difference from Russia is not here. The same "Dosya" the same "Dove" and the same "Seyvgard." All international brands on the shelves nearby. The only difference is that the "Nivea" is written in hieroglyphs. And guess the first time that it was "Nivea", can only be on the logo. Well, to understand what it is: a shaving gel or shaving gel, without electronic dictionary is almost impossible. Or come into the store with a dictionary, or by trial and error!
Once a week I washed my head with air conditioning. And while grumbling about the Chinese as. Until finally he translated hieroglyphics written on a plastic bottle.
In addition to well-known brands, there is still a few dozen local brands, Chinese. Surely they are also good. But I do not buy them ever. And today we do in this department is not necessary. And we pass through it, still rattling wheels on the floor.
We pass through the Department of dishes. Here it makes sense to stay at the window with chopsticks. They are not just here a lot. A lot of them! We assume? For Sure? You sure? Well, well. ...... 128 varieties of Chinese chopsticks. And wood. And plastic. And metallichekie. And round and square, and simple, and threaded. Incredible! But only two types of spoons - big and small.
Immediately sold rice cookers. Well, this is all purely Chinese invention. Such a small capacity liter three-four, with a heating element and a toggle switch inside and outside timer. It is easy to cook rice. Moreover, you can cook it in very different ways. From crisp, to the state of a homogeneous slurry. This slurry Chinese love to eat for breakfast. They prepare it for the water, sugar and no salt. These rice cookers have every Chinese family. They are sold in any shop. There is a whole industry. Industry rice cookers!
But today we do not need a rice cooker. We already have one at home. And we move on. We pass by the endless racks with all household utensils: buckets, mops, heads. Turn right near the electrical department. We pass through five dozen hair dryers and past a display of Chinese mobile phones. Once again I wonder prices. Then the price of the phone starts from 80 yuan (350 rubles). But you can not buy them: this disposable cell phones.
... And finally, go to the grocery department! And then the fun begins. So, let's go in order.
Wines. Great showcase with wines. Only in China. 70% of Chinese wines - a brand «Great Wall». The remaining 30% - other brands, but also Chinese. Rarely on display met the French, Spanish or Australian wine. It happens. But, nevertheless, it is very rare. Chinese wines are from 25 yuan to 250. In this case, for whatever price you have bought a bottle or red, it will not be tasty. It will sour nedobrodivshim, sawdust inside, anything but just not tasty. Not even experiment. If you really want to take the best white. This is a proven.
Beer. 70% of China's beer - a brand "Qingdao". This brand of federal scale. The largest beer brand in the world. The remaining 30% - local producers that are in almost every province. In Xiamen, the city where I live, - a "Tsedrin." Another interesting fact is that a large bottle of 650 ml stands on yuan cheaper than small - 330 ml. Chinese arithmetic, which I do not understand. Despite the fact that beer in these bottles equal one hundred percent! And this is not one-off event. So always.
In addition to the "Qingdao" and "Tsedrin" here stands still and "Heineken", "Budweiser", "Amstel", "Crown". All these varieties are welded in China. All of them are at least four times more expensive than the "Qingdao". Buys them only a glamorous crowd. Take a couple?
Once I started with alcohol. But you do not think bad, just these parts - the first on the way. Further showcase strong thirty different varieties of rice vodka. Although rice wine and differs by species, but it tastes equally nasty. Those who have tried it once in a lifetime rice vodka, I'm sure will agree with me. I am completely indifferent to alcohol. But rice wine - is beyond me. Although the Chinese drink it. And with pleasure. But certainly not in such "industrial" scale as in Russia.
It is interesting to pay attention to the price. Half a liter of 67% (!) Degree vodka cost 8 yuan (35 rubles). In this case, one and a half years of living in China I have seen drunk just twice. Both times they went out of the gate is not, but because of expensive restaurants, obviously, after the corporate parties. I think here we all have something to think about!
Noodles! Noodles - a symbol of China. Showcase with noodles in our store, like a little Wall of China - nearly endless. I'm not going to count how many varieties there. It may take too much time. But more than half of them - this is the so-called rice noodles. Taste it is quite different from the traditional, in our understanding, noodles. But I like it very much. I usually cook it and then fry! And then sucks endless spaghetti lips, helping himself with chopsticks. Mmmm ... Yum yum!
Sudden noodles. This instant noodles. Brand "Doshirak" China does not have and it looks like this is a purely Russian brand. But there are thousands of other manufacturers sudden noodles. Chinese adore her! They grind it with machine-gun speed. Always and everywhere. Count how many different kinds of sudden noodles sold in our store - it totally useless. Simply measure showcase steps and multiply by the height.
Some misunderstanding. If you think that I can identify all that is sold in our store - you are wrong. I understand only 50% of what I see. But that's progress! Because in the first few months spent in China, I understand even less! All Chinese shops sell many products that can not be identified to a foreigner. I can not say exactly which ones are delicious. But I do know that not worth buying. For example, here are the sweets. Why do you think they painted ladybug? Just like that? No, not just because!
And because these candy - from meat. This favorite Chinese delicacy. They cut the beef into small cubes, then vyalyat it and then dipped in powdered sugar! And wrapped in a beautiful shiny wrappers. With the ladybug. Lovely candy. "Moo-moo" in Chinese. Do not take them. More than one you do not eat.
In addition to these sweets, there are many different packaged products, the origin of which I do not understand. Now I almost do not buy them. Previously, I was wondering, but now not so. Typically, this is something sour or sweet and sour. Or something very sharp. Any very Chinese snacks. In general, if you do not understand something, do not strain. Relax and go past.
Chicken legs. Chicken legs - this feature of Chinese gastronomy. Chicken legs are preparing a million different ways. They are salty, peppery, smoked, fried, boiled, steamed, and even what you want. Chicken legs everywhere! It's just tough! They even hang in the confectionery department. Next to the candy and chocolate. Sealed in plastic. This sweet Chicken legs!
Candy and chocolate. Sweet I love more than anything else. Especially after exercise and physical activity. But in China, with a sweet - an ambush! There is no or almost no such sweets, what we understand them. Here are the showcases with sweet Chinese in our store: tremendous boxes, brim full of plastic bubbles as bananas, apples, pears and various other fruits. You take such a plastic fruit, teeth gnaw a hole in it and drink the contents. What's inside? Bright red or bright green or bright yellow sweet jelly. As for the taste? Shampoo with sugar.
- Mom, what we have for tea?
- As usual, shampoo with sugar, son.
But not all that bad. Of course not. I no longer play the fool. Then there are the chocolate "Dove" and "Snickers" and «M & M's», and even different snacks. But, by the way, the price of a chocolate "Reader's sport" can be tightly lunch in mid-good restaurant.
Rice and cereals. Rice and cereals are sold by weight. We come to the boxes. Pour as much rice as we need, weighed, and the price tag is pasted to the sachet. Figure 6 species are sold by weight and more species packaged in 20 packs. He's great at different price but at the same time, does not differ in taste.
Pterodactyls. Dead blackened chicken I call pterodactyls. They are beautiful and terrible at the same time. And I always get stuck with dead near windows smoked chicken for a few seconds, looking at how they nightmarish! I have no idea what they taste like. I never bought them. I think that if I brought home a pterodactyl, Natalie would just did not understand me.
Fish. Fish in our store - the sea. Fish and river and sea. All she always delicious and always fresh. We can buy either live or already dead and chilled fish. But in any case it will not be frozen. Thus it costs the average or same or less than the meat. There are several dozen varieties of fish, but I do not know exactly how they are called. For me it is not so important. I just take two fingers fish by the tail, dip it in a bag and go to the scales. Harsh Chinese in rubber boots and a bloody apron (main in the fish department) weighs her price tag sticks and wants me to enjoy your meal. And then I carry it home, and Natalie prepares it with ginger and soy sauce. Mmmmmm! ..
Seashells. Shells - it positive! Can stand for 20 minutes in front of tanks with shells and admire. What they are beautiful! The eye can not take! In this case, you will not have to torment the idea of responsibility for the death of a living being. After all, they are not sentient beings in the full sense. Well, at least not as lively as turtles.
Turtles. Turtle soup grateful Chinese wife are preparing their husbands. It is considered that it is useful to men. Turtles in our store of incredible beauty. It seems to me - these are the turtles, which you can buy in the shops "Matroskin" for 300 rubles each. Here they are sold in bulk and buckets. I do not want to think that someone kills them and eats. But, nevertheless, it is. And tonight, this beauty will rumble in someone's stomach Chinese.
Toads! Toads croak. Sitting in a deep barrel directly at each other. And croak. Hopelessly and miserably. I try to pass and do not look into the eyes of toads. And I do not buy them, too. Just can not imagine how they were, with the living, to deal with. Although, I must admit, sometimes in Chinese restaurants I order frogs, and it consistently delicious! Toads do we have here are sold in two forms: green and very green!
Snakes. Water snakes - the real shustriki. Capacity in which a buyer offers water snakes, just boil the kettle. I wonder how they are tied in knots there. They are black, sharp and fast. I do not buy the snake itself. But I know how they taste. Unbelievable! And after the third or fourth fork stops to embarrass you, what you eat snake.
Tofu. About Chinese tofu know everything. It is from soy milk, and his Chinese downright adore! He nutritious, cheap and tasty. Although about the last many will disagree with me. Tofu rather tasteless. Taste, as such, it does not. But in the process of preparing it acquires the taste and smell of those products, which is being prepared. For example, if you fire tofu with potatoes and mushrooms, then he will get a taste of mushrooms. If you fry it with meat, it will taste just like meat. Such is the tricky product. Tofu in China - more than the product. It is a symbol! Showcase, which sells tofu, about the same size as the window, where the meat is sold. A pound of tofu costs 2 yuan (9 rubles).
Meat. Meat in China - a 80% - pork. And 15% - chicken. There is almost no beef. At least, in our shop it never happens. And the beef we buy only "Metro" or "Kerifor." But the meat too, always fresh and never frozen. Big and beautiful pieces of meat lie in open windows on the ice. You can choose any and pointing finger butcher, ask him to cut to your liking. Butcher chop chops for soup set, narezhet portioned pieces of meat or cook stuffing. All this is done quickly and directly with you. The cost of such meat on average 18-20 yuan per kilogram. If you want to translate into Russian rubles - multiply by four and a half.
Like to briefly talk about the Chinese store, and turned some little story. And the main thing - to reduce in any way possible. Chinese word of the song can not erase!
Are you tired to read? And imagine how I write all this? Let's take a little break and continue in a few minutes ... After all, we still have ahead of salads and fruits!
Salads. Salads in our Chinatown supermarket sold in a special showcase. You choose the one that you like (in this case it is possible to try a special disposable chopsticks), and self-impose it in a metal container. Then "chief of salads" Chinese weighs and packs it into a bag. Chinese salad made of "is not clear why." They exude a sharp, sweet and pungent smell. They look absolutely dreadful. But damn it, what they're delicious! I've tried everything. All, except, perhaps, the "salad from chicken paws." Some in my inner barrier on the paws.
Fruits. Department of fruit in the store - the largest of the departments. It has everything: watermelons, melons, apples, pears, bananas, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, peaches, plums, sweet tomatoes, cherries, oranges, pomelo, kiwi, avocado and a dozen fruit whose name I do not know in Russian. All of them fresh. All of them are delicious. And they are very inexpensive.
Sunflower oil. Garlic. Pomelo.