Tag Archives: Groceries

Chop the head yourself!

7 Dec

Going to the supermarket, except for Carrefour as you may have read in a previous post, remains a constant source of amusement. My local supermarket is called Lian Hua. It’s not very big but it offers a really good range of products, including a very decent selection of European goods. It’s only to buy meat that I go to the fancy City Shop, which sells Australian meat.

Somehow, until today, I had never been to the very back of the shop at Lian Hua. That’s where you will find meat, fish and poultry. Again, the choice is wide. You can get live fish. It may respond to the (Lebanese) anxiety for freshness when buying fish but the water did look like it needed changing. The fishes were trying to gulp air from the surface.

It also appears that it is quite popular for Chinese (or Shanghainese?) people to eat many more parts of the animals than most people in the Middle East or Europe do and that they are especially fond of animals’ heads… Chickens and ducks are sold with their heads. On the streets, you will find ducks’ heads sold separately. Fish heads are also either sold with the fillet or on their own. No wonder that they use and sell these really scary knives everywhere. It’s to chop the heads (and in some cases feet) yourself!

Joli canard :s

Like for the dogs’ attires, there’s often a culturally cuter side to things, like forks and spoons being sold individually!

Fruit shops

5 Dec

Fruit shops are very sweet here in Shanghai. There are plenty of them around town and at least three near my flat. They only sell fruits and, every once in a while, you think you may have spotted vegetables but those are technically fruits, like tomatoes or avocados.

Anyway… I find them extremely sweet for several reasons. First, the fruits are always so impeccably displayed and vendors have a real feel for colours. Striking out are the yellow of pomelos, the soft orangey-pink of grapefruits, the unambiguous orange of oranges and darker orange of tangerines, and then, taking over, the spectrum of reds of apples, to finish with the amazing fuchsia of the dragon fruit. Second, they’re open late, very late sometimes and, with their characteristically open frontage, they brighten the street with their energy-saving light bulbs and colours, when shops around have shut down or when people rush back home. Finally, it always feels like they constitute a small hub of family or even community activities, during both daytime and nighttime. Because the shop is permanently open onto the pavement, the grand-mother, mum or whomever sits opposite, peels some vegetable, feeds the baby or teaches a toddler how to walk. Older kids run around naughtily and customers buy their fruits while walking their dogs.

I’ve chosen my favourite fruit shop somehow randomly but I’ve decided to be exclusive to it as a strategic measure to start knowing the local community outside my compound and, perhaps more importantly, to practice my Mandarin. The guy I assume to be the main shop owner turns out to be very nice and sympathetic to my linguistic efforts. He gave me a sincerely amused but polite smile when, instead of asking for píngguǒ (apples), I asked for péngyou (friends).

This is my one. The man in the middle is the shop owner. I was trying to be discreet...

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