Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I learnt today...

Today I went on a proper shopping expedition to get cooking ingredients to start stocking our pantry.  We haven't yet done much cooking in our new place, so we were lacking quite a bit. 

Supermarket shopping anywhere new can be a bit of an adventure, doubly so if it's in an environment where the language is different.  Even more so if you visit a market rather than a supermarket. 

(prices following are an approximation of Canadian/Australian dollar right now)
  • Some things are incredibly cheap here, particularly fresh veggies.  A cucumber cost me about $0.50, a package of 3 bulbs of garlic was about $0.25 and a decent sized chunk of the freshest ginger I've ever come across was about $0.35.  Some of the sauces and condiments are also significantly cheaper here. 
  • Some things are a lot more expensive than I thought.  I was trying to find some chicken breasts today, and they are a) not easy to find, and b) pricey. Granted, two chicken breasts for about $5 isn't bad in Australia/Canada, but here that is a little bit expensive, especially when I can buy half a poached chicken for less.
  • The variety of some products is baffling.  I'm no stranger to Asian food products, and most of our supermarket shopping in Canada was done at T&T (a giant Asian supermarket).  I thought the variety there was pretty awesome, but here there's a lot more to choose from.  It took me quite a while to choose from the 20+ different types of cooking wine today.  The number of options for green leafy veggies is quite astounding too.
  • Markets are great places to go and get a feel for local produce.  They're great because you can get all your fresh ingredients there, fruit, veggies, uncooked meat, seafood, cooked (bbq) meat, roast fowl etc.  As a gweilo, you will stand out a bit in some areas of Hong Kong, but if you can withstand that (and the odd cow/pig/chicken head lying around) then it's a good place to check out.
  • And on the gweilo theme, people will have a good look at what you're buying out of curiousity.  Staring isn't really a big problem in Hong Kong, but we live out of the main city, so the proportion of foreigners is a lot smaller, and we are therefore more interesting.
The other main lesson I learnt today was to take an umbrella wherever I go.  I got soaked to the bone on one of my little trips out and it wasn't very pleasant at all!

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