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.