While other families went to Walmart or Target for their grocery runs, my family always went to the local Chinese supermarket.
I grew up with the bizarre sights and smells of a typical Chinese grocery store. To me, however, all of these items were perfectly normal. It wasn’t until I took my friends to the grocery store did I realize that to a non-Chinese these items are super weird.
1 Live Fish
Yep! To ensure that you are getting the freshest fish, many Chinese grocery stores will carry live fish and butcher them right in front of you. I always thought this was a pretty standard affair until I saw the horror in my friends’ eyes.
I never knew what ANY of these things were growing up. Some of these dried things are added to soup, some of them supposedly have medicinal properties. All I know is that a Chinese supermarket isn’t a Chinese supermarket without a section of dried foods.
3 Pig Feet (猪脚 zhūjiǎo)
You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I personally think pig’s feet are delicious! These are sold along with all your other standard cuts of meat at a Chinese grocery store. But I don’t think they’ll catch on in American supermarkets any time soon…
4 Dried Meat Snacks (肉干 ròugān)
In addition to those open bins of dried goods, there are aisles and aisles of dried, packaged meats sold as snacks! I grew up snacking on a lot of these dried meats. Personally, I don’t think they are any different to your standard gas station beef jerky or Slim Jims. Give them a try!
5 Durian Fruit (榴莲 liú lián)
If you ever wonder what that smell is at a Chinese supermarket is, durian is probably the culprit. Durian is a massive, spiky fruit that has a super pungent odor. My friends say that it smells like a sweaty, old sock. If you can get past the smell, durian isn’t too bad! The texture is very creamy, and its taste is more subtle than it smells.
What other things do you find weird in a Chinese supermarket? Comment below! And check out this post for some of the weird foods you would find at a McDonalds in China.