China’s large cities, like Shanghai and Beijing, are enjoying a booming market in imported food products, with new supermarkets and stores specializing in foreign-produced groceries popping up each year. In China, most people are purchasing imported products not just because they crave food from home, but because we’re concerned about eating food from a country with very lax regulations on food production. A continuous stream of food-related scandals have left both locals and foreigners wary about domestic products, such as baby formula. This article goes beyond the well-known foreign chains like City Shop and Carrefour, and covers a wide variety of imported food options in Shanghai.
Olé has two locations in Shanghai and both supermarkets are located near a subway station. Although Olé has a decent selection of foreign products, it does not carry some of the more obscure products that you can find at City Shop. However, the prices here are a bit cheaper than at City Shop. They also have a rather good selection of fresh-cut sushi and sashimi. And if you spend more than 588 RMB you are eligible to receive an Olé membership card. A few of the special perks that members receive are free parking and discounts on selected items. This supermarket has more than 20 branches throughout China, in cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Beijing.
Add: Grand Gateway, B/F, 1 Hongqiao Lu, near Huashan Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6132 7530
Opening hours: Daily, 8:30 – 22:00
Getting there: Take subway line 1, 9 or 11 to Xujiahui station
The next big chain supermarket comes from Hong Kong; it’s called City’super. This supermarket’s prices are more or less the same as City Shop’s prices. But if you’re looking for a place to find all the supplies you need to cook up a holiday feast then City’super is the place to go! You’ll find almost everything you need to bake a turkey or make some pie, although it’ll definitely cost you a pretty penny. City’super has three locations in Shanghai; one in Pudong and two locations in Puxi. Both supermarkets are conveniently located near subway stations.
Add: IAPM Mall, B/1, 999 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu, Shanghai
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Getting there: Take subway line 1 or 11 to South Shaanxi Road station
Fields is one of the most popular online supermarkets in Shanghai. They have a great selection of imported and organic produce. If you don’t have an oven or don’t have time to cook a whole feast, then let Fields do the cooking for you. You can order Christmas meals (turkey, mashed potatoes, etc.) and have it delivered to your doorstep. If you order over 200 RMB then you’ll receive free shipping. But all this convenience doesn’t come for free, so be prepared to spend a hefty premium if you shop at Fields.
Tel: 400 021 0339
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
This online store is a newcomer and has countless deals throughout the year. Epermarket has an extensive variety of imported products. They have similar deal as Fields, where if you place an order of 200 RMB or more and you’ll get free shipping. When you first open an account at Epermarket.com you’ll receive a free membership card and a 5% discount on your first order. Prices at Epermarket are slightly cheaper than it’s competitors; and one of the best things about ordering from Epermarket is the 1-hour delivery service. Check out their website for some of the best deals on imported food.
Tel: 400 776 0776
Opening hours: Daily, 12pm-10pm
1. Avocado Lady
Have you heard of the Avocado Lady? The Avocado Lady got here name by selling the cheapest avocados in town, 7 RMB per avocado! She has an abundant selection of imported favorites at her tiny shop in the French Concession. Imported grains, European beer & wine, and even fresh produce, what more could one ask for. Weekends are packed with foreigners stocking up on products from home. Prices here are only slightly cheaper than at City Shop; but the avocados are significantly cheaper than anywhere in Shanghai.
Add: 274 Wulumuqi Lu, near Wuyuan Lu, Xuhui district
Tel: 021 6347 7262
Opening hours: Daily, 6:00 – 21:00
Getting there: Take subway line 1 or 7 to Changshu Road station
2. Shanghai Centre Farmers’ Market
The Shanghai Centre Farmers’ Market is on West Nanjing Road, close to City Shop. On every 3rd Sunday of the month there’s a local farmers’ market. If you’re willing to pay a premium for some of the highest quality imported products then definitely check out the farmers’ market. They sell high-end organic products, such as cheese and hard-to-find produce. The market has over 100 vendors selling just about anything you can eat. Check out this market if you’re looking for some of the most rare, imported goods.
Add: Suite Motor Court, Level A, 710 Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Tongren Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6279 8600 ext. 6621
Opening hours: Every 3rd Sunday, 10:00AM – 3:00PM
Getting there: Take subway line 2 to West Nanjing Road station