13. A Guide for Groceries

Tang, Christine; Hong Kong - A Guide for Groceries

October 15, 2015

Today’s topic is food, again. This time, it’s more focused on day-to-day meals rather than novelty foods from restaurants.

You’ll find that eating out in Hong Kong adds up after a while. The canteens have food at a reasonable price and the restaurants off campus slightly more. If you’re trying to save money like I am, you will probably turn to making your own food. Benefits include saving money and being able to make food that reminds you of home. There are three places you can buy your food, all of which are within walking distance from campus.

The first place is Taste, an international supermarket located in Festival Walk, a mall that is practically connected to CityU. If you’re a person who doesn’t want to travel too far for groceries, and if you miss the familiar foods from home (like pretzels, U.S. eggs, and Sara Lee pound cake), this is where you want to go. The drawback of Taste is that things are pretty expensive.

The second place that I go to for groceries is Wellcome, a regular supermarket that is located in Nam Shan Estate. It only takes about 7 minutes to get there from the school if you walk. Things are a bit cheaper compared to Taste, but there isn’t as big of a selection. The fruit selection has your regular fare — apples, oranges, bananas, etc. This is where you want to go if you want fruit (Taste’s prices are ridiculous). The vegetable section is pretty small, but gets the job done. It has enough. If you’re looking for basic things like pasta, ramen, and sauces, this is where you want to go. For an easy meal, I get the Lee Kum Kee packet sauces, which tell you how much meat or other ingredients you need to add to the sauce. It’s super easy and quick.

The third place I found out about only recently (almost two months into my stay here) is the Shek Kip Mei Market. This is really similar to the Nam Shan farmer’s market (I mentioned it in blog post #5), but way bigger and more lively. The Nam Shan market is closer to the school but doesn’t sell a bunch of stuff, including wonton wrappers. It is ridiculously difficult to find wonton wrappers around here… I bought a bunch from a lady in the Nam Shan market once, but I never saw her the few times I visited market after that. Spooky.
Somehow, I found out about the Shek Kip Mei market online and decided to go check it out. My friends and I were making hamburgers that day, too, and went there to get onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and lettuce. I wasn’t expecting much from the market but it was HUGE! It was probably two or three times bigger than the Nam Shan market. People come here every day to buy their groceries. Everything is fresh, of course. Coco, the friend who came with me, said that the markets open early, maybe like 6 or 7 AM because the meat and fish are delivered in the morning. There were tons of people selling fresh fruit and vegetables, raw and cooked meat (they’ll cut up the meat into smaller chunks for you), fish (yep, still swimming around. Either that or flopping around because they were recently taken out from the water), and cooking condiments. The prices for certain things were great compared to Wellcome and Taste (plus I found things there that I couldn’t find in Wellcome). Another great thing about the Shek Kip Mei market is that you don’t have to buy things in bulk. For example, if I wanted onions in Wellcome, I would have to buy a bag of 6 onions, but I could buy only 1 onion in the Shek Kip Mei Market.

Drawbacks include the language barrier (as mentioned before), the environment (I saw a cockroach on the wall, and Coco told me this is a common thing to see here… Wash your fruits and veggies well, guys), the language barrier, and the distance from the school. It is actually a subway stop away from the school but is also definitely within walking distance… I’m definitely coming here from now on to get my food! (One day I’ll get that BBQ meat too. It smelled so good.)