Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

(Kiana) #1
Settling In 95

bakes fresh bread daily. A number of delis are making meats,
salads and cheeses more readily available. Most major hotel
chains have delis with a selection of imported items and
fresh baked breads.
Major cities also have chains of stores that cater to foreign
tastes with a broad choice of imported items. In Beijing, the
mainstay for imported food items is Jenny Lou’s; in Shanghai,
it is City Shopping. Both have a number of branches, usually
in a central location near expat compounds. The ‘food from
home’ that you can purchase at these stores comes premium
priced. Import food still carries heavy tariffs; a box of cereal
sets you back about US$ 8, and a small jar of Dijon mustard
is US$ 6.
It is still hard to find some spices, packaged foods, sauces
and seasonings in China. Most long-standing expats still
allocate a portion of their luggage on returning from home
leave to bringing back the things from home that are still
hard to come by in China.
The most cost efficient way to live in China is to adopt
local eating habits. When you delegate the kitchen to the
ayi (local housekeeper), shopping magically happens within
neighbourhood markets and grocery stores. After a few weeks
of new delights each night as she demonstrates the breadth
of her regional cuisine, you can agree on your favourite dishes
of her cooking repertoire. From then on, there is a lovely
luxury of finding a table full of steaming hot food at the end
of a long workday.


A whole service industry has sprung up in China around
relocation. The lack of transparency, coupled with the
exoticness of the destination, has made it a profitable
business. A good relocation company makes the whole
process relatively painless. It packs, ships, insures, tracks and
unpacks, providing full door-to-door service. It knows how to
get the family pet into the country with the least amount of
stress to family and Fido. It supports during scouting trips
to look at home and school options. Once on the ground, it
provides orientation, cultural sensitivity training, helps you

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