Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grocery Shopping

In the last two weeks, pineapples have started appearing in the North Market.  I'm not sure if it's a new fad or if it's just pineapple season somewhere near Shandong province, but I'm not complaining.  The fruit sellers cut out all the seeds (or whatever inedible bits pineapples have), so I all I have to do is slice and eat.

Excellent.  I believe I've purchased seven of these in the last week.  (They've been great for feeding freshmen.)

Speaking of freshmen, I had a group come over on Thursday night for spaghetti and meatballs.  Some of you may remember one of my early China cooking follies, in which I attempted to make spaghetti sauce by substituting ketchup for tomato paste.  I fared better this time, as our campus grocery store has recently started stocking tomato sauce:

In my opinion, the best thing here is that the tomato sauce was concocted by the "Tianjin Seasoning Research Institute of China."  Also, can anyone tell what food is depicted on the package?

I buy almost all my food at the campus grocery store or the markets just outside the gates.  However, there are a few items (like Ziploc bags, paper towels, and beef) that I like to get at the bigger stores downtown.  A new grocery store opened over break, and let me tell you:  It is great.  It's one of the least crowded stores I've shopped in in China.  It's big, open, clean, new, and well-stocked.  Lisa and I agreed: we almost felt like we were in a Wal-Mart.

As if these delights were not enough, today was a good day for Chinglish in the grocery store.  First I found a "subtle iron wok."  A little bit later, we spotted some packages of sweets individually wrapped in squares of foil.  They resembled chocolate, but they turned out to be chocolate-flavored beef jerky bites.  What??

The best find of the day, however, happened in the sugar aisle.  I was browsing the brown sugar, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:

Yes.  "A woman in childbirth brown sugar."

I have absolutely no explanation for the name, but I could not resist purchasing the sugar.  It will make me smile for days to come.

Post Edit: I tried out Woman in Childbirth sugar for some muffins yesterday and thought it was about half as good as normal brown sugar, in spite of being twice as expensive.  I'm still puzzling about the name.  Maybe it has a special ingredient to help women through labor?


  1. Yes, I'm think I recognize the food on the label. It is clearly a corn dog glazed with Woman in Labor sugar and garnished with Tianjin Seasoning hot sauce and jello.

  2. Gross. But I wouldn't mind a corn dog or two.

  3. I was going to say that it looks like a hot dog garnished with lettuce and chili and onions. I guess the tomato sauce was used in the chili.