03 October 2014

#ChinaLife "Splurge" Definition: Tortillas, Popcorn, and Cinnamon

 It's time for #ChinaLife with The Rachael Way again! We're talking about how our grocery shopping experience here has been a little different. In Michigan, Angel and I would consider our favorite brand of specialty salsa a "splurge"--but here, "splurges" are a little more basic:

Now, I don't consider myself a shallow person, but sometimes even things that really aren't important in that grand scheme of life (like tasty foods) should be talked about. And, like it or not, excitement over hard-to-find ingredients is an inescapable part of expat life. Not too long ago, Angel and I discovered a rather amazing place: A grocery store that sells tortillas!

We had almost lost hope in ever seeing a tortilla again before this momentous occasion. We also found ground cinnamon:

Cinnamon retails for the rather exorbitant price of 27.90 RMB, or $4.55. Apparently we've turned into cheapskates because we told each other that we'll have to be quite desperate for some good old fried apples before we invest in some cinnamon. Tortillas, on the other hand, we consider worth buying for 13 RMB ($2.12) for a package of 6 (that's not too pricy, but considering that we used to buy 10 tortillas for 99 cents a pack from Aldi, and eat tons of them every week, it's a change for us!).

BLT is the name of this fancy store with the most imported ingredients we've seen since our arrival. However, me being the person that I am, I've taken to calling it the "rich people grocery store." Is that a bad thing? They sell such delicacies as salsa, BBQ sauce, and a large range of boxed cereal (the prices of the boxed cereal, however, would make me faint if I were a more delicate person). They did not, however, have popcorn kernels. If they had, I might have appreciated this store a little more.

Angel was the one who found the tortillas. He came running to me and said, "Guess what they have?!"

I screamed, "Popcorn!!"


After the popcorn false alarm, tortillas were almost a let down. Almost, but not quite. If I had both popcorn and tortillas I'm pretty much convinced I'd never crave another American snack for the rest of my life.

Side note: We also found cherries. We found a 10 lb. box of fresh cherries retailing for the equivalent of $150 USD. I can't quite imagine either eating 10 lbs. of cherries or paying $150 for such cherries, but I suppose some people may feel the same way about cherries that I feel about popcorn.

Angel has already mentioned that he expects me to complete the entirely of his Christmas shopping at this grocery store. I believe that can be arranged.
Meg said...

Omg. $150 for cherries. NOPE. I don't even LIKE cherries!!

Suzanne said...

The things we miss most when we are away are often food.

Just send me your address and I will personally mail you popcorn kernels : )


Bethany Carson said...

O wow! Interesting to hear of your shopping adventures, and all the best in finding popcorn! There must be some somewhere in China! The price for cherries is quite high!

Becca said...

I'm impressed that they're MISSION tortillas. I'm a bit of a tortilla snob.

chelsea @ the new wifestyle said...

cherries for $150?! that's crazy down (and would destroy your insides should you attempt to eat that much). yay for finding tortillas, it's making me not take my stack of them for granted!

V. Nino said...

I may not be an expat, but I'm feelin' your cost-of-grocery pain over here in Oahu. RIP, spending money.

Bekah Loves Blog said...

I literally gasped at the cherries.

Seriously, if there are mail-able ingredients (like cinnamon) that you would really like, I have access to multiple ALDIs here and will happily send you some things.

Tayler Morrell said...

Holy cow! Were American snacks like those that expensive in Malaysia?

Unknown said...

Ooh, great finds. Bummer about the popcorn and the price on cherries is CRAZY!!!


Ali Hval said...

MAXIMUM CHERRY POWER! That is an intense price. Then again, how many cherries is 10 pounds of cherries? I'm rationalizing that it's not worth $150. I buy so many apples every week and that's where my grocery bill goes down because apples are SO PRICY. They're also all I eat.

Unknown said...

I would die without tortillas, I think, so I'm glad you found them! I can't believe cherries are that much!! They're not even that great of a fruit!

Unknown said...

I totally understand about missing ingredients from home! I consider myself a bit of a Texas expat here in Florida, and food is DEFINITELY different.

For example, I have yet to find decent salsa anywhere in Florida, which is so sad to me

Unknown said...

Like others have mentioned I would gladly send you popcorn, tortillas, cinnamon. Maybe we should do a link-up for care packages to send Rachel and Angel...ha ha! Seriously, we love shopping at our Aldi here, and I would be happy to send you some things.

Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

Wow!! Your stories remind me of one of my friends who lived in Xian for a year-- she definitely got used to local food:) Love reading your blog!!

<3 Daisy
Simplicity Relished

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

You need to have your family and friends send over some cinnamon and popcorn!

Saxon @ Lets Drink Coffee, Darling said...

Wow! I think that might be a steal for tortillas! Where I was it seems like they were more like 40-50 RMB for a package, so I started making homemade ones for that reason. For some reason even if it isn't a huge price difference in reality, the idea of paying double digits for something that would normally be a single digit item back home is hard to do.

I can remember justifying for 4 months that just one fork was fine enough for me in my apartment, until I was having guests for Christmas dinner (less than a month before I left) and went out and bought several more forks. I should have just splurged on those to begin with! haha

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

I felt the same way when I found a restaurant that served brick oven pizza in Rwanda. It was too expensive to eat every day but we treated ourselves and ate there once! I will totally send you some popcorn, by the way!