In a previous article I wrote about food shopping at various grocery stores in Shanghai. Today we’ll look specifically at buying produce. As with other groceries, there are good and bad options for fresh fruits and vegetables. Let’s take a look:
Wet Markets: Fresh Produce/Meat Markets
Not to be confused with the Modern looking Fruit and Vegetable Shops (see the last item on this page), these wet markets are more like farmers markets with small individual vendors selling from stalls or tables. Prices are good, produce and meats are fresh, and it’s generally it’s the best way to buy almost everything you’ll need to make a great meal. I’ve purchased avocados, pineapples, and kiwi at these markets for about 30% less than the price at Carrefour and about 50% less than the shops covered in the Grocery Shopping in Shanghai Guide.
Carrefour (a grocery store and then some)
As mentioned before, Carrefour is the biggest chain supermarket, with stores located all around Shanghai. Their fruits and vegetables rarely appear as fresh as what you’ll find at the Fresh Markets, although their prices are comparable for locally sourced foods. Imported produce are quite a bit more expensive than the Fresh Markets.
Here are some photos taken of the Produce (and Meat) sections of Carrefour. You’ll see they have quite a decent selection, but note that these photos were taken just before the big national holiday in early October, and the produce does not normally look this plentiful, or this good.
Pines, Olé, City Shop…
These are the smaller and higher priced stores that cater to expats. Their produce selections are much smaller with many of the goods in shrink-wrapped plastic. I’ve only really bought produce at one of these stores if I’ve come to get some other grocery product I can’t find elsewhere, and don’t want to bother with an extra trip to Carrefour or a Fresh Market.
Buyer Beware – Modern Fruit and Vegetable Shops – Buyer Beware
WARNING! All over Shanghai, especially in the expat areas of town, you’ll see these modern looking fruit and vegetable shops that have a fairly limited stock of great looking produce. Avoid them. They’re pretty much all over-priced and you’ll find the same produce at the real Produce/Meat Markets and places like Carrefour.
Here’s what these shops look like. It’s good to stop in to take a look, but you really can get your produce for much better prices. And no, the produce at these shops is NOT fresh and direct from their farms to you.