This post is a survey of the food options that you have when you come to Dalian. If you are planning to move to Dalian, but are moving here from a foreign country then you probably don`t have any idea of what to do for food. This post is written to help give you an idea of what you can buy to eat day in and day out. I will answer a few basic questions.
Question 1: How do you buy your groceries?
Dalian is full of food and provides many ways that you can eat day in and day out. Most people will get their groceries from a supermarket and a local outdoor market. There is also an abundance of restaurants lining every street that provide a convenient and fairly cheap way of getting a quick meal. College students and other people that don`t really have the room or ability to cook their own food will tend to eat out more at restaurants or their university cafeteria. Grocery stores are located close by as well as tiny outdoor food stands that sell a variety of fruits and vegetables. A bigger outdoor market may also sometimes be located nearby depending on your location. From living here and talking to people it seems that it is most convenient to buy your regular groceries from the supermarket but then buy a lot of your fresh produce from local stands or outdoor markets.
Question 2: What kind of grocery stores and markets do they have?
I went and visited a grocery stores in the city and took several pictures. I will give an overview of each store along to help you know what to expect when you visit the different grocery stores in Dalian.
I will start by giving you a very detailed overview of the Tesco Supermarket that I visited. I think this store gives you a good idea of what a normal supermarket in Dalian is like. Other supermarkets have more stuff, others are smaller, others have different layouts, but I think you will find that this store gives you a good example of what to expect when you visit a supermarket here in Dalian.
Most supermarkets are similar to this one in that they are usually on the basement floor of a mall. Usually to get to the supermarket when you walk into the mall, you have to go down one floor and walk through a maze of shops to get to the actual store entrance.
The bakery section has a good selection of bread though the actual loaf bread part does not have a huge variety. You can still find all your regular bread though. There is a big variety of other bread/snack type food more so than the actual sandwich bread. All in all, there is a good selection.
The produce section has nearly every kind of fruit or vegetable that you would normally buy. There are a few local items but for the main part the produce is similar to the produce you would find in a western supermarket.
In Dalian, you will notice that the supermarkets have a much bigger pork selection than any other meat. In the meat section of this store, there is about twice as much of a pork selection than beef. Also, chicken is not the most popular meat. There was about twice as much of a beef selection than chicken. In Dalian, seafood is very popular, and this supermarket like many supermarkets has a big selection of fish, shellfish, and other kinds of seafood.
Most supermarkets around town will be similar to this one in that they have a huge selection of yogurts, probiotics, and other milk related drinks, but a very small selection of actual 100% milk. Milk is available, but it usually only comes in a small bottle and not in a gallon jug as in the United States.
As soy sauce is frequently used in cooking here in China I expected to see a big selection of soy sauces in this store but I thought that there would be little variety of cooking oils. They store did have a huge selection of soy sauce, but I was surprised at the selection of cooking oils available. I found soy, rice bran, corn, peanut, flax seed, olive, camellia, palm fruit, and sunflower oils all for sale.
Other Pics From The Store
There are a few other interesting things that I noticed on my visit to the store.
The store has a small section of imported foods, mainly snacks and cereal. The imported food section though is not a western snack section but is food from countries all over the world.
There is a big selection of Chinese-style snacks. Most of them look good but are snacks that I have never tried before nor would have thought of buying as a snack
There is a fair selection of coffee, juice, water, and other beverages. You do not have to worry about not finding anything good to drink.
This supermarket like the other supermarkets I have visited in Dalian have a big selection of dumplings. Dumplings are like stuffed bread pockets and are very popular here. Usually, they are sold frozen, and you boil them to cook them to eat. You won`t find microwave meals here, but dumplings make a quick meal.
You check out like you would at a normal western supermarket. The only difference is that if you want a bag for your groceries you have to pay for it. It is not free. When you walk out of the store, you have to walk again through a maze of shops to get to the escalator going up to take you to the first floor of the mall. There is a pharmacy and a snack shop located on either side of the exit. This is typical of a lot of the supermarkets I have visited in Dalian
The second store I will share about is the Metro store. This supermarket is a warehouse that sells food in bulk. It is more similar to a Sam`s club in the United States than it is to a regular supermarket here. It h