Think you can’t find grainy Dijon mustard or a 6-pack of Corona just because you’re living in the middle of Southwest China? Think again! Chengdu is getting increasingly foreigner-friendly and when it comes to the imported staples expats miss so dearly, there’s actually very little that you can’t get your hands on here with a little guidance and a fair amount of kuai. The trick is anticipating your foreigner cravings in advance – because your Honqi or WoWo corner store is never going to carry butter, olive oil or brownie mix. In a Chengdu expat poll, Metro wins big for best overall selection, best imported alcohol selection, and best prices, with the Great World Carrefour taking the title for best dairy selection. But in a city where getting a taxi can sometimes feel like running a marathon, it’s useful to know what’s out there, no matter where you are. Outlined below are the top contenders for one-stop shopping - to help you find those elusive edibles we all crave after too many months of mala.
1) Sabrina’s 莎娜食品店View In Map
Sabrina’s arouses mixed feelings from seasoned Chengdu laowais. They do offer obscure goods you can’t find elsewhere, but you must pay the price. They also have an unfortunate habit of not taking expired goods off their shelves. But as an indulgence or when looking for a specific imported ingredient, Sabrina’s has got you covered. On last count they offered 12 varieties of boxed Jello, and enough imported candy to feed all the expat children of Chengdu, including hard-to-find varieties like Skor bars and York Peppermint Patties. The Sabrina’s Brand items (bought in bulk and re-packaged) can be a good deal – especially for small quantities of spices or for butter.
Kehua Lu branch (2 locations city-wide):
Add: 56-5 Kehua Beilu, Wuhou District, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8524 2987
Opening hours: 09:00 - 18:00
2) Metro 麦德龙View In Map
One’s first trip to Metro can be life-changing – think a Chinese (well, German) Costco or B.J’s – Metro’s appeal is in it’s excess. Here, you’re able to buy imported products in bulk, which is always a money (and time) saver. Metro dairy selection is among the best, and is worth the trip to stock up on a month’s worth of Parmesan cheese, and the cheapest butter in Chengdu. They also have a fantastic and very affordable imported wine selection, as well as good deals on imported liquor.
Add: 1 Qingjiang Zhong Lu, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8295 8888
Opening hours: 09:00 - 21:00
3) Ito Yokado 华堂View In Map
The selection varies between the Ito Yokado’s across Chengdu, but the most foreign-friendly seems to be the Chunxi Lu Location. They make the list because they offer butter and cheese, a bakery that turns out decent baguettes, a wide selection of chocolate and cereal, imported condiments and spices, and the occasional box of brownie mix. The downside of this location is that no matter what time you visit, it is always overwhelmingly crowded due to its popularity with locals and foreigners alike.
Chunxi branch (Locations throughout the city)
Add: 8 Dakejia Lane, Chunxi Lu, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8671 5111
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu: 09:00 – 22:30; Fri – Sun: 08:30 – 23:00
4) Isetan 伊势丹View In Map
Isetan appears to be a well-kept secret – despite its immaculate layout and generous amount of imported offerings. Strangely enough, it is as consistently empty as Ito Yokado is crowded, despite being it’s next-door neighbour at Chunxi Lu. As opposed to their fellow contenders, foreign goods in both Ito Yokado and Isetan are spread throughout the store, so effort is required to find what you’re looking for. It’s worth the walk - Isetan boasts a fantastic coffee selection, a wide array of imported chocolate, and a great range of canned goods, imported oils, pastas and spices.
Add: 8, Dakejia Lane, Jinjiang District, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8666 5240
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
5) Auchan 欧尚
For one-stop shopping in the south of the city, Auchan is your best bet. Along with the imported goods selection you’ll find practically anything you need in this place; it falls somewhere in between Carrefour and Metro in terms of size and selection. The imported goods are localized in the back right corner, making it easy to figure out what they’ve got and what they’ve not. They have a wide cereal and muesli selection for those of us who’ve never gotten used to noodles for breakfast, and their alcohol assortment (both hard and imported wines) is one of the best in the city. They also have other desirable foreign goods spread throughout the store – like salami and prosciutto in the refrigerated meats section.
Zhanhua Lu branch View In Map
Add: 9 Zhanhua Lu, High-tech Zone, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8753 5054
Opening hours: 8:00-22:00
Jinniu Branch View In Map
Add: 98 Shuhan Lu, Jinniu District, Chengdu
Opening hours: 8:00-22:00
6) Great World Carrefour家乐福View In Map
The Great World Carrefour at Tongzilin is a reliable bet for imported products, although the same cannot be said of every Carrefour across the city. This store caters to the expat saturated neighbourhood; it is heavily endorsed for its yogurt and dairy selection, with particular emphasis on the fact that it carries cream cheese. They also have an excellent imported wine and liquor section, and expats in the area claim they have no need to travel elsewhere to satisfy their cravings.
Add: 10 Xinguang Lu, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8513 8354
Opening hours: 8:00-22:30
See other branch info here.
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Keywords: Import food Changdu best foreign food shops Chengdu where to buy imported food Chengdu imported food products Chengdu
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