Where to Find Imported Western Groceries in Kunming

Where to Find Imported Western Groceries in Kunming
By Matt Poulter , eChinacities.com

The mountains are high and the emperor is far away. However, western groceries are just around the corner! Here is a rundown of our favourite places from which to taste the best of the west in Kunming.

Photo: businessweek.com

Paul’s Shop
Tucked away around the bend at the top of Wenhua Xiang, Paul’s has been around longer than we can remember. From cereals to caviar, you’ll find the shop is stocked exclusively with western products and offers a taste of home at affordable prices. For a small shop there is a good selection of brands from around the world, but American products dominate. If Hershey’s doesn’t float your boat however, the cheese selection might tempt you in. The cheese is actually bought in Metro (see below), but is sold in individually priced portions, as opposed to the gargantuan wholesale slabs on offer at the German supermarket. The same goes for their McCormick spices, which are parceled up into convenient 10 RMB bags. Paul’s is also a good place to look for canned sauces and things in jars like pickled gherkins or jams.

There is a range of imported alcohol on sale, including some expensive French wines. However, you can find better quality for cheaper prices elsewhere. Recently a small bakery has been added next to the shop. The bread can be hit and miss but the apple pies, cinnamon rolls and brownies are good and excellently priced.

Paul’s ShopView In Map
Add: 13 Tianjundian Xiang, Kunming
Tel: 087 1535 4210
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00

Located in the North of the city, Metro is a bit of a mission to get to for those not living in the area. The supermarket is orientated towards wholesale and as such many products cannot be bought individually; ketchup bottles come in pairs, toothpaste in boxes of four and olive oil in enormous two litre bottles. This all makes the supermarket suitable for a ‘big shop’ rather than casual grocery shopping. There is a membership policy, which seems designed to keep out the crowds of less well off countryside shoppers/shopping tourists. Whatever the ethics of this, as you effortlessly glide around the spacious isles with other foreigners and wealthy Chinese contemplating the maddening crush of the other international supermarkets in the city, it’s hard not to be grateful.

Signing up takes a matter of minutes and you will be issued with your very own membership card displaying your proud photo. This entitles you to a discount should you spend enough, which you might not find too hard. Whatever you can think of, Metro is likely to have it. From chunky New Zealand beef steaks, cheap Chilean red wine, to a plethora of western cosmetic brands, it’s easy for the homesick laowai to forget about the budget. Just remember you have to carry it all home!

Metro Supermarket麦德龙 View In Map
Add: 1079 Beijing Lu North Extension, Kunming
Tel: 087 1583 8888
Opening hours: 9:00-22:00

Photo: wordpress.com

Wicker Basket
Wicker is actually a western restaurant but near the till of each of their two locations you will find a selection of imported products. The focus is almost exclusively American. While overall not as comprehensive as Paul’s, the range of breakfast cereals is very good as is the choice of home cooking products such as vanilla essence and baking powder. Where Wicker really excels though is with their bakery. From hot dog rolls to whole meal loaves, there is bread in all shapes and sizes. It is so good that many of the other restaurants in Kunming seem to be using it. In addition to bread, there are usually a collection of cakes for sale, which can be brought whole or in individual slices. Wicker has also recently opened an organic vegetable service. Vegetables are ordered and then collected from the shop later. It’s best to ask at the till for more specific information.

Wicker Basket 馨香烤屋 View In Map
Add: Kaiyuan Residential Area, Bldg 11, 1-4
Tel: 087 1822 1382
Opening hours: 9:30-21:00

Add: Beichen Xiaoqu Walkway C-14
Tel: 087 1573 0647
Opening hours: 9:30-21:00

The same Italian owners of The Box also run an imported food business through the venue. It seems mostly to be orientated towards catering for Chinese businesses. However, they are more than happy to take individual customer orders. Not surprisingly they specialise in Italian foodstuffs. Here you will find the best quality pastas, olives and cured hams in the city if not the whole of south west China. The prosciutto di Parma is heavenly. Prices are surprisingly cheap and there are even fresh products on the list such as mozzarella cheese. Also excellent and very good value are the Italian wines, especially the range of excellent dry whites. Giving Paul’s a run for its money, Sapore also sell a wide range of goods from other countries. There is a good collection of sauces from Heinz, Del Monte and co, great for the pasta if you’re feeling lazy, and also many dried foodstuffs such as muesli. Orders from Sapore’s list of products are placed by phone or at the Box and can be delivered to your door, normally within twenty-four hours.    

The Box老夫子 View In Map
Add: 69 Wenhua Xiang, Wenlin Jie
Tel: 087 1536 2137
Opening hours: 10:30-12:00
Website: www.saporeitalia.com.cn

Wal-mart and Carrefour
We haven’t been to either of these two international supermarket chains in over a year. The vast crowds, especially crazed at weekends, were a nightmare and source of trolley rage. The sight of a child peeing in the sea food area was the final straw. Nonetheless, location wise you are likely to be living near one of their many sites in the city, and might out of necessity be driven in. If so, be warned that the imported food selection is sparse and the prices high, at least when we were last there. Both stock a range of processed cheeses, foreign biscuit brands and some cereals.

Surprisingly for a French supermarket, Carrefour’s bread is possibly the worst in the city. You could beat a man to death wielding one of their baguettes. Wal-mart’s bakery section was not much better. Grudgingly, we will admit that for western branded household cleaning products, both supermarkets seemed to have the best and cheapest range. That’s not enough to tempt us through the doors but you might feel differently.  

Wal-mart 沃乐玛 View In Map
Add: 1-3/F, Blocks E1 & E2, North Wing, Daguan Commercial Town
Tel: 0871) 5386208
Opening hours: 9:00-22:00

Add: 188 Huancheng Dong Lu,
Tel: 087 1339 7405

Add: 289 Chuncheng Road,
地址:昆明市 春城路289号
Tel: 087 1357 3470

Carrefour 家乐福 View In Map
Add: 35 Longquan Road,
地址:昆明市 龙泉路35号
Tel: 087 1517 7865
Opening hours: 9:00-22:00

Add: 668 Huancheng Nan Lu,
Tel: 087 1418 2696

Add: 4/F Century Plaza, 88 Nanping Jie,
Tel: 087 1361 5344

Add: 1035 Beijing Road North Extension,
Tel: 087 1571 5320

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Keywords: Import food shops Kunming western grocery shops Kunming western food Kunming


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Feb 21, 2022 06:39 Report Abuse


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Jul 05, 2011 21:44 Report Abuse