Feeling Peckish? Foreign Food Shopping in Wuhan

Feeling Peckish? Foreign Food Shopping in Wuhan

The search for foreign groceries in Wuhan is a daunting and scrupulous task. It involves a lot of walking (so buy good walking shoes) and following up on second-hand reports and rumours about a foreign food “Mecca” that contains all of the delicious international delicacies that the weary, hungry expat could ever want. I’ve heard about a few such places during my time in Wuhan, and have spent hours on crowded buses only to discover that the grocery store in question didn’t really have any better of a selection than the markets near my house. Granted, Wuhan is not Hong Kong nor is it Shanghai. According to Lonely Planet, Wuhan (though big and industrious) doesn’t really have a large foreign population. As a result, the demand for foreign groceries isn’t as high as in other cities. Which is not to say that there aren’t any foreign groceries in Wuhan, it’s just that stores here have a limited supply and most of them don’t come from Europe or the United States; they come from other Asian nations like Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Although the following supermarkets are not the only choices in Wuhan, they are the ones that I have found to be the most reliable and easy to find.

 

1) The Metro supermarket  麦德龙
This is my first choice when I need to buy foreign food/goods. Metro features a bit of everything, ranging from electronics to clothes, office furniture to stationary, and of course food. They have domestic brands, foreign brands and a generic Metro brand. Although some don’t like buying generics, for me, Metro’s generics have proven to be tasty and well worth the price. So if you want to save a few RMB, I’d recommend checking them out. Most foreigners I know living in Wuhan usually venture here for a few “key ingredients”, such as cheeses, meats and imported beers. They also have canned goods, lots of frozen meals, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, a wide selection of chocolates and breakfast cereals. It should be noted that the Metro branch in Wuchang District, however, has lost some of its previous lustre in the cheese department, but if you are having a cheese craving, Metro still offers the widest selection I’ve seen in Wuhan. Prices are quite expensive however, so be ready to dish out some serious cash.

Another benefit of visiting Metro is its wide assortment of meats. I don’t know about you, but I love beef and there isn’t a better place in Wuhan to buy beef than Metro. They offer prime cut steaks and hamburgers at prices that won’t break the bank. They also offer pork (the chops are excellent) and have a wide selection of seafood and fresh water fish. Around Thanksgiving time, they even sell turkeys! The only problem with Metro is that if you want to shop here and enjoy their bulk discount prices or sales, you must become a member. It’s not difficult to do and it’s free, but you need to bring a lot of information with you like an introduction letter and your ID. You can also call their customer service number to verify everything.

Qiaokou branch (麦德龙硚口店)View In Map
Add: 144 Jiefang Dadao, Hankou, Qiaokou District, Wuhan
地址:武汉市硚口区汉口解放大道144号

Wuchang branch (麦德龙武昌店)View In Map
Add: 1 Tiyuguan Lu (Stadium Road), Wuchang District, Wuhan
地址:武汉市武昌区体育馆路1号

 

2Chicony  群光广场购物中心View In Map
Chicony is not just a supermarket. It’s a shopping centre that offers everything you’d expect to find, like shoes, cosmetics and clothes. The fifth floor has excellent restaurants, a great buffet, and a Papa John’s Pizza, so after you spend an afternoon shopping I strongly recommend stopping off here for dinner. One of its best features, however, at least for foreigners seeking groceries, is its underground level. Here you’ll find a food court, imported chocolates and coffees, and a small supermarket.

The supermarkets selection isn’t as good as Metro’s, but they do have a nice array of domestic and imported goods. Most of the imported goods come from Asia, but they do have a few European and American brands (Heinz spaghetti sauces is only 20 RMB). Like most Chinese supermarkets, they have a wall where they put most of their foreign brands, but if you browse the aisles you’ll discover even more, since most foreign products are mixed in with domestic products. This gives the foreign shopper a thrill of discovery, as you never know what you’ll find. The meat selection is solid, but the cheese and butter selections are limited. If you are seeking cheese or other diary products I’d head to the Metro instead. For dry goods, Italian noodles, and imported sweets and drinks I’d shop here.

Add: 6 Luoyu Lu, Hongshan District, Wuhan
地址:武汉洪山区珞瑜路6号
Tel: 027 8766 5058; 027 8766 5858
Opening hours: 09:00-21:00
Getting there: Bus No. 586, 715, 308 to Chicony station (群光站)

3) Carrefour (家乐福)
You can’t go wrong with shopping at Carrefour. It is one of the most famous foreign supermarkets in China, and has countless branches in Wuhan. Like the above-mentioned supermarkets, Carrefour has a wide selection of domestic and foreign brands at reasonable prices. They have sections offering only foreign brands, but again, if you browse the aisles you might find a handful of surprises. It’s been my experience too that different locations sell different goods. The Carrefour in Hankou District (Wusheng Lu Branch) for example, has a better foreign section than the newer branch in Guangu (武汉光谷店). In fact, the Guangu location doesn’t really offer much of anything in terms of foreign groceries. Regardless, Carrefour still has a lot of to choose from and even sells salty bread. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard people complain about sweet bread in Wuhan and how there is nowhere to the find bread like it is made back home. Well, Carrefour sells it! Go to the bread section and you’ll find hamburger and hotdog buns, good wheat bread, and plain old white bread.

Wusheng Lu Branch (家乐福武胜路店) View In Map
Add: 244 Zhongshan Dadao, Hankou, Qiaokou District, Wuhan
地址:武汉市桥口区汉口中山大道244号

Shisheng Branch (家乐福十升店)View In Map
Add: 687 Hanyang Dadao, Hanyang District, Wuhan
地址:武汉市汉阳区汉阳大道687号

Wuchang Branch (家乐福中北路店)View In Map
Add: 1 Zhongbei Lu (Underneath the Hongshan Square), Wuchang District, Wuhan
地址:武汉市武昌区中北路1号洪山广场家乐福内

4) Other options
Of course, these three supermarkets aren’t the only places you can go to buy foreign foods in Wuhan—there is also Parksons and Wal-mart. If other Wuhan expats know of any smaller shops or lesser-known chains that sell foreign brands, feel free to recommend them in the comments section below. As a final resort, you can also try online shopping. If you’re Chinese isn’t very good you might need to ask for some assistance, but Taobao and Joyo both have a lot to offer in terms of foreign groceries. Actually, I have found more on these websites than I do in actual brick and mortar stores. And best of all, delivery is free and the prices tend to be a little lower than in stores!

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Keywords: Buying foreign food in Wuhan foreign supermarkets in Wuhan foreign grocery stores in Wuhan best place for foreign foods in Wuhan

1 Comments

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Guest2402856
comment|53226|266984

There is an Underground, Supermarket at the Zhongshan Park, at the zhongshan park station, metro line no-2, it also has good quality products, all sorts of stuff can be found there, and plus, there are a lot of places to hang out for shopping and also quality food.

Dec 05, 2014 20:12 Report Abuse