Wednesday, 22 May 2013

May Matter- Day 22- Shop till you drop!

I don't know about you, but I don't particularly like shopping! As I hear a collective gasp and guffaw from all my friends that really know me.. I must go on to add- I don't like shopping for essential mundane stuff! Namely food!

I really do like the other sort of shopping- all the unnecessary, clothes ad gifts and stationery and books and frippery type stuff - A little too much sometime! But food shopping is just a pain!

Now don't get me wrong, if you put a Tesco, or Asda or Heaven forbid, a Marks and Spencers at the bottom of the road- you wouldn't be able to tear me away- You'd find me there all times of day and night, making decisions about what to buy. (You'd probably find half of the ex pat community doing exactly the same thing- It would be like birthdays and Christmases all rolled into one!) But food shopping here in KK is a big no no!

When I first arrived here I was shown the nearest big supermarket for all the basic foodstuff. Ok I thought- It's not quite like what I'm used to but its ok- Then I was shown another supermarket where I would need to go for meat and a bit more expat type food- Ok, two supermarkets. I could cope with that, I thought. Then I was taken to a third- This time for fresh produce and the little bit nicer imported things! 3 supermarkets; just to do a weekly shop!! Ridiculous, I thought! But oh my, how you soon get used to it!

You can usually find most things, in a fashion, that you need- (not necessarily what you want) but you just know now that you have to visit lots of places to get them. You can see why Tesco appeals can't you? A one stop shop, open 24 hours, with clothes and electricals and household stuff- wow!! Getting carried away a little I think- Anyway back to shopping!

I usually need fortification before hitting the supermarket- Luckily the local big brand coffee shop is right next door- so after a latte and a muffin- I'm ready and braced for anything that the shop can throw at me!

The smell is enough to put you off, (although I have surprisingly got used to it over the time I've been here)-  a mixture of chicken pieces and dried fish- But once you get passed that- it's onwards and upwards through the aisles.

It's fascinating some of the things that you get, even more so, the things you can't. Whole shelving systems are dedicated to one of two types of the same brand of stuff. What we lack in variety, we make up for in quantity!

Clockwise from Left- Instant coffee- lots of bags of it- all ok if you like 3 in 1, cos that's all there is!
1001 packets of instant noodles!
Our Fresh fish and chicken section- source of dubious odours!
1001 tins of Sardines, big cans, small cans, tiny can etc 
Tinned fruits tends to  be of the Lychee or Rambutan Variety- Lots of the same!
 On the snack stand- Next to crisps and crackers - you'll find these tasty little numbers- Dried fish fillet anyone? Or Broad beans or peas (these are actually good!) or even roasted anchovies (Honey flavoured). I think I'll stick to Pringles and Doritos!
Further round the supermarket you'll find a whole host of more unusual things.
Dried fish- and lots of it!
Baskets of dried food, dried,fruit, herbs, spices etc etc- it all looks quite inviting- although I'm a little dubious about what some of them are!
Sotong balls- Do these take your fancy?- Squid and cuttlefish balls- Apparently just deep fry them?!
Next to the shelves of regular eggs, you can find 'Preserved prehistoric Duck eggs..?
 The aisles are filled with a whole medley of Asian foods including- Lots of seaweed, in every form imaginable, 1001 cartons of Chrysanthemum tea drinks, tons of rice, Dried bean curd, More tons of rice, dried very peculiar looking mushrooms and Cuttlefish flavoured crackers.
 We have some western cereal- usually no more than 4 types- whole shelves are stacked with one or two brands!- Just like floor to ceiling racks of Milo.
To finish a very unusual looking drink of Pandan juice- which I think looks like green frog spawn!
Anyway- Life would be boring if all shops were the same wouldn't it- And that's the good thing about living in different parts of the world- To experience and try lots of different things. So yes there are many times when I would kill for a decent bacon butty, or Cumberland sausage but then I wouldn't have anything to look forward to when I got back to England would I!
Until then, I might even go and try cuttlefish snacks- But then again maybe not!
Amanda x


  1. I always love looking in food shops over seas but hadn't thought about expats.

    1. I think it's just a case of knowing where to go to get what- although we don't tend to get a great deal of choice here on Borneo. That's why trips away are always a bonus- not just for travelling and sightseeing- but what else can you bring back. I love going to Singapore- cos it's great for western food and treats from home!


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