Metro: An Island in the Chinese Sea

Right, I know – this is the third post today, but I just realized that I didn’t really talk about the beautiful thing that Metro Supermarket is. I could have just tacked it on to that last e-mail, but it really deserves its own recognition.

Metro is a ‘Western-style’ supermarket in the north end of Dalian. I think it’s Northern European in ownership, and certainly comes off as Ikea meets Zehrs (Zehrs is a Canadian supermarket, for all those that aren’t from Canada).

I’ve meant to go there for a while now, as I’ve not met a Western person who didn’t sing praises of it. Yesterday Mandy, Karen and I hopped on the light rail (sky train, meh) just behind the train station and road it one stop north (for 1 yuan). The girls were a little doubtful that I knew where I was going, as we had stopped to ask someone for directions on how to get there and they told us it was by Olympic Square. I was certain it wasn’t anywhere near there, and when we got off the train and were immediately confronted with a huge blue building with bright yellow signs shouting METRO, I was vindicated.

To get in you have to sign up and get a free membership card, but then you’re given free rein of the place and what a place it is. They’ve got cereals (not just one kind like in Kaifaqu), they’ve got bacon, pancakes, maple syrup (gimme a break, I didn’t eat breakfast), and just loads of other western foods that are sparse at best in any other supermarkets I’ve been in. The big question was, did they have coconut milk, as that was my goal for going there – as that Thai curry paste Sarah brought me isn’t going to make itself. And they did!! I stocked up on four cans, topped my shopping bag off with a Cab. Sav. (have I mentioned what Chinese red wine tastes like? Take your average glass of wine, add three tbsp. of sugar, stir) and some razors.

Mandy was sold on the place too when she found La Zi Ji jam (?) that she couldn’t find anywhere else in Dalian. Basically it’s this spicy chicken stuff from her home in Guizhou, a province in the south of China which is renouned for its waterfalls, beautiful scenery and abundance of poverty.

Anyhow – that’s Metro. A big blue oasis of normality. I think I waited as long as I did to go because I was eager to really give the standard Chinese living a shot before jumping into the safety of things familiar – but as you may have noticed from recent posts … I’m sorta done with that. Next trip I’ll be picking up some Crown Royal and Honey Nut Cheerios.

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