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OUR DAILY BREAD

(Food Shopping Info and News)

Other Shopping   Chinese Ingredients

Cheese and Butter Shop   RT Mart   City Centre Supermarkets   Tea Shops   Vogue Health and Beauty   Wang Wang

NOTE: Most of the shops mentioned here are marked on the map. Click here to view.

Please remember that things change. Shops run out and never restock! I try to keep this up to date, but if you know something I don't, please tell me!

 

This page is about the availability of Western food in Liuzhou. Chinese food is everywhere from supermarkets to street markets and hardly needs any guide. By western food, we mean those things which are more commonly used in Western cooking. So, although olive oil is widely available, it is included here because it is not usually used in Chinese cooking.

Availability of Western foods is still limited although it is much better than ten years ago when there was only one shop selling very little.

Unfortunately, there is no one shop specialising in western foodstuffs. Back in July 2007, Nanning's western food store opened a branch in Liuzhou. In a shambolic display of utter commercial ineptitude they opened their shop in an obscure housing block in the north of the city and issued zero publicity. When very few people went, they came up with the brilliant idea of saving money by only opening two weeks each month. Of course, no one could ever remember which two weeks. After six months the place closed down. The Nanning shop has since closed, too.

So today, you have to visit a selection of outlets and see what they have! But remember, what they have today, they may not have tomorrow. Chinese shops are notorious for stocking goods which sell like the proverbial hotcakes, then never restocking!

If you know of any other shops selling anything interesting please contact us with the address and what they sell. Many thanks.

 

RT Mart

大润发

RT Mart North

RT Mart South

Taiwan chain RT-Mart or大润发 (d rn fā) is by far the best supermarket chain in Liuzhou. They have two branches, onein the north of the city and one south of the river.

The northern supermarket is on two levels, but the entrance forces you to the second level before you can descend to the first. The shopping area is large and spacious. As I wandered around the second floor with its books, dvds, computers, cameras, kitchen equipment etc., I really did wonder if I was in a supermarket or not. But finally, I reached the food areas. This was the same as every other supermarket in Liuzhou and had nothing of special interest and certainly nothing worth venturing to the frozen north of Liuzhou for. Somewhat disappointed (although I didn't expect anything else), I made my way down to the first floor.

Wow! This is the fresh food area and is amazing. I was met by a beautiful selection of fresh sea fish and seafood and immediately threw a pack of fresh raw salmon into my basket. Well, as soon as the guy had expertly sliced it from the huge fish on his slab. I ate it for lunch less than an hour ago and I can tell you it was fresh! The beautiful sea bass, would have been my next choice.

The meat, fruit and vegetable, and bakery counters were equally impressive (they even had six kinds of pizza, available by the slice.) There is a very good sushi selection, either by the piece or in selection trays. The liquor store was also impressive with a wide range of western spirits and a reasonable selection of French and New World wines at not ridiculous prices.

Sushi Corner

My lunch later in the day - sushi and sashimi.

Their selection of fruit and vegetation is 100 times better and fresher than any other Liuzhou supermarket.

I rounded off my purchases with cheddar cheese and butter and my basket was a happy one.

They don't have much in the way of western food and I can't see myself trudging out there every day, but it is certainly well worth a weekly or monthly visit. I just hope they can keep up the standard and that the locals support their fish selection. It would be a shame to see all that beautiful food become unavailable again. Let's just hope they remember to restock popular items which run out, unlike the other supermarkets in Liuzhou!

(Where is it? The supermarket is on Shengli Road East just to the west of the main entrance to Que Shan Park. By public transport, take the No. 19* or 24 bus heading north and keep going till the last stop, which is beside the park gates. Continue in the same direction for one block and there you are.

*If you make a mistake and go south on the 19, you will end up at Longtan Park. Quite pleasant but no supermarket. Have a nice day!)

The southern branch is on Pingshan Avenue (屏山大道) just east of the junction with Rongjun Road (荣军路), near the south end of Wenhui Bridge (the pretty red one)..This branch on one floor in the basement of the building. It stocks the same goods. Several buses stop right outside, including nos 6, 12, 36, 42, 62, and 70. Buses 30 and 69 stop just round the corner.

rt mart map

RT Mart South Map

 

City Centre Supermarkets

The shops in this section are all located in the central area of the city. This is for two reasons. 1) This is where I live and these are the shops I know! 2) This is an area everyone gets to know.

They are in order more or less north to south.

 

BuBuGao

By far the best supermarket in Liuzhou is RT Mart but unfortunately both branches lie outside the city centre. Nancheng Department Stores are also reasonable supermarkets, but despite having several branches around town, no longer have a branch  in the  peninsular area. Nearest is just south of No. 1 bridge (Liujiang Da Qiao).

Newest arrival is the oddly named 步步高 (b b gāo) hyper-mart which opened in late 2013. The company is from Hunan and this is their first venture in Guangxi. It is on the northern edge of Liuzhou People's Square.

The supermarket is fine (despite its strange layout) but has little in the way of Western food. However, watch out for bizarre, outrageous pricing. They are selling butter from between 26.80 to 36.50. per 200g. I buy Anchor butter for 18 / 227g from the cheese and butter shop below. Also, they have Anchor whipping cream on sale at a shocking 32.50 - again I buy a Nestle equivalent for a mere 15. Their bakery is particularly poor (stale cakes made with lard- no bread), but they are good for beers (though their wine selection is average), but again the pricing is ridiculous. They are charging 42 for a 500ml can of Bodington's Pub Beer, for example. A few feet from the checkouts is another unrelated shop selling the same for 26.80.

Don't try buying meat at noon. The staff all piss off for lunch leaving weigh stations unmanned.

In fact, staff are pretty hopelessly trained and few seem to know what anything is. A few times I've been charged for a totally different foodstuff to what I have in the bag - so far all to my advantage, Recently I bought dried cpe mushrooms which should have been around 30. The weigh station charged them as Black Wood Ear Fungus - a mere 6.90. I didn't notice until I got home - honest. They have four different types of dried mushrooms, all labelled and priced the same. One is correct.

Also, the checkouts are a nightmare to find (they are behind the sweets/candies section) and are designed by someone who never went shopping. They are also usually seriously undermanned. There are 26 of them set up but most of the time usually only two or three are in use.

The supermarket is conveniently located for me. I live nearby. I certainly wouldn't travel to find it.

 

Century Mart (Lianhua)

The most obvious supermarket chain in Liuzhou is Lianhua Century Mart. It is not great. Tired, limp vegetables; frozen, defrosted, refrozen and re-defrosted "fresh" meat swimming in added water to bulk up the weight; almost always broken escalators and abysmal service. Utterly hopeless place.

 

 

 

Lianhua Century Mart has been in Liuzhou the longest. Previously owned by local company Jiayong, it has several branches around town, ranging from the huge flagship store on Fei'e Lu near the railway station to little corner shops. The one pictured above is in Jiefang Beilu, near the city square and the Traditional Chinese Hospital.

For emergencies only.

 

Vogue Health and Beauty

Almost next door to Lianhua Supermarket is Vogue Health and Beauty. A casual observer would think this is a cosmetics and personal hygiene product store, and they would be correct. However, head to the back of the shop and you will find a strange selection of foreign foodstuffs. They are strong on soft drinks and mixers (tonic water etc.) but their alcohol selection is awful. They also do western breakfast cereals. A range of pastas and bottled sauces can be found at the back. Dried fruits and biscuits (cookies) are also featured. They also carry some Japanese goods. As with other places, the range alters from time to time, so it's always worth a look if you are passing.

 

 

Cheese and Butter etc.

From Vogue, head down the pedestrian street to where it is bisected by Gongyuan Lu and turn right towards Pizza Hut. Cross to the other side of the main road and continue into the side street. Here you will find what we call the 'butter shop' because they sell butter. Real butter from real cows! This was the first shop in Liuzhou to sell anything resembling western foodstuffs. They have Anchor cheddar and unidentified "mozarrella" in the fridge. They have Kraft Singles for 16. They also have Philadelphia Cheese at 25 for what looked to me like a fairly large block. (Can't stand the stuff myself. But then I like cheese!)

They also have pasta, real curry powder and curry paste made in India, Tabasco sauce, anchovies, capers, canned red kidney beans, tuna, black olives, flours, baking powder,  dried yeast and other odd things. Always worth a look. They mainly supply restaurants and hotels, and have a shop in Guangzhou from which they bring stuff in. They are friendly and will try to satisfy reasonable requests.

OK where are they? Click here to see a map.

 

 

望旺

wng wng

 

If you continue down towards the river and head along 曙光东路 sh guāng dōng l heading towards Dong Men (East Gate), there is a shop which has a selection of western foodstuffs. 

 

The chaotic shop has a bizarre selection of stuff. They get things in, sell them and never restock, but replace them with something totally different. It is good on nuts and beans, sardines, liver pat and odd sauces. From time to time they have Heinz baked beans, Bovril, canned lentils and other delights. Definitely worth an occasional inspection but always check expiry dates.   

 

Zakka

A bit away from the city centre but worth an honourable mention is Zakk, a tiny shop in the north of the city. It specialises in bakery requisites, but also has a freezer of meat products such as pepperoni and various steaks, as well as yoghurt starter etc.

The shop is next to the northern branch of RT Mart. Facing the entrance, you can see a row of small shops running down the left hand side of the RT building. Zakka is about half way along.

If you know of any other goodies, please let me know.

 

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