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What’s in Chinese Walmarts?

picture of Chinese Walmart

What would life be like without Walmart? Loving Walmart's low prices, in our home we have a saying, "If Walmart doesn't have it, we don't need it." Some people are snooty about shopping at Walmart, and others object to shopping there because of some of their corporate practices or because so many things they now sell are made in other countries. We will not discuss all that in this post, please, but we'll focus rather on some interesting things available at Walmart in China.

Earlier this week my wife forwarded an e-mail to me that she had received from her office mate and that served as the basis for this post. It had pictures of Chinese Walmart products that are either unusual or that most Americans would not even think about finding at Walmart.

It's not surprising that the Walmarts in China would have a large selection of chopsticks.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Bulk rice is available. (Actually, we saw the same thing in other supermarkets in China. We never got to shop at Walmart over there during either of our summers.)

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

I'm not quite sure why the purchase of corn oil would include a bottle of orange drink.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

The beverage choices in Asia boggle the mind. Here are some at Chinese Walmarts.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

I can't imagine the nightmare of trying to keep the shelves stocked with that bacteria beverage!

Going to the meat department has to be an unforgettable experience. Here are some mixed parts you can pick through to choose what to buy.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

I'm trying to figure out what "hot and spicy beef granules" wrapped like candy could be. Would they be sweetmeats?

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Another packaged meat is BBQ flavored shredded squid.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

The Chinese must love ribs. Not quite sure, though, the source of those ribs....

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Duck is a popular meat there, not just in Beijing.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

They also sell flavored duck parts.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Ever had pig's heart?

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Here's quite a variety of dried sausages.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

When we were in China, we sometimes referred to the meat at some of the meals as "mystery meat" since it was not always easy to determine what kind it was. (Our policy was that it was often best not to know.) Here's a display of one kind of mystery meat.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

I asked a Chinese friend at my university to read the words in the sign above and tell me what the meat was. He said it was some sort of sausage, perhaps mouse sausage. He said that one of the Chinese words sounds like the word for mouse (read: rat), that there's a picture of a mouse, and that 2008 was the year of the mouse. Mystery solved? I hope not!

Let's move (flee?!) into another section of the meat department — the reptile department. Here's crocodile, complete with an orange garnish.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

I wonder how they train their frogs not to jump out of the container. When we had an aquarium we had several suicidal frogs jump out of it, even with a cover over it.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Here are some other wet reptiles.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

And an assortment of dried reptiles.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Walking back through the meat department on our way to the check-out area, we see a display we missed on our first pass through — pig faces.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

One really weird item in the e-mail was "anti-bacteral" men's bikini underwear. For the sake of my readers, I chose not to post that picture. 🙂

Have any of you ever shopped at a Chinese Walmart? (Or a Walmart in any other country?) Please share some of your findings and experiences.


"We cannot adjust the Gospel because it is not ours to adjust." - J.D. Crowley

=^..^= =^..^=

If Walmart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing in the store is free yet?

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16 Comments on “What’s in Chinese Walmarts?”

  1. #1 Stephen Field
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Wow…. that’s all I have to say…. Wow.

    Rob adds: Either that, or YIKES! 😀

  2. #2 Wayne Bateman
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    I’ve seen a few weird things at Wal-Mart here in the US, but they weren’t on the shelves… enough said.

    Rob adds: Totally understood, Wayne. 😀

  3. #3 Megan
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    GROSS! :O Oh that meat department is sick. it explains a lot of the disease over there …

    I think that beef granules are like bouillon cubes for making soup/stew etc. Here in the UK we have “gravy granules” which is a cheater’s way of making gravy simply by adding hot water. We also have a lot of bouillon-cube-type things wrapped in foil but they are called something else — stock cubes maybe?

    Rob adds: Bouillon cubes was my wife’s guess also, Megan. It is fun to try to imagine, though.

  4. #4 Ellen
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Ewww . . . is what I have to say! I can’t imagine buying meat that other people have pawed all over. Do you know why they don’t wrap their meat? It seems very unsanitary the way they do it.

    Rob adds: One afternoon in the street market, we saw meat on a piece of plywood in the sun, unrefrigerated. We were told that it was best to buy your meat as early in the day as possible.

  5. #5 Vikki Jo Ivey
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Glad it’s not meal time and that I didn’t just eat!

    Rob adds: I’m afraid it’s not any more appetizing at any other time. 😀

  6. #6 Nancy
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I’ve shopped at K-Mart on Guam, which rumor has is a the largest K-Mart in the world. They have a tourist section with T-shirts, trinkets, chocolate macadamia nuts, and tins of SPAM. (Guam reportedly leads the world in SPAM consumption.) Most items in this section are stamped “Guam” or “where America starts her day.”

    The best part of a K-Mart trip was the parking. You can park on the roof, but that means when your shopping is done, you’ll have to carry all of your grocery bags up the stairs. So you might want to park in the ground level parking. Remember to disregard the painted stripes and park in the same direction as the first customer parked. Peer pressure Chimmoran style.

    Rob adds: I loved reading about your K-Mart adventures, Nancy. It would have been even more fun to be there and hear any running commentary you might have offered up. 🙂

  7. #7 Rebecca Burgener
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Did they use babel fish to translate some of those labels? I know much is lost in translation, but more seems to be lost than found.

    Rob adds: The translations are some of the best aspects of shopping there.

  8. #8 Tammy
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Very interesting. I posted it on Facebook.

    Rob adds: Thanks, Tammy. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. #9 Carrie
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I should not have looked at all of those “exotic” food items on an empty stomach….

    Rob adds: Do you find any off-beat items up there in Alaska, Carrie?

  10. #10 Margie Reynolds
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    We went to a WalMart in northeast Beijing. Since I have lived in Singapore for almost 14 years, I expected it to have more American goods displayed in a western way. I was wrong! It was definitely catering to the Chinese market, and yes, these pictures reflect what Chinese grocery stores look like. Across the street in another mall, Carrefour beckoned. Carrefour’s floors were clean, the food looked more sanitary, and they had a good variety of items. I wonder who owns WalMart in China? They will probably be going out of business soon.

    Rob adds: Thanks for sharing your insights from life over there, Margie. You could probably write a book.

  11. #11 Bill
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    We call that a multi-domestic strategy 🙂

    Rob adds: Thanks for the business perspective on this, Bill.

  12. #12 Melissa Endres
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Wow – and I thought the kebab stands in France were unsanitary…. The smell in that store must be awful!

    Rob adds: One day I went to the market in China. I was not feeling well to begin with, I was wearing sandals, the floors were wet from whatever was dripping from the various tables, and the smells were distressing. I finally had to leave and wait for the others outside in the fresh air. (Let’s make that fresher air … but only slightly.)

  13. #13 Rhonda Kaufman
    on Oct 29th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    It’s really too bad you couldn’t have emailed us all the smells that go with visits to a Chinese market. Or maybe it’s just well that you COULDN’T! We have three 18 year old daughters adopted from China so have made 4 trips there. We’re all sitting here laughing for that REALLY is China. We’ve never been to WalMart but have thoroughly enjoyed shopping at Carrefour.

    Rob adds: Rhonda, a picture is worth a thousand words, but even just viewing pictures with (if you actually could) e-mailed aromas would not be like experiencing the “real deal” in person. We saw some great things in shops in China, but there were also things that will be hauntingly impossible to forget too. 😀

  14. #14 Ray
    on Oct 30th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I wonder if the “sterilized lactic acid bacteria beverage” is yogurt drink? Either way its a “great value”.

    Maybe orange juice and oil mixes…

    The “diet water” must be low in hydrogen.

    I wonder if they take a lot of ribbing over their meat displays…

    Rob adds: You might be right about that being a yogurt drink. It’s certainly a specific description! As for the rest of your comments, …. Thanks, Ray! 😀

  15. #15 ~*~ Jennifer ~*~
    on Oct 31st, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Funny stuff… I’m going to share on Facebook. Ü

    Rob adds: Glad you enjoyed it, ~*~ Jennifer ~*~. 🙂

  16. #16 Heidi
    on Nov 5th, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Actually, the hot and spicy beef granules are little chunks of beef jerky. No, I’m not kidding. Here they also will package “free gifts” onto certain items (eg. mugs with yogurt, or spoons with yogurt, or a bottle of OJ with a can of Pringles), hence the OJ on the corn oil. However, I haven’t seen crocodile or dried reptiles at my Walmart here. The sterilized Lactic Acid Bacteria Beverage is milk (or possibly yogurt). Either way, that box is strawberry flavored. The ribs are typically from pigs.

    Wal-Mart is different all over the world. 🙂

    Rob adds: Thanks for clarifying some of those things, Heidi. Shopping there is a real adventure, isn’t it? 😉