I find food a tricky subject to talk about, your quality standards on food may be higher or lower than mine. Your cost of food depending on where your from may be higher, on par or lower than the prices in Macau. I’ll try not to place to much of my own prejudice into this article as I can be a bit particular about my food.
To start off you have to know that there is very little to no food production that happens here in Macau, there is certainly not enough land to grow vegetables, or to raise livestock. Hence all food either makes its way from China or is imported from other countries.
I took pictures of some of the items I found in my local ParkNShop recently so that you can judge for yourself the quality and the pricing of each items. I just want to point out that there is a vast difference between food products such as vegetables brought in from China and those that are imported.
There are a few super market chains that exist here in Macau, San Miu, Royal Supermaket (picture pending), and ParkNShop are the more prevalent chain’s around town. I would categorize ParkNShop a notch above San Miu as it has more imported fruits and vegetables. The Supreme Market is well know for having a very well stocked variety of imported products, you’ll find many of their vegetables listed from the country of origin along with imported meats and other items. Shopping at Supreme comes with a price but I suppose you get what you pay for…
While there is some variety of western items across all of the markets such as canned tuna, other canned items, chocolates, and potato chips, you’ll be hard pressed to find what I call specialty items. Want chili powder, or a specific spice? Looking for a specific brand of hot sauce? they will be very hard to find at San Miu or at ParkNShop. To date I have yet to find corn tortillas, but I digress… However there is a bit of a hidden gem here in Macau. Most people know it as Mama Care, I believe its called this because the second floor is actually a store that sells baby products. This store is great, they have a large variety of Costco branded Kirkland products. You may actually feel as though you are in a mini Costco.
If you do see an item you like make sure to buy it up because it could be weeks or months before this item is stocked on the shelves again. It wasn’t until I brought a local friend with me that she was actually able to ask them to order something if we agreed to buy the whole case.
Thinking back to before I moved to Macau I may find this post odd or irrelevant as far as what kinds of food there is in Macau… What I have found is that after a few months here, when you start feeling a bit homesick, or start craving something from back home the Mama Care store can be a life saver.
On a final note, and I’ll write about this a bit more when I talk about typhoon season. As a typhoon approaches the markets can be emptied out pretty quickly. Macau people have different shopping habits than westerners, they tend to shop as they need as opposed to shopping for a whole week. So make sure that you get to the market early if a typhoon is approaching, also its a good idea to have several 1 gallon water bottles at home and some canned foods to get you though the duration of the typhoon.
Signing off from Macau!