Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in Arkansas in 1962. Over the past 50 years, Walmart has been helping people globally to save money with it’s cheaper prices and serve as a one-stop shop with a variety of products from cleaning supplies to clothing to groceries and more! Walmart in China began in 1996 when it opened locations in Shenzhen. Walmart China or 沃尔玛 Wò’ērmǎ operates 443 stores, with 412 Walmart Supercenter locations and 23 Sam’s Club locations. You can pretty much find anything at your local Walmart and even though many of the products might be made in China make no mistake walking into Walmart in China you probably won’t “feel at home”. The Chinese are known for their exotic taste in foods and strange food products so if you can imagine you can find anything from date juice to every type of dumpling to tanks of fish, frogs and turtles.. (not as pets). Why do the Chinese love Walmart so much? Well, many consumers particularly trust big names like Walmart, which has been a leader in “real” food in China and pays attention to inspections and standards. They also have a different sort of system that is a “hypermarket store” and ranges anywhere from six thousand to over ten square meters. They offer more than twenty thousands of types of fresh foods, clothes, household appliances, grocery and more. The Walmart hypermarket provides one-stop shopping experiences for our customers.
10. Crocodile in Frozen Meats
Walmart in China is the only Walmart that offers entire frozen crocodiles for sale. Chinese food goes beyond the ordinary, especially in the meat department. Not to mention their presentation of the meat, specifically crocodile meat. The crocodiles are usually arranged in rows, with an orange stuffed in its jaw and covered with ice. There is a popular saying in Guangdong that describes the craze the Chinese people have for exotic meats like a crocodile, “There is nothing Guangdong people wouldn’t eat in the sky, besides planes, and on the ground, cars”. Now even though these are readily available not everyone is buying them on a regular because crocodile meat is a treat to have as part of your meal. The Chinese love the chicken meat-likeness of the crocodile but also eat it for it’s “medicinal” benefits. Apparently, it is considered to be a highly nutritional source of meat and one that can also cure respiratory illnesses like asthma. Dishes prepared with crocodile include Crocodile curry, Crocodile tail steaks and crocodile soup! It’s said that crocodile tastes just like chicken… so would you buy and try a croc for dinner?!
9. Whole Sharks
If you are looking to cook a special dinner or scare your friend, you can get a full-size shark in the frozen meat sector. Sharks are not the friendliest or cutest of animals so to see them in the frozen section out in the open is a little more terrifying than appetizing. On the contrary, the Chinese find this very appealing for some special dishes that just adds to their weird taste in freakish food. Although, in China, this is a great marketing tactic by Walmart. The sharks are on display where anyone and everyone can touch it and see it before they decide which one they will purchase for their tasty dinner meal. The sharks are used to make a special traditional dish called Shark Fin Soup, shark fin is served at big events like a wedding and is a symbol of class and wealth. They may also grill shark steaks and wash it down with some red wine or beer, not the typical beefsteak we are used too that’s for sure!
8. Buckets and Buckets of RICE
Rice is a staple in Chinese dishes and is eaten with almost every meal, so of course, buying it in bulk is the only way to buy it! At Walmart stores in China, you can find entire containers filled with rice to fill up as little or as much as your heart desires. Not only are there multiple buckets of rice but there are different types of rice to choose from! You thought it was just white rice or jasmine rice? No, no there is a whole section dedicated to these filled containers. As bizarre as it may sound, there are no food handling policies in the Walmart stores in China. Not only can you feel the crocodiles and sharks to choose the juiciest meat but the rice is also left in the open for every hand to smell, select and scoop into a bag. Customers are allowed to smell the rice being sold to find the specific aroma of their rice of choice. You can only imagine how many times you would need to wash the rice before considering to cook it!
7. Mystery Meats And Chicken Feet
Now as if the large cold-blooded water animals were not enough there are also all sorts of mystery meat sections. Sometimes you know what it is and sometimes you don’t but for the Chinese, it’s one and the same, it just depends on what’s cheapest or what they are planning to cook that day. They love their meat and they will eat just about anything, throw it in a pot or in a frying pan and cook it up served with a mountainside of white rice and maybe some garlicky bok choy. Chinese people believe in using all parts of the animal in their cooking, nothing gets wasted whether it’s a chicken, a pig or a crocodile, they have a recipe for a dish with any inch of any animal. Chicken feet, in particular, are a Chinese delicacy and a very popular dish to eat out at restaurants or make at home for dinner. Chicken feet can be cooked and marinated or a popular crunchy snack if dried out.
6. Every Kind of Egg, Even Blue… Not Refrigerated
Eggs are plentiful and quite diverse in China. In Canada or the US it may seem very strange to not have eggs refrigerated but in China, you never buy your eggs from the fridge. Not only that but you can find any eggs your thinking about scrambling or having sunny side up that day! Walmart in China offers anything from little quail eggs to goose or duck eggs or blue eggs and the standard chicken eggs. Although even the chicken eggs come in many forms, to give you an idea there are brown eggs, white eggs, pre-laid eggs and bantum eggs, these eggs come from a species of small chicken called a Bantum. Additionally, in China, they do not refrigerate their eggs because if they have not been washed clean of their natural coating they do not need refrigeration. In North America, they are washed unlike China so we are used to only seeing them in the fridge. See, once eggs have been washed or refrigerated, they must continue to be refrigerated. Eggs in Europe and China dont have the same procedure so they can be left at room temperature for weeks at a time.
5. An Entire Aisle For Instant Noodles
Instant noodles are a staple in almost every Chinese home or at least in your to go bag. They are cheap, easy and quick to prepare not to mention come in so many tastes that there is something for every palate. China buys more instant noodles than any other nation… in the world! To get a better understanding on how much the Chinese love noodles there is an old saying from China that represents their enthusiasm for noodles, “I would prefer no house to live in, rather than no noodles to eat.” You can begin to see why they have an entire aisle dedicated to noodles at their local Walmart now. When it comes to Chinese noodles there is a huge selection that varies from flavours, ingredients, shape and width of the noodles and manner of preparation. The instant noodle selection in Walmart stores in China go far and wide and the Chinese can choose from chicken, beef, pork, seafood or vegetable noodles with pork, beef and seafood probably being the most popular. The spices in these instant noodle mixes are a wide variety that varies from garlic, lemon, ginger or lemongrass to cinnamon or star anise. They sound like a tasty gourmet dish but they hold no nutritional value, it’s a little mind blowing how much this nation loves instant noodles!
4. Seafood Galore – Wet And Dried
Most grocery stores and restaurants in China have a section where you can purchase lobster, crabs and fish live but Chinese Walmart sells almost everything from the ocean from an assortment of fish to eel. There is an entire row of Seafood at Walmart China! You can find anything from fish that you can quite literally fish out of tanks, to an assortment of squid, octopus, shrimp, and more in ice buckets. Now it might be a little strange to fish for seafood while grocery shopping but this is something you can see at the Walmart in China and management has even provided fishing equipment for them to do so. It is common to have fish tanks at supermarkets like Walmart and restaurants so that they can pick their meal and have it as fresh as possible! And if you are just looking to snack, you can also find calamari, shrimp and more dried up and ready for munching, just grab a bag like you are at the bulk barn and fill it up! Dried squid, for example, is like stringy jerky with a seafood taste, a favourite amongst the Chinese. Dried seafood snacks are considered to be healthy snacking options in China, therefore the Walmart stores offer bunkers and bunkers of an assortment of these snacks.
3. Frogs and Turtles
Here we go again! A pond or a lake are not the only places you can find live frogs and turtles. As mentioned the Chinese are known for their exotic, weird and eccentric taste in food and will cook up anything and everything into a “delicious” dish. From crocodiles to sharks to chicken feet and yes even frogs and turtles. It is not uncommon for the Chinese to buy their dinner still “alive” and take it upon themselves to finish the job and get all the parts of the animals cooking. Almost any Walmart store in China will have live frogs and turtles on display ready for purchase. Walmart’s management decided to adhere to providing their customers what they love to eat and since there is a demand for it, you can walk into Chinese Walmart and truly see it for yourself. The frogs are a delicacy and they especially love to eat frog legs but remember they use every part of the animal for their cooking, bones and all tossed in the pot. Turtles are also a delicacy and the Chinese consider eating turtles as a form of “medicine”, they will eat hard or soft-shelled turtles and use them in meals like soup. For the rest of us, living or dead, turtles and frogs are not an ideal item to put in our shopping carts or have it served on the dining table.
2. Numb and Spicy Hot Pot Flavoured Chips
When Western junk food comes to China there are some strange and unexpected new flavours that emerge like kimchi, seaweed, braised pork, cucumber and none other than numb and spicy hot pot flavour! There are many types of hot pot in China all with different broth flavours but two of the most popular hot pots are Sichuan and Chongquin hot pot. Hot pot is a Chinese cooking method with a simmering pot of soup stock as ingredients are placed into the pot and cooked right before your eyes. Lay’s has a flavour inspired by Chongqing hot pot available only in China. You can find it at a few supermarkets but you can always find it in the chip aisle at Walmart! Amongst the various other flavours like grilled squid flavour and sizzled barbeque flavour the numb and spicy hot pot is probably the most popular! Mala huoguo is the Chinese term for the numbingly spicy hot pot that originates from Sichuan and Chongqing which is extremely popular in many areas of China. The genius’ at Lay’s combined the zesty taste of Chongqing-style broth and the kick of Sichuan peppercorn to make this popular flavour for China.
1. Reptile Parts
As though all of the items above were not strange enough, the cherry on top or rather, the lizard tail and snakehead top it all off. Consumers in Chinese Walmart stores can also purchase various dried pieces from a wide variety of reptiles like heads, legs and different body parts. Why you ask do they sell or even purchase these reptile parts?! For soups, salads or even to make a sandwich with this wide assortment of chunked meat from different reptiles. Remember the Chinese have a very strange and exotic taste especially when it comes to meats! Think of any reptile and you can probably find it packaged and sold in clear bags of different sizes. People who can’t afford to buy a whole crocodile for dinner can come to this bunker instead and get a bag of a croc’s head or front leg or tail. Sounds a little disturbing to shop in Walmart China, just make sure next time you are eating out and order chicken it’s not actually a croc’s tail from Walmart! Of course, there are plenty more where that came from! There are a few more honourable mentions like frozen donkey meat, fox meat, skinned and dried ducks and even pig snouts. Walmart China also carries the countries most popular and favourite fruit, enormous Durian and durian chocolate bars, fermented dairy candies, beef granules wrapped as candies, individual mini Weiner snacks and meat snacks vacuum sealed. They also have a roasting chestnut stand in the store, makes you think of Christmas, doesn’t it? Last but not least you can also find a variety of alcohol at the Walmart in China anything from beer to wine to spirits! Would you shop at Walmart in China? It would be an interesting shopping trip to say the least!