The ChinesePod Weekly
ChinesePod Weekly – Convenience Stores in China
This week for our Newsletter we’re going to discuss convenience store brands in China and what you can expect to find in one. Though most of the items you get in a convenience store will not be very healthy, and our meet-up topic this month is health in China , we thought it might be fun to expand on the lesson we did this week called “Trip to the Convenience Store”. Here is a selection of some of the popular items you’d find in any convenience store and some of the biggest convenience store chains in China.
Most of the items you’ll find in convenience stores in China are pretty standard. You’ll see sodas, snacks like chips and nuts, as well as all types of candy. There are also some popular non-edible items like cigarettes and charge cards for your cell-phone. However, Chinese convenience stores also have a few special items worth mentioning. Most of these are breakfast related, so with your cup of coffee what is it that you’d like to get?
First up, the Tea Egg, so called because it is soaked in boiling water with tea. These can provide that morning protein you’re looking for and they have a bit more flavor than a plain hardboiled egg. Another local favorite is the morning hot dog. Some people like to eat it with a baggette or chang gun mianbao (长棍 面包). Finally there are rice dumplings, usually displayed in a steamer, wrapped in leaves with bamboo. They’re made of glutinous rice with a variety of possible fillings. These are just some typical and inexpensive breakfast dishes you can find in any convenience store. Just add a cup of coffee and you’re set for the morning.
As for the different chains of convenience stores, there are a few big names and then a couple smaller brands as well. First off, you have Lawsons, Family Mart, and 7-11. Both Family Mart and Lawsons are Japanese companies (though Lawsons was started in the U.S.A.). These three brands typically carry the similar items, though there are some beers only available in Lawsons, and for a reason we have yet to uncover Family Mart does not sell cigarettes (though we do not encourage smoking, it is quite popular in China). The smaller chains are Alldays, Quick, and C-Store. The major advantage these stores have is that they are everywhere. Also recently C-store has started selling good coffee in the morning for 6RMB—a steal considering Starbucks would be at least 17RMB.
If you would like to learn more head to the Library and check out our course “Trip to the Convenience Store”. Also, don’t forget to join a ChinesePod community near you to talk about this month’s topic of “Health in China”.
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