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How to Survive?Eating Organic in Shanghai

By ShanghaiFamily 2018-12-26 14:48:55

Eating Organic in Shanghai

Everyone at some point wants to eat a bit healthier. Whether that is going gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, or just trying to eliminate your daily Jian Bing breakfast habit, changing what you eat can be challenging in Shanghai. And, as you fall down a search engine hole for “food safety” or get swept up in alarming WeChat conversations about washing all your grapes individually, you may start to consider eating only organic goods from here on out! Here are some tips on how to survive finding and eating organic food in Shanghai.

1) Learn how to say “organic” in Mandarin: youji pronounced “yoh gee.” Take yourself to the wet market and in your best Mandarin ask “zhe ge she youji ma?” which means “is this organic?” If the shop seller laughs, cast a wary eye and move onto the next stall. If the shop seller smiles widely and nods, cast a wary eye none the less. Chances are they either didn’t understand your terrible Mandarin accent or they just want you to buy the darn spinach. But then you have to ask yourself… is the spinach neon green because it’s super organic or because it’s painted? The point is you don’t know and you likely never will.

2) Ditch your supermarket memberships. Chances are you won’t be finding any “certified organic” goods there anyway. Instead, let your fingers do the walking and sign up for all of the home delivery options like Epermarket and Fields. Use their search tools to look up organic produce and then marvel at how much more expensive organic carrots are than non-organic carrots. Put all the items into your e-basket and realize you’re about to spend your month’s worth of grocery budget on one shop, and then tell youself that it will be so worth it for those knobbly carrots!

3) Grow your own fruits and veggies at home! There are many different garden centers for you to choose from around Shanghai that will allow you to get all that you need for your very own personal organic garden. Growing your own organic goods is arguably the best way to control every aspect of the produce you’re eating. However, it may also be the best way to fail spectacularly at a new hobby. In the end, you may find yourself admitting that your thumb is a bit more brown than green because you can’t even get a single cherry tomato to grow. Back to the wet market?

The great thing about organic foods in Shanghai is that, while they’re still a new and wondrous thing here, they’re much more readily available than they were even a year ago! However, the lack of a consistent global definition for organic foods can make it hard for anyone to know exactly what they’re buying. When in doubt, buy yourself a really good vegetable and fruit wash and scrub away! Because ingesting vegetable soap couldn’t possibly be worse than ingesting pesticides right? Right?! *Sigh*.