IT might be weird for most people, but I get excited every time I go grocery shopping during my travels abroad.
It seems like a very mundane thing to do, but the grocery store is among the best ways to understand a certain country, culture and people. Food is an important aspect of culture, which you can easily witness in their local grocery store. It’s always interesting to see different fruits and vegetables, and the type of junk food the locals munch on.
A trip to the supermarket is always a potential language lesson. One trip to Auchan got me twenty words richer in French – pommes, framboise, fraise, oeuf, fromage, aubergines, pain, beurre… you’re learning without even trying! I know I like my lait de soja, and my pain sans gluten. Definitely more fun than learning from an audio book.
There are plenty of food items that are staple items in the Philippines that I will rarely find in Europe, and if I do, with ridiculous price tags – Asian instant noodles, coconuts, pineapples, mangoes, dried fish, fish paste and white rice in 20-kilogram sacks.
I am also amazed at the inexhaustible kinds of cheese, milk, cream and yogurt you could have in European grocery stores! Moreover, you will see fruits or vegetables thrice as huge as Asian counterparts, such as their squash and eggplant. And then, there are also food items that you will never pick up – I mean, I love durian, but I can never fathom how other people will ever love licorice. Yick.
I came out of the grocery store with interesting food finds in my hands. Literally in my hands and struggling at it, because they don’t provide you with plastic bags readily unless you pay for it.