Shopping for basic groceries and essentials in Suzhou is mostly fuss free, given the many supermarkets scattered around the city. The main problem is if you’re a passionate home cook and fussy foodie longing for authentic tastes of home. Hunting down the right cuts of beef for a weekend barbecue, a free-range chicken for a nice roast in the oven, or even baking tools and ingredients can be a challenge. Here, we present best foreign-friendly supermarkets that stock everything from rosemary and basil, to taco seasoning, cupcake frosting kits and dryer sheets.
When it comes to variety and quality, Fresh Mart is by far Suzhou’s best supermarket. It stocks an amazing selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood and meats, and boasts an impressive delicatessen with fine cheeses and cold cuts. We were most delighted with its collection of baking products as well. There was shredded coconut, a mind boggling variety of nuts and several varieties of flour. Well-organized and spacious, the supermarket is also a joy to shop in; there’s no need to jostle with the crowds and wrestle your way through a maze of shopping carts. All this luxury, however, comes at a cost: prices here are slightly higher than what you’d pay elsewhere. As such, it’s probably best to shop here only for the rare stuff, and stock up on other more easily found essentials elsewhere.
It may not be as swanky as Fresh Mart, but Summit is the go-to supermarket for reasonably priced fresh meats. We found a lovely deep red slab of prime rib, and if you’re looking for a juicy whole bird to roast, this supermarket probably has what you need. It’s also got a variety of exotic sauces and is well-stocked with fresh herbs and bottled spices. The fresh vegetable section offers the expected basics and essentials, but as a bonus, you may also find a good selection of salad leaves and exotic fruit. The supermarket also has an impressive collection of wines, and you’ll find bottles of reds and whites all the way from Italy to Australia.
The section downstairs has a decently stocked delicatessen and a good selection of dairy products. However, while the supermarket stocks a variety of meats with some good cuts, they are mostly frozen. Shopping at the fresh fruit and vegetable section is also a game of luck, since the supermarket seems to run out quite quickly. Upstairs, however, there is an impressive selection of dried snacks and foods, and imported lifestyle essentials. Here, you’ll find a variety of foreign brands and necessities such as Bounce dryer sheets and Febreze fabric refresher.
This Walmart affiliated supermarket is a sprawling behemoth, and the main appeal seems to be the availability of fresh meats and seafood. This occupies a rather large section of the first floor, and is where you can find everything from fresh whole chicken, salmon fillets and rib eye steaks. The rest of the supermarket is pretty much standard fare. The supermarket stocks large quantities of the basic foods and essentials, but the variety and selection is rather limited. You’ll also need a member’s card to shop here, and staff can be inflexible when it comes to enforcing the no-lending and no-borrowing rule.
More a department store than a supermarket, this seems to be the only decently-stocked foreign-friendly option in the SND area. One of its biggest draws is that apart from a decent selection of groceries and lifestyle essentials, Metro also has an electronics and a shoe and apparel section. Over at the fresh foods section, there is good variety in the cuts of beef offered, but the range of chicken produce up for grabs is somewhat limited. The foreign foods aisle stocks a rather comprehensive range of sauces and ingredients such as bottled anchovies, canned olives, and Dijon mustard. The fresh vegetable section is also rather impressive, with a wide variety of fresh herbs including mint, parsley, basil and rosemary. A membership is also required to shop at Metro, but staff here tend to be flexible where this is concerned.