The price of Western food on your dish

[color=blue]Having been in Korea the last 8 months, it was hard to find some Western vegetables, meat, potatoes etc… Resulting in an overdose of rice each day.

I was wondering how Taipei will be when relocating with wife & baby the following weeks. Is it as expensive as other major Asian cities?

What I wanted to know;
What Hypermarkets are available (CARREFOUR, Tesco, Metro…) and do they have imported goods, and if so, what about pricing? 50% more than local stuff, or even more?

Imagine we want to cook a normal Western meal for two persons, do we have to calculate 30 US$, 50 US$, or more for some imported stuff, or are prices reasonable, and which Hypermarket is recommendable?
Is it recommended to use a freezer to store big chunks of meat (if electricity does not cut off from time to time…)

I was paying 1 US$ for an apple, 3 US$ for Rhubarb jam, and even 5 US$ for peanut butter in a CARREFOUR in Korea… what was an average of 300% more than prices in Belgium

For sure, if Western food is as expensive, I guess I have to negotiate more salary with my employer

[quote=“ceevee369”][color=blue]Having been in Korea the last 8 months, it was hard to find some Western vegetables, meat, potatoes etc… Resulting in an overdose of rice each day.

I was wondering how Taipei will be when relocating with wife & baby the following weeks. Is it as expensive as other major Asian cities?

What I wanted to know;
What Hypermarkets are available (CARREFOUR, Tesco, Metro…) and do they have imported goods, and if so, what about pricing? 50% more than local stuff, or even more?

Imagine we want to cook a normal Western meal for two persons, do we have to calculate 30 US$, 50 US$, or more for some imported stuff, or are prices reasonable, and which Hypermarket is recommendable?
Is it recommended to use a freezer to store big chunks of meat (if electricity does not cut off from time to time…)

I was paying 1 US$ for an apple, 3 US$ for Rhubarb jam, and even 5 US$ for peanut butter in a CARREFOUR in Korea… what was an average of 300% more than prices in Belgium

For sure, if Western food is as expensive, I guess I have to negotiate more salary with my employer

There is Carrefour, Tesco (one in Taipei), Jason’s, and Wellcome supermarkets. I buy Fuji apples at NT$100 (about US$3 see xe.com for conversions) for as many as 7, as few as 4.

Western food at these stores areis not as affordable as home obviously, but I don’t find it especially expensive, but then I also do most of my fruit, vegetable, fish and chicken shopping at the local wet markets.

I pay NT$120 for my raspberry jam, NT$89 for peanut butter (no special brand), diapers and wipes for your baby can be found at Costco but you can often find baby wipes on sale at the neighborhood Watson’s drugstore on sale for as little as NT$49. Baby food if you buy the readymade kind can be found at Wellcome and Jason’s.

Hope that helps a little.

Fruit is plentiful and about the same or cheaper than back home for kiwis and apples. Bananas are cheaper as are pineapples and if we have a bumper crop in summer mangoes are very cheap. They are also the best (mangoes) in the world.

Vegetables are reasonable, and normal western veggies like potatoes, tomatoes, corn, peas, etc, are readily available. Various lettuce greens are now available at your local supermarket: spinach, butter, iceberg, head.

You can get all your organic veggies, nuts, yoghurt and such at Breeze or City Super which are near MRT stations.

For $5 US you can get a small jar of German organic peanut butter (my choice as almost all the other pb’s are loaded with trans fats and sugars).

Chicken is cheaper than back home. Meat is about the same. If you want deli meats and cheeses they are more expensive but the selection is great. Expect to pay about double what you would back home.

A loaf of decent bread NT$40-80. And the bread selection is pretty good. Whole loafs of whole wheat, rye, sour dough, french country.

You can get almost anything now in Taipei including a lot of fresh spices and herbs like rosemary, basil, coriander, thyme, etc.

Oh, and the eletricity also almost never goes off here.

how about pastas? are they easy to find or any good in there?

Depends, they have a few in Tesco, and I would imagine that they have some in Costco too. The cheapest dry spaghetti I have bought (small packet, not the 1kg packet) was 1US$. Even in the small town I live in, the selection of different kinds (spaghetti, makaroni, penne) is OK. The local supermarket, Geant/Aimai, even stocks real cheese nowadays.

2 pounds of jam in Costco will be US$5, and you can get smaller glasses of good marmalade and the like in Tesco for US$3.

I have been to Korea a few years ago, and it stroke me as a more traditional and less open place than say Taiwan, so I would also expect the selection and price of foreign foods to be smaller - US bases excluded.

But only ham! Ham ham ham ham ham ham, 20 sorts, but no Salami, Leberwurst, Rotwurst (klingon blood pudding), Knappwurst, Teewurst, Jagdwurst, not to mention the 12 different sorts of each.

So I eat

rice rice rice rice rice.

With TWN salary I cannot afford the 101 western supermarket, where they even have some proper Wurst (shortly mentioned above).

Mr. He, Denmark now took over the Wurst culture from Germany. But of course, your traditional Smorebrod (cross out the o) remains unbeatable. Oh my God, I want it now.
And some clean, cold and salty Danish coast air as well…

Good answer. Depends on whether you wish to buy hard, dry Italian style noodles or a box of German spaetzle or some such thing, in which case the local selection doesn’t compare to what can be found back home (although I come from the US, where grocery stores are immense) or if you want fresh noodles in various diameters they can be bought cheaply at any traditional market.

There are few western foods (including meats, cheeses, real bread and imported beer) that one can’t find in Taipei (elsewhere in Taiwan you’re probably out of luck) if one is willing to drive to upscale markets such as the Breeze Center or Murphys 101, the western ex-pat community of Tienmu, or stores such as Costco, etc., and I feel a need to do that from time to time, but on a regular basis that’s too much hassle for me, so I’m content eating local food usually, which is cheap and plentiful. In fact it’s so much so that I eat out usually rather than cooking (something I didn’t do back home) and if one isn’t snobby or squeamish about what one eats (some people don’t like pig ears or intestine soup) one can find lots of good places that sell an adequate dinner for about US$2 - 3 per person. That’s not gourmet fare, but I find it perfectly satisfactory.

The only real thing you get hit hard on is imported perishable like cheese. Other than that, hai-hau. Staples are not nearly as, say, Tokyo. With increased availability and consumption, the prices have levelled-off a lot compared to what they used to be.

Carrefour has excellent imported-from-France, Carrefour-brand fruit jams with chunks of real fruit inside, for about 90NT (3 US$) a jar.
I wished though they had more small-size wheat bread to go with it.

CV, you should find most European things here, though “luxury”, i.e. cheeses and breads, will have to be paid for.

The European food I miss the most here, are the big pots of real yoghurt you can stick a spoon in.
In Taiwan, “yoghurt” mostly means yoghurt drink, and only ridiculously small pots of “real” yoghurt are available.

[quote=“bob_honest”]
Mr. He, Denmark now took over the Wurst culture from Germany. But of course, your traditional Smorebrod (cross out the o) remains unbeatable. Oh my God, I want it now.
And some clean, cold and salty Danish coast air as well…[/quote]

Well, the Rye bread is a bitch, but I have managed to get herrings on occation. I guess I have to learn to make liver pie…

go to the German bar on Fuxing for a good meal. The Bratwursts are made by a german, by the way.

Oh yes, Danish Smorrebrod…

Well, most of your wishes could be taken care of, all you’ll have to do is … move to Sanxia, niewaar.

Which German bar is this? On Fuxing?

If you have the address, it would be much appreciated.

[quote=“enzo+”]

The European food I miss the most here, are the big pots of real yoghurt you can stick a spoon in.
in Taiwan, “yoghurt” mostly means yoghurt drink, and only ridiculously small pots of “real” yoghurt are available.[/quote]

City Super has fantastic organic yoghurt from the US. Plain, low fat, and vanilla in 1 litre containers. The plain even has the cream on top. Delicious.

And yes, it is thick enough to hold a spoon upright.

You know what is so funny?

It seems that Taiwan offers EVERYTHING we want to eat & to drink.
But, you only have to know where to go…

That is the part of the ex-pat game I guess.

“Open your eyes and you will find”

I find it a little silly to go to another country and expect to find western food (especially fruits and vegetables) without even glimpsing at the local products. You learn to adapt a little or you learn to work lots of hours so you can afford to cook western food with only western ingredients at home all the time. I think it’s a good balance to have western food as often as you’d like, but still balance in Taiwanese ingredients and/or dishes to keep the costs down. When going to another country, especially one with a culture much more different than yours, you learn to sacrifice having everything exactly like it was back home…after all, isn’t that the main reason for traveling abroad in the first place? To experience something new?

I try… I really do try… but I get in front of that deli counter at the Far Eastern Mall and all my good intentions go up in a fragrantly pungent poof of Pont L’Eveque, Vacherin and St. Auger.

We all cave, but you can’t expect to live in a culinary bubble the whole time you live here.

Bearing what the last poster said in mind, I eat a lot of Japanese food in Taiwan (I’m not Japanese). I reckon you could eat Japanese food three times a week and have a different style each time.

As the original Belgian prospective expat noted, it is a matter of where to go. Having free time at the weekends (no weekend working) to take trips to the various parts of town helps. Quieter during the week of course. Living in central Taipei, or towards the north would help, as that’s where most of the places are. Although having said that, there is a new Costco in Chung Ho (中和) - which is in the south west of Taipei, across the river. Whilst you probably won’t end up living there, it shows the hypermarches are spreading out.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. On the other hand, there is no need to tell your company. Taiwan used to be considered a hardship posting in Asia, and part of that was access to Western food and standards of accommodation. Play that up to the max. I bet your employer’s hardship indices are years out of date. Good luck.

I ate silkworms, (maybe)dog :blush: and Kimchi :raspberry: in Korea

Kangaroo and crocodile down under :smiley:

Deer, wild pigs and Brussels sprout in Belgium. :unamused:

The best Tandoori and Thai in the UK

But never every day the same basics …
3 balls of noodle or rice is probably OK for Asians, but when we, ex-pats feel homesick (and this happens to all of us sometimes) we would kill for a good plate of French frites, or some spinach with worst.or Ben and Jerry, or a Snicker