Saving money in Shanghai: Food

If you have read even but a little of Developing City, then you should be aware of some of the recurring themes of this Shanghai Expat magazine website. Blog.

A slight rejection of the expectations, norms, delusions and systematic clique-ishness of the enforced Shanghai Expat Bubble ‘Lifestyle’.

That’s not to say that conformity does not have its merits. We’re not simply criticising people for wanting to live in nice, expensive apartments, eat at nice, expensive restaurants and browse the city for nice, expensive love-affairs.

Such grotesque-ry is perhaps necessary for people to cope with the horror of a mundane and regular existence.

I think more what we are ridiculing of those people who simply do not have the financial means to shoulder such an affluent lifestyle — yet still try to.

Those who are essentially wannabes and pretenders, unable to simply take some of the most important aspects of being human – humility and honesty – and apply them to their own existence. So they instead desperately cling on to the notion that they must — muststrap themselves into a into a straight-jacket of conformity and clamour to obtain possessions, friends and buffet items that, in reality, they may not even like. Yeah.

So for both (1) those people and (2) just normal people like you and me that need to, and therefore like to; save money sometimes — here are a few basic ideas.

We’ll start with food this time.

Again, a combination of expat and just normal reasons apply in Shanghai.

The first is laziness.

Then, there is the convenience of the Shanghai delivery food and fast food in Shanghai on offer.

Also, there is the expat bubble penchant for eating outside where people can look at you being an expat eating outside at whichever is the latest faddy and socially peer-endorsed restaurant.

If you do want to save money, then take it upon yourself to have the confidence to reject those things.

And here are a few ideas for alternatives.

Cooking can be cheap. The things that are over-priced as being ‘foreign’ in Shanghai are very cheap and easy to make at home.

Thai food, pasta, burgers, bread … just look at this Shanghai recipe page for two examples.

Tom yum soup

This one didn't have that much cheese - but you get the idea of the moistness packed within.

This one didn’t have that much cheese – but you get the idea of the moistness packed within.

You should invest in an oven (1000 RMB) and a bread machine (400 RMB).

Then you can make things like this super easy carrot cake:



Or this also-easy brownie:



You see expensive cookies in China – this is a simple recipe for butter cookies:

1 cup of butter (around 100g), 1 cup of white sugar. Cream these together in a bowl. Add one large, beaten egg. Add 2.5 cups of flour. Sprinkle of salt. 2 teaspons vanilla.  That’s it!

That’s a basic idea, and of course you can find millions of cookie and any recipes online – you just need to do it yourself and stop frittering away resources outside.


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Categories: Food


Foreigner in Shanghai


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