Saturday, January 24, 2009

San Nin Faai Lok (新年快樂)

Monday is Chinese New Year, one of the most important holidays here in France (that might be a bit of an exaggeration). This new year will be year 4707 by the Chinese calendar, and I believe that makes it the Year of the Ox. Unlike Western New Year, which is just one night of getting drunk and waiting for a big ball to drop so you can kiss that hot girl across the room, Chinese New Year is 15 whole days of drinking, eating, and giving money to people (or getting money if you are younger, but unfortunately that ship has sailed for me). George and I prepared for Chinese New Year by going to the Paris Store, which as its name implies, is the largest chinese grocery store in Lyon.

99% of the foods George grew up with in Hong Kong can be found in Seattle, and for that 1% that cannot, the largest population of Hong Kong-ers outside of Hong Kong can be found just a couple hours north of Seattle in Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately, chinese products are not so easy to find in Lyon. Lyon has a few chinese, thai, vietnamese, etc. restaurants and groceries here, but for the most part the are all just generic asian food, wth mostly the same menu or choices of only the most common chinese items. They are lacking most of the items we like, and what they do have is quite expensive.

The Paris Store is on the south side of Lyon, and is US grocery store sized, and has many more choices, and more reasonable prices. We still couldn't find the things we really wanted, but maybe enough to hold us over until we go to Hong Kong in a couple months. My friend from work, Marco, gave us a ride, so since we did not have to worry about hauling everything back on the bus, we stocked up on sauces, drinks, and noodles. The store even had like 5 different kinds of peanut butter, which is unheard of in France! I didn't recognize any of the brands though, so I bought one of each, and we will see which is the best.

I'm starting to get used to the food here in Lyon, but I still find myself missing "American" food. Some french restaurants are, of course, amazing, but they are also kind of expensive and french fast food is pretty much pizza, sandwiches, McDonald's, or kebabs. I miss the variety that we had in Seattle--great thai food, great chinese food, good mexican food, better indian food, etc. And I miss the little things like Pop-Tarts, Mountain Dew, Starburst, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Morning Star Farms breakfast patties. Also, not being much of a meat eater, my choices in Lyon are extremely limited.

Going to the Chinese grocery brings some more variety to my diet, and some of the "American" foods that I had become quite used to. I'd still kill for a good burrito or taco though.


Scott McArthur said...

you know if you send people your address, you may get surprises in the mail!

michael said...

Are you going to mail me a taco?

Senegal Daily said...

I go to the stores near Guillotière often, but never even knew about the Paris Store. Thanks!

Do you know about It may help with some of those American food cravings :)

michael said...

Oh yes, I know about the lyon-eats blog. It helped me find cheap peanut butter and pancake syrup :-)

The Paris Store, is actually called the Paristore (one s), and is located at
8 Boulevard Irene Joliot Curie 69200 Venissieux
If you want to check it out.