Going to Walmart in the United States is often a cross between an adventure and a punishment as you never really know what you’ll find. With people perusing the aisles in their pajamas to children throwing tantrums in the toy aisle, Walmart in the United States is filled with crazy and often comical chaos. But, what about Walmart stores around the world, China in particular? Are they just as crazy?
Though we’re fairly certain Chinese Walmart stores have their fair share of customers in pajamas and screaming babies, we were more shocked by what was on their shelves than by the shoppers themselves! While stores in countries like the United States, Canada and even the United Kingdom probably have very similar inventory, China has proven to be quite the exception.
From items that would be illegal in the United States to animals that would literally make you gag if someone dared you to eat them, Walmart stores in China are undoubtedly unique. So, say a brief goodbye to the comfort of the produce aisle here in America and join us as we share 20 reasons why a Chinese Walmart is sure to have you running from the store in horror! Just remember, you’ve been warned!
#20 – Crocodiles
Fresh crocodile! Come and get it! While we’ve already listed some of the craziest things found in Chinese Walmart stores like dried squid, hog heads and beef bits, fresh crocodiles easily make the top of our list! Despite being quite the pesky prey in the southeastern portion of the United States with the potential to harm people and damage property, people in China actually love crocodiles!
It’s no surprise then that Walmart stores don’t just carry parts of crocodiles in the meat department, they actually carry the whole thing! Right smack in the middle of the deli section and in between the fish and the shrimp, consumers find full-size crocodiles ready and waiting to become tomorrow night’s dinner. Of course, we aren’t sure how the heck you even begin to prepare a crocodile to cook but, thankfully, our friends in China have it all figured out! Bon appetit!
#19 – Shark Heads
On the menu tonight: lobster tails, shrimp cocktail, fish and shark! Wait, shark? Americans are notorious for eating their fair share of seafood but, sharks have never been on the menu and for good reason. Considered endangered throughout most of the world, sharks are actually unprotected in China and Japan, making them fair game as food. This means that buying a shark head at Walmart was, at one time, just as normal as buying a hog’s head.
Though seeing a shark head in Walmart will probably never seem normal to us, we’ve heard that shark fin soup, a delicacy from China, is actually quite tasty. Since shark meat itself is notorious for being stringy and tough, fishermen often only save the fins of the shark and throw the rest back into the water. Either way, it’s hard to imagine dining on Jaws even if Walmart has it on their weekly special!
#18 – Pig Faces
If shark heads weren’t shocking enough in Chinese Walmart stores then the pig faces just might do the trick! While we love everything pork-related here in the United States from hot dogs and pork chops to ham and bacon, our enjoyment pales in comparison to the Chinese who literally devour every part of the pig.
Imagine walking down the meat aisle only to find a pig face staring back at you. Far from being a Halloween prank, Chinese Walmarts often stock pig heads and faces as one of the best-selling items in the department. It seems a bit crazy, especially since we refrain from eating the heads of any animals here in the United States, but the Chinese swear that pig face tastes absolutely delicious when cooked right. We’ll just have to take their word for it!
#17 – Fox Meat
From squirrel and opossum to dove and deer, we eat a lot of wild animals in the United States but, this doesn’t mean that we’ll eat just anything. Included in our list of don’ts when it comes to meat is fox, which is something that puzzles people in China. Packaged and bought just like we buy turkey or chicken in America, fox is treated as an everyday staple for the Chinese.
While we’re used to seeing slimy raw chicken packaged and ready to cook, the sight of slimy raw fox meat seems completely unappetizing but, that’s the norm for Walmarts in China. The Chinese actually take their fox meat pretty seriously as the country got into a fair amount of trouble in 2014 when it was discovered that the donkey meat sold in the stores was cross-contaminated with the fox meat. Now, you know things are different in China when people get ticked off when their donkey meat accidentally touches their fox meat. Perhaps we’ll just stick with chicken!
#16 – Chicken Feet
Americans might not know how delicious reptiles taste but, it’s undeniable that we know chicken. As the most popular meat in the United States, it’s estimated that an American eats 90 pounds of chicken each year! From grilled or deep fried to buffalo wings of every flavor imaginable, chicken is a staple on any American menu. Heck, we even put it on pizza and waffles!
While we definitely love our chicken, the Chinese just might love it more. Oh say it isn’t so! As we battle over the ultimate dilemma of white or dark meat, Chinese Walmart shoppers stock up on one of their favorite snacks: chicken feet. Widely considered as a tasty treat, the Chinese love chicken feet especially because of its medicinal use. Packed with collagen and calcium, which helps people appear younger, it’s no surprise why people in China never seem to age!
#15 – Dried Reptile
Can you name the most delicious reptile on the market? Alright, so other than alligator on a stick at the local state fair, you probably can’t think of many since reptiles aren’t on the top of American menus. But, someone from China can likely think of a few since reptiles are a fine dining menu choice. So, where exactly do they buy these reptiles that are soon meant to be dinner?
Walmart – the store that really has it all! Chinese shoppers can find a variety of reptiles in their local Walmart meat departments from fresh daily selections to dried out and pre-packaged like the squid we saw earlier on our list. Displayed much like sausage, rice and eggs are in large open bins, customers pay a pretty penny to select fresh alligator, lizard and even turtle ribs. Of course, it seems like a fair price to pay for not having to wrestle an alligator for dinner, if you ask us!
#14 – Dried Squid
Have you ever had calamari? If so, did you like it? While we occasionally eat squid in America, mostly in the form of calamari, it’s safe to say that Americans are far from being considered as squid connoisseurs. However, in China, squid is just as common as hamburgers are in America as even the local Walmart stores ensure their shelves are stocked with China’s favorite snack.
Packaged much like beef jerky in the United States, squid is considered a protein-packed snack that is tasty and convenient. The process is even similar to that of beef jerky as the squid is skinned and dried out for about 16 hours until moisture levels fall below 40 percent. Then, the squid sits in a cold room for up to two weeks to cure. From there, the squid is heated as its moisture levels drop even further until it is finally ready to eat. Mmm yum! Tastes just like beef!
#13 – Live Sea Animals
Welcome to the Walmart Aquarium; go ahead and pick your dinner! Remember the days when you could pick out your own lobster or crabs at the grocery store? While this option is quite rare these days thanks to people being more sensitive about that type of stuff, the practice is still very much alive and well in China. Well, perhaps not alive for much longer!
The same way you might have picked out your own lobster or crab in the United States, you can pick out your own eel or other fish at Walmart in China. In what looks like an aquarium from a pet store, Walmart has its own live-deli section where customers get to shop and select their dinner. From eels and turtles to squid and other fish, your dinner is literally swimming around before your very eyes. Don’t even worry about calling for a Walmart employee to help. Once you’ve made your pick, feel free to catch it and bag it yourself! Now that’s what we call fresh!
#12 – Bins of Sausage
Just as you pass the chicken feet in the meat department, you might notice the smell of sausage getting stronger and, it’s no wonder! With massive bins filled to the brim with sausage links, people gather around to select and bag their own meats. We only wish we were kidding!
Without refrigeration or sanitation standards, it’s basically a free-for-all when it comes to buying sausage at a Walmart in China. We’re not quite sure where the practice of sausage bins for shoppers originated but we’re fairly certain that we don’t want everyone in the store handling our dinner! In fact, by this point even the hog heads and the dried squid look like a safer bet than these gigantic greasy meat bins!
#11 – Powdered Horse Milk
Got milk? While cows produce most of the world’s milk, there are plenty of other animals who could help! From buffaloes, goats and sheep to camels, donkeys and horses, these animals produce milk that can be consumed. But, that doesn’t mean the world is ready to drink it, or are they?
China is actually the only country in the world who sells and drinks horse milk. Known as Kumis, horse milk is actually a starter culture that has a higher sugar content than milk typically produced from cows or goats. For recipes that call for powdered milk or for those rare cravings (yuck!), Chinese Walmart stores have just the answer with their Golden Horde Powdered Horse Milk which, thanks to the label, we know isn’t made from ponies.
#10 – Fake Sheep Offal
Slice it, dice it, fry it, and try it! Spam: the miracle meat! That’s right, even China has their own version of Spam. Though this delicacy is known as “fake sheep offal”, you first have to know what offal is to appreciate the dish. Offal is actually the parts of a butchered animal that are considered inedible. In other words, these are the parts of an animal that should be thrown out and never eaten. But, that isn’t the case in China…or is it?
Before you get too grossed out, remember that this dish is called “fake sheep offal”. Instead of using the actual inedible parts of the sheep (that would be just gross), this dish is only made to look and taste like it. So, the next time you get a craving for sheep guts, China is the place to be! Heck, even their presentation is quite beautiful for something as disgusting as sheep Spam!
#9 – Animal Eggs
Scrambled, over easy or sunny-side up, Americans love their eggs but, perhaps not as much as people in China. Unless you shop at a specialty grocery store that takes great pride in stocking rare and odd foods, Americans typically don’t have many choices when it comes to the type of eggs they can buy. Simply put, our choices are: chicken eggs or organic chicken eggs. How’s that for variety?
In China, however, eggs and variety really go hand in hand. Walmart stores in China actually stock a variety of eggs to meet the demands of their customers. With part of the local cuisine including shark fin soup and hog head, it makes sense, doesn’t it? From frog eggs and snake eggs to fish eggs and goose eggs, Chinese Walmart stores have entire displays dedicated to a variety of eggs that come in all shapes, sizes, colors and, we imagine, flavors for even the most curious of palettes!
#8 – Meat Floss Donuts
Mmmm mmm tasty! Doesn’t the name “Meat Floss” sound anything but tasty? Originally named Rousong, meat floss is also known as “meat wool” and “pork floss” and is a dried meat, most commonly pork, which has a fairly fluffy texture. Just imagine beef jerky that is shredded to look more like chewing tobacco in a tin can. Sounds delicious, right?
Well, as shocking as it may seem, people in China go nuts for meat floss and put it on pretty much everything from tofu to even pastries and donuts! While you typically find apple crumbs, sprinkles or cream cheese on pastries and donuts here in the United States, Walmart stores in China cover their donuts with, you guessed it, meat floss! Darn, you took the last meat floss donut? That’s alright, we’ll stick with our favorite: chocolate filled with sprinkles!
#7 – Snicker Batteries
Chocolate makes everything better, even batteries! Imagine it’s Friday night here in the United States and you’re planning on ordering pizza and playing video games. The only problem is, the batteries are about to die in your controller and you need snacks (ok, so you really just want some chocolate). A quick trip to the local Walmart and $100 later, you have a grocery cart full of chocolate candy, chips, sodas and batteries. So much for ordering pizza now that you’ve blown your food budget!
If you lived in China, however, you wouldn’t have this problem! A quick trip to a Chinese Walmart and you would discover that instead of filling a cart, you could get everything you needed with one item. Nope, we’re not joking! In China, you can buy three Snickers bars in a package with AA batteries, the perfect answer to your Friday night dilemma. With money left over for pizza, how could you go wrong?
#6 – Diet Water
Have you packed on a few pounds? Do you find yourself trying to squeeze into those Fat Guy Underwear? Well, instead of just cutting out sodas and eating better, why not just add more water to your diet? In China, Diet Water allows you to do just that without having to give up eating hog heads or spend hundreds on a gym membership!
Now, you’re probably already thinking: isn’t water already calorie free? Yes but, when it comes to China marketing, sometimes you have to think outside the box. Much like the Vitamin Water found on shelves here in the United States, Japan decided to create their own version to give consumers more nutrients as well as a boost of energy. Like health fads here in America, the trend quickly caught on and is now one of the top selling beverages in Walmart stores throughout China! Say goodbye to those Fat Guy Underwear, after all!
#5 – Meat Water
From miracle weight loss pills to tasty (or not so tasty) shakes to shed the pounds, people are constantly looking for the next get-skinny-quick fix! Even movies who make a profit on futuristic predictions tend to add fuel to the fire as characters of the future don’t ever really need to eat. So, how does this apply exactly to Walmart stores in China?
Well, along the same idea of diet fads and future predictions of convenient eating, Walmart stores in China market and sell Meat Water. Trust us, it’s just as disgusting as it sounds! Advertised as dinner in a bottle, flavors include everything from Cheeseburger and Fish ‘n’ Chips to Peking Duck and Beef Jerky. There’s even breakfast in a bottle with the long awaited and much anticipated debut of Brunch Omelet. Perhaps we’ll just stick with eggs and bacon!
#4 – Fat Guy Underwear
“Hey, Lois! Where’s my underwear?” Imagine for a moment that you’re traveling to China for your next great adventure but, when you arrive at the luggage claim, your bag isn’t there. No socks, no shirts, no pants and no underwear! With only the clothes on your back and an ounce of hope, you take off to the local Walmart store where you know you’re sure to find something!
Well, what do you know? Walmart saves the day as you discover the world’s most comfortable underwear! With a crude drawing of Peter Griffin from “Family Guy” on the package, you aren’t even offended by these fat guy underwear because they promise to be “very comfortable to wear with moderate elasticity and a perfect buttocks lifting effect”. With your homesickness cured for anything American (thanks, Peter), you’re kind of thrilled that China thinks your fat because now you’re butt really will look great!
#3 – Beef Granules
Hot and spicy! Come and get it! When you’re on a budget and need groceries, Walmart is definitely the way to go thanks to their Great Value brand that offers quality alternatives to name brands at more affordable prices. From gummy bears and peanut butter to soup and even beef bites, Great Value really does offer it all – just take a look at this bag!
Not just any regular old “beef granules”, these beef bites are hot and spicy, making them extra delicious (or so we hope!). Sadly, this isn’t a joke as the bag is actually filled with little cubes of individually wrapped beef bites to satisfy even the biggest beef cravings. While we eat a lot of beef in America, eating it like candy just doesn’t seem right. Though it’s a normal snack in China, we only hope that these beef bites taste just as good as our all-time favorite, beef jerky!
#2 – Rice Bins
Rice, rice everywhere! Pretty much every country in the world eats rice and, for good reason! It’s not only easy to grow and cheap to buy, it’s also fairly healthy. Sounds like a win-win right? It’s hardly surprising then that there is no other country in the entire world that eats (and buys) more rice than China. In fact, it’s almost a no-brainer!
While here in the United States, rice typically comes packaged by the pound, buying rice in China is an entirely different story, one that may even gross you out! Chinese Walmart stores roll out massive bins of rice into the center of their produce departments. Shoppers then use cups to scoop out the rice into plastic bags for purchase. Though it seems pretty similar to buying fruit and vegetables here in America, we can’t help but wonder just how sanitary this is. After all, what about bugs and germs?
#1 – Mini Watermelons
Bite sized and delicious! Watermelon is a delectable fruit that is considered a superfood thanks to it being both low in calories and high in vitamins. Here in the United States, we love watermelons especially in the summer and scour stores and local produce stands to find the biggest and juiciest watermelons of the season. Heck, stores even sell the fruit already sliced so that all shoppers have to do is buy and enjoy!
But, are there watermelons in China? Of course, but they are far from the supersize we’re used to here in America. Known as micro-watermelons, the Chinese version of the fruit bears some resemblance to the cherry tomatoes that are often served with garden salads here in the United States. Varieties of the fruit come both with and without seeds making these tiny nuggets the perfect bite sized snack when you’re on the go in a bustling country like China!