A big part of life is eating! A big part of my life in Hong Kong is both what/where I go out to eat and what I cook for myself. Since I recently moved from Wan Chai to Sheung Wan, I’ve started shopping at the local Fusion (I used to shop at the Taste in Hopewell Center.) So, I’m writing a post about my most recent grocery shopping trip. Here you’ll find a picture of the groceries, as well as an itemized receipt in HKD, USD, and GBP.
The receipt, clockwise from top left (prices are listed first in HKD and then afterward in USD and GBP, in parenthesis and italics):
Organic frozen Danish pork chops: 50 (marked down from 92.90) ($6.45/£4.17)
Organic apple juice: 42.90 ($5.53/£3.57)
Organic soy milk: 19.90 ($2.57/£1.66)
Frozen striped catfish: 8.80 ($1.13/£.73)
Organic choi sum: 20.80 ($2.68/£1.73)
Organic garlic shoots: 18.00 ($2.32/£1.50)
Organic carrot: 20.50 ($2.64/£1.70)
Organic dark chocolate topped rice cakes: 33.20 ($4.28/£2.77)
Organic baby corn: 16.90 ($2.18/£1.40)
French beans: 8.90 ($1.41/£.74)
Brazil chicken thigh cutlet: 21.10 ($2.72/£1.75)
Organic eggs x6: 38.90 ($5.02/£3.24)
Ginger: 3.27 ($.42/£.27)
Garlic x3: 2.50 ($.32/£.20)
Chili garlic sauce: 15.90 ($2.05/£1.32)
Crimini mushrooms: 12.90 ($4 discount) ($1.66/£1.07)
Eggplant: 2.83 ($.36/£.23)
Korean firm tofu x2: 21.00 ($2.70/£1.75)
TOTAL: $358.30 ($46.23, £29.85)
This is probably about how much I used to spend on a bi-weekly trip to Trader Joe’s (oh how I miss that store!). I’m of the mind that I should just shop for and buy what I like, and be happy with what I eat, as grocieries are never going to be that expensive for an infrequent meat eater mostly cooking alone and not drinking much alcohol. This usually proves to be true, as my monthly grocery spending usually comes to less than 5% of my monthly income, even though I buy organic whenever I can.
Isn’t that fish an absolutely amazing price? I looked into it – it’s a farm-raised variety making a low impact on the fishing industry in Vietnam. And the ginger, eggplant, and garlic prices are fantastic too, though none of these four bargain foods are organically produced. If I chose to buy carrots and other vegetables non-organic, they’d be similarly inexpensive here in HK.
Still, we should all know by now that the consumer does not pay the actual cost of non-organically farmed products. This “actual cost” factors in pesticide and machinery prices, GMO licensing fees, and deferred costs: the health costs of consuming higher levels of toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides; and the tax costs of farm subsidies paid by many citizens to support big agribusiness. If we factored in all of this, nonorganic farming would actually be much more expensive!
A recent article published in the British Journal of Nutrition describing the meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed articles found that “organic crops, on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentrations of [heavy metals] and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators across regions and production seasons”. Pretty convincing stuff. But then again, I’m already an organic consumer.