What are the items that I should bring with me because they’re not available (or are too expensive) where I am going?
A reasonable selection of foreign goods can be found in Chengdu at the various specialty stores but do not expect a huge variety. However, clothing will be a challenge for most western expats. Shirts, sleeves, pant legs and waist sizes are likely to be difficult for western expats. The other recommended item to bring would be specialized medicines or vitamins.
Finding off the rack clothing can be very challenging for anyone with a western figure. There are some tailors around Chengdu but the quality is not always the best.
Carrefour and Metro have a good variety of international groceries with Summers and Sabrina's offering American comfort foods. Another grocery store that is becoming increasing popular is KC Meats, a deli where you can buy “western cuts” and other deli goods.
Stores like Wal-Mart and Trust Mart have a good selection of inexpensive local products as do the numerous wet markets around Chengdu.
All of the above, with the exception of KC Meats, Sabrina’s and Summers, will carry household items.
The larger supermarkets will be similar to your home country, especially the long waits at the checkout.
If you venture into the wet markets you will find fresh produce at your fingertips. The open air displays and bargaining may take some adjusting to, but once you have mastered these skills you will be able to take advantages of Chengdu’s wide variety of fresh goods. Several expats also have their yi’s or helpers pick up food for them.
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