If you haven’t heard, Costco’s coming to Shanghai
later this year, but in the meantime, there’s another contender on the field – ALDI. The German grocer has over 10,000 stores worldwide, and last month the chain opened two pilot stores (its first in Mainland China) here in Shanghai.
On one visit to the Jingan location (the other is in Minhang), the place was surprisingly quiet. The store has all the fixings of your typical grocer’s – both locally sourced and imported fresh fruits, veg and meat, a bakery and the like. As you enter, there’s a section called Super Savers, where every week select items are slashed to prices nearly comparable to those you'd find at a wet market.
There’s an impressive imported wine and spirits collection, which features a screen where you can scan the barcode on any wine and get its info including origin, flavour notes and foods to pair it with.
For those who are far from culinary wizards, the ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook sections are pretty convenient. The area is packed with dozens of pre-packaged meals that either need a quick zap in the microwave or ten minutes with some oil in a frying pan. There’s a wide selection, like salmon poke bowls for about 25RMB or Shanghainese-style pork chops for 15RMB.
QR codes that open a WeChat mini-program are also scattered around the space, letting shoppers scan and pay for any item anywhere in the store. We're not sure how they keep track of who's paid their bill before walking out and who hasn't, but It's a convenient system nonetheless (and all in Mandarin, FYI).
Whether you live nearby and need groceries, or you just want to grab a snack after a night at Cages (the store is just downstairs), this ALDI is quite conveniently located, though the Minhang branch
may be a little far out for the downtown types.