Skip the struggle home from the wet market and get food straight to your door.
Time Out orders the same basket of goods (pictured, left) from six Shanghai online grocery stores to see which really deliver
Launched in 2012 to help Shanghai’s foreign residents find food they miss from home, Epermarket
offers a stock range similar to the likes of import shops such as Feidan but with a focus on convenience. Their website is available in four languages (Chinese, English, French and German), they are one of the only stores to deliver goods in temperature-controlled vans and all products are traceable throughout.
Delivery charges 30RMB standard delivery; 50RMB same day; free for orders over 300RMB
Delivery times Midday-4pm, 5-9pm, 8-10.30pm, midday-10.30pm daily
Delivery area All of Shanghai except Chongming, Hengsha and Changxing Islands
Cash on delivery? Yes
Cost of basket 433RMB
Hands down the quickest of all our online shopping experiences, Epermarket
features a slick site navigation that enables us to blitz through our shopping list in only 15 minutes. Our favourite feature is the fast buy, which searches the site for all the items on our copy-and-pasted shopping list in one go, saving us more than 20 minutes of page scrolling.
Delivery experience We opt for the late night 8-10.30pm delivery slot, the latest offered by all the stores we tried, but our delivery man actually arrives at 7.30pm without calling ahead. Helpfully though, he’s the only one to offer to bring heavy items through to the kitchen.
Goods are perfectly chilled on arrival, all packed in one sturdy recycled cardboard box, with non-food, meat and dairy items all separated in individual carrier bags and fruit and veg in card trays.
One of Shanghai’s longest-running online food delivery companies, Fields
launched in 2009 following founder Steve Liang’s concerns about food safety. They offer quality, organic foods sourced from certified local farms where possible.
Delivery charges 50RMB for orders less than 100RMB; 20RMB for orders 100-200RMB; free for orders over 200RMB
Delivery times Same day delivery for orders placed before 5pm or next day with two-hour slots from 6am-9pm
Delivery area All of Shanghai excluding Chongming Island
Cash on delivery? Yes
Cost of basket 507RMB
Ordering experience Fields
has one of the biggest product ranges we tested, making this the place to come for those near-impossible to find goods, such as gluten-free quinoa milk, fresh squid ink linguine and white truffle honey. As a result, it also has the highest basket price.
Product pages are clearly labeled with source of origin, ingredients and recipe ideas and our running subtotal is visible at all times.
Our biggest problem is resisting the urge to drop our entire shopping allowance on the extensive ready-to-serve section, which features everything from family-sized lasagnes (120RMB) to entire five-people roast chicken dinners (600RMB) available.
Delivery experience Halfway through our specified 7-9pm slot we receive a call letting us know the driver is running 15 minutes late. On arrival we’re encouraged to double check all our goods, ticking off each item on the driver’s delivery receipt. Because it’s our first order, we also receive a free gift of thinly sliced Wagyu beef, a nice touch.
Set up by two Jinqiao residents, community-based delivery site Kate & Kimi
started life after the founders struggled to get deliveries of organic vegetables to their Pudong homes. Now partnered with local growers Gusto Fine Foods, who supply to Shanghai restaurants including Jean Georges and M on the Bund, they stock organic veg, kitchen essentials and a slew of locally-produced foods such as Tock’s deli meats.
Delivery charges Free for orders over 150RMB
Delivery times Next day or same day delivery Monday-Saturday, with three-four hour wait slots from 9am-8pm in Puxi and 8am-7pm in Pudong.
Delivery area All of Shanghai
Cash on delivery? Yes, but delivery drivers have no local card machines
Cost of basket 472RMB
Ordering experience Quick, efficient and surprisingly enjoyable. We tick off everything on the list easily while reading the informative vendor profiles or notes from the founders topping every page. The mixture of farm fresh veg, quality kitchen staples and locally produced goods makes the experience as close as you can get to a farmer’s market without leaving the sofa.
Delivery experience We book the 6-8pm slot, but request a post-work-friendly 7.30pm in the comments section, which is confirmed the following day by email.
Although slightly skeptical when we see our smiling delivery guy trundle up on a scooter, all food is neatly packed in a sealed cardboard box with no damage. Fresh produce comes in individual sandwich bags, yoghurts are stored with an ice pack and our frozen meal is still appropriately icy.
With 131 physical stores in China, Tesco
, one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, finally launched its shop shelf to front door process here in June 2013 with a Shanghai-only trial.
There’s a slick bilingual website design, honed from over a decade of use in the UK, which features the full range of supermarket products including their own-brand range and, unlike rival French hypermarket Carrefour, fresh groceries.
Delivery charges From 8RMB/delivery
Delivery hours and time slots 10am-10pm daily with two-hour delivery windows
Delivery area Within Shanghai’s Inner Ring Road only
Cash on delivery? No. Online payment or with Chinese bank card on delivery
Cost of basket 339RMB
Ordering experience While Tesco UK has a one click multi-item shopping list search feature, it’s lacking here. Nevertheless, navigating item by item is a quick and painless experience, and we’re able to save sets of shopping lists for future use.
We’re also able to order our fresh produce either individually or by weight, the only store where this is possible, as well as get hold of everything we’d usually find in store, including bargains on own-brand products.
Delivery experience We request a slightly earlier arrival delivery in the comments, but this is flatly ignored. Ten minutes before the end of our morning delivery slot we receive a call from the driver asking for directions and he subsequently arrives half an hour late.
He’s the cheeriest of the bunch when he does arrive though, asking us to check through our order list while opening each carrier bag (packed in a bit of a muddle), and is sure to point out that the cereal bars we ordered are currently out of stock. We are offered a different flavour as an alternative, which we can choose to either accept or send back for a refund.
Backed by Walmart and founded by two former Dell China vice presidents, Yihaodian
is one of China’s biggest online retailers, delivering everything from food and household products to laptops, cameras and clothing with bargain prices and fast delivery times.
Delivery charges 4-12RMB/order depending on time selected
Delivery times 8am-8pm daily. Time slots are customisable; we were able to choose between 9-10am for 8RMB or 9am-midday for 4RMB.
Delivery area The whole of Shanghai
Cash on delivery? Yes
Cost of basket 385RMB
Ordering experience Although there is no English version of the site, design is generally straightforward and slick. However, as with most Chinese websites, every click opens a new window, meaning by the end of our list, our screen is flooded.
The product range has lots of affordable basic staples and imported goods seemingly selected for their big household names rather than quality and seasonal delicacies. There’s also a surprisingly impressive selection of fresh produce.
Delivery experience Inconveniently, upon checkout we discover our frozen item has to come from a different distribution centre which won’t deliver for a further two days. However, we are able to track our package’s route from warehouse to door with a dedicated logistics code. Our driver calls an hour before our slot to confirm details, before arriving on time with a scooter laden down with other deliveries. All glass and fragile items are triple packed in bubble wrap and boxes, although our fresh produce looks like it’s taken a little bit of a bruising.
One of the newest Chinese delivery sites in town, Yummy 77
announced their arrival to Shanghai at the beginning of this year with a campaign of cheesy billboards bearing iconic oil paintings getting fresh food delivered to their hands – think the Mona Lisa grinning inanely at a platter of live fish in her lap or a garishly sketched Adam reaching out not to the finger of God but a delivery box.
Both their website layout and product range are suspiciously similar to Yihaodian, but there is a dedicated food focus here, which means you can’t stray into air purifiers or mobile phones by mistake.
Delivery charges 15RMB for orders under 60RMB; 10RMB for orders 61-99RMB; free for orders over 99RMB
Delivery times 9am-9pm in four hour slots
Delivery area All of Shanghai, except Chongming Island
Cash on delivery? Yes
Cost of basket 329RMB
Ordering experience Frustrating. There’s an annoying two-step email and SMS registration system, no English version, a densely packed sub-menu layout and a slight lag between clicking order and items appearing in our basket which means our order takes nearly a full hour.
Adding to the frustration further are the unappealing and unhelpful product pages. We’re often shown backs of packets or close ups of slabs of meat but are taken aback by the poultry section’s un-yummy looking live hens, snapped still strutting around the farm (mercifully, the bird won’t be alive when it reaches you).
Delivery experience We’re unable to order next day delivery after 4pm so plump for a two-day wait. A confirmation text message gives us a code but there is no further contact until the driver knocks on our door five minutes before the end of our slot and thrusts three boxes into our hands. We don’t have time to check our order and aren’t asked to sign a delivery slip. Our products are all chilled, with the fruit and veg still fresh and undamaged, but everything is packed in multiple boxes seemingly without logic.