How will I get my shopping, and will I need to cook in China?

If you don’t know already, you can earn a significant more than the average Chinese citizen when you become an international teacher in China. With the average salary approximately being 4,000RMB, you will be able to earn more than four times the national average and will be able to benefit from a variety of luxury’s typically reserved for the middle and upper class citizen. In this page we will elaborate on cooking in China, ordering food and getting your food and groceries from supermarkets. The biggest question everyone asks when moving to China is “Will I have to cook?” “How will I order food?” and “What ingredients are available to me?”.

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Will I have to cook?

If you are looking for the short answer, the answer is no. The long answer, is there are a variety of restaurants typically at the bottom floor of every apartment block, within popular Metro stations and throughout the urban environment. If you are close to a shopping mall, restaurants and other food vendors will typically be on the higher floors, with confectionery and other baked goods typically below the ground floor. Most of the food that you will be looking to buy when eating out at a restaurant will cost you approximately 40RMB. We have written about this in more detail on our costs of living page for food. The average teacher may come home after a hard day of being on their feet, and before arriving home will go into their local noodle restaurant or something of that ilk to order their favourite dish. Another benefit of not having to cook in China, is not needing the cutlery and cooking equipment, thus allowing you to move with a lighter load. Without the cutlery or cooking equipment, you will also not have to clean, saving you a lot of time to explore your city and relax.

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How will I order food?

Ordering food is a very efficient way of having your dishes delivered to you. You will be able to (if you cannot read Chinese) look at the images and determine the dishes you would like to eat. This can be done through a variety of WeChat Mini Programmes, from which you can schedule your food to arrive at home minutes after you get back from teaching. There is a vast delivery infrastructure in all major cities, from which your food can arrive to you hot and straight from the restaurant. Ordering food is different than possibly ordering food as a takeaway back home, because in China the restaurants will cook the food and box it up. Therefore, you will be able to get restaurant quality food to your home and be able to eat in the comfort of your own environment. Delivery service is exceedingly small. We recommend speaking to your Chinese colleagues or friends who have a delivery system organised, as there will be the prerequisite of having a linked account from your AliPay or WeChat with your desired delivery Mini Programme.

What ingredients are available to me?

When looking to cook homemade food, you will be looking to get all the ingredients ready. From baking cakes, to attempting your favourite Chinese dish that you recently discovered, to making a delicious bowl of cereal, there will be many ingredients involved in preparation. If you’re looking to make a Chinese dish, expect all the ingredients to be available in any supermarket. You may be even luckier and will find all the ingredients in a corner shop at the bottom of your apartment block. However, if you are looking for western ingredients, head to the shopping malls to access a greater variety of ingredients. You may have a local Kerry Centre, that that hosts the shop Ole, or other international supermarkets. International Supermarkets import a wide variety of their food, from which you’ll be able to access cheeses, pastas, cereals, and a small variety of other western food that has been imported. If you are vegan, do not expect anything suitable for you that has been adapted to remove animal products as ingredients. The last resort which we recommend is going to Taobao and searching for your ingredients there. They will have a wider variety, but it may come with an inflated cost compared purchasing the same ingredients back home. Baking can easily be achieved with an electric oven that you can buy, as kitchens typically do not have ovens built into them and apartments. Also, due to finite space, apartments may also not have a built-in hob or stove, from which you can purchase or ask your landlord to supply an electric portable version.

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Your FAQs

We’ve put together a Resources Page to answer your most frequent questions. From Saving Money, to Getting Your Z-VISA, we have gone into detail there.

Your school will apply for your VISA for you to work directly for them. We’ll be with you every step of the journey. We’ve created our own VISA Support Page. Remember, the VISA you’re applying for is a Z-VISA.

You will have a minimum of a one-year contract, that will be full-time. You can save a lot of money teaching in China, and we’ve put together more information for you to read.

When you are directly employed by the school, they will offer you insurance. This means private level care. Be sure to check your contract for sick days.

You will have to go through your bank to legitimately send money home. To do this, follow the steps they give you. Your school will help support you and will be able to translate anything you need.

That is fantastic news! Not speaking Chinese is great for your students, as you will be able to immerse them in English more. We’ve also put together an Essential Mandarin Guide, and Benefits For Learning Mandarin when you’re exploring.