Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shanghai's Worst Kept Secret: The Avocado Lady

"I've found the best place to buy imported groceries". The statement is said in a hushed voice, as the speaker slowly eyes the crowd around us, leaning in closer to ensure this piece of wisdom is for my ears alone. The hint of a smile is coyly forming on the speaker's lips as they whisper, "She's called the Avocado Lady".

The thing is, the Avocado Lady (also known as the Basil or Arugula Lady) isn't exactly a secret in Shanghai. Pretty much every foreigner has not only heard of her, but has visited her legendary store. And it's totally worth it.


The Avocado Lady (real name Jiang Qin) is a savvy businesswoman who moved to Shanghai after finishing high school. Initially, she sold only eggs and Chinese vegetables. It wasn't until a French chef who lived in the neighborhood asked her to stock certain goods that she ventured into the imported goods market. Shortly after, she began stocking hard to find avocados at a reasonable price and thus, her nickname was born.


Today, the Avocado Lady has achieved a cult like following among Westerners with her ability to stock an impressive selection of imported foods at her modest store, which vastly undercut prices at City Shop and other foreign grocery stores around the city. And if you are unable to find the product you want, she is more than happy to order it for you. While the stock changes rapidly, she regularly stocks fresh mints, herbs, tropical fruits, jams, cheese, olive oil, wine, and of course, avocados.


If you too want to be let in on the secret of the Avocado Lady, head to her shop at 274 Wulumuqi Lu, between Fuxing Lu and Wuyuan Lu (closer to the latter). If you have trouble finding it, just look for the large herd of foreigners milling around the cheese fridge.



  1. I was looking at with my teacher and she was telling me about the Avocado lady. Now I'm making a trip over to her this weekend!

    1. That site makes me laugh! The avocado lady is a must visit for expat in Puxi


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