10 Things Expat Really Miss In China

You are an expat in China, even if it’s fabulous, amazing and all superlative words, you miss some western things. Here is the TOP 10, let us know what do you miss in China!

1. Western food, at a decent price.

beaf steak china

We love Xiao Long Bao, Bao zi, Chinese noodles, Hot pot… But who (except vegan people) doesn’t miss real meat, good beefsteak at a not so expensive price (same for fish and seafood) ? Who doesn’t miss real bread, cheese, salads without 1 L of weird (but tasty) oil? Who doesn’t miss cereal, milk, butter, or even organic vegetables ? All of which, finally, are not so expensive in Europe, compared to Awfully-high-priced-because-exported-products in China.

2. Western Wine and Alcohol

wine in china

Wine is overpriced here. Really. A simple bottle of French wine which usually costs 3 euros is like 20 euros in China. And in here, despite of the good label on the bottle, it’s most of time a bad wine, maybe counterfeit, but surely awful.

So you become an expert to find all good deals and real wine, avoiding all the counterfeit French wine you can find in China, and end up being proud of yourself while enjoying such a rare wine. The French Cellar is a subscription start up that want to sell good french Wine at reasonable cost and have a good reputation in Shanghai.

3. Western good manners


Each culture and nationalities are different, but when you are from Europe for example, you do not burp, fart and spit everywhere, in subway, restaurant or in street as do Chinese men, women and children. You can understandably be shocked by this behavior, and miss western good manners.

4. Driving

driving in china

Except if you are rich enough to have a car, you will not drive any car during your expatriation. Driving your own car, feeling free, just going where you want at any time, without waiting for the next subway and being crushed against each others, without wondering if the subway station is closed, or without seeing a cab driver who refuses to drive you home because he doesn’t want to…

5. Medical Insurance

health insurance

In China, seeing a doctor even for the smallest thing will give you a headache and will empty your wallet. Consultations are overpriced; you’d better be healthy or in the contrary you’d better be dying if you wish for repatriation in your country. The latter is the best solution to be treated without spending all your money, thanks to your repatriation insurance you subscribed for before leaving your native country.

6. Western fashion/ doing shopping

fashion in china

Doing shopping in China is really different. You don’t find the same fashion items, even for international retail brands, because they need to provide clothes which suit the Chinese morphology. Moreover, bright colors and 50’old-fashion style are trendy in 2016 in China.

7. Western Lifestyles

Expat in China

Even if expatriation is great, sometimes nostalgia hits you and you will only think about your old habits in your native country. Damn nostalgia.

In China, even Chinese people wants to have a western lifestyle explained this expert of Chinese culture based in Shanghai. Lifestyle is becoming a popular keywords among white Collars in China.

8. Books and magazines in your native language

chinese reading a book

Sometimes, you just want to read a frivolous magazine or a book in your native language, without thinking more about it. Just taking a break.

9. Breathing in subway

subway in china

Now, being able to breath in subway is an old dream. It has never existed.

10. Quick Internet connection without VPN


In China, because of censorship, some foreign websites and social media as Facebook, Google, and Twitter are blocked, so it is necessary to subscribe to a VPN in order to access western Internet. But it is never a steady connection, and currently pretty low. In China, we miss a normal and stable Internet Connection.

Read more:

1 Response

  1. Peter says:

    Hi ya Peter, I have been here since 2001 so maybe that doesn’t make me an expat?
    Whatever, none of those top 10 figure in my mind, seems an extremely subjective list and maybe your poll sample was comprised of the 14 to 18 year old age bracket?

    Apart from Chinese clothes, most of the others I can relate to in counties outside of China, but then, I am also tall and slim so have ALWAYS had issues getting clothes to fit, wherever I am. Tried the London Tube recently?
    As for French wine? Hmmm, hardly a reliable yardstick, try pricing it on countries outside France or the EU who also slap on an 80% tariff to protect their own industry.
    But I guess there will also be a reader whose reaction is: “Yeah man, I miss my porn and weekend joint.”

    It’s a funny thing, but the more one travels, the more one realises that there aint anywhere perfect~!
    You are in Beijing?
    Maybe we can hook up for a chat?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *