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How long do they stay fresh in the refrigerator?

I've been living in Hong Kong so long that it's becoming more difficult to recall some of the more mundane aspects of living in a developed country, so here goes:

(1.) How long does "salad in a bag" (pre-cut lettuce + cabbage + grated carrot, radish, etc.) normally stay edible in your refrigerator?

(2.) Same for cold cuts (turkey breast, roast beef, etc.).

We live out in the relative boonies, though still on top of a MTR (mass transit rail) station and only get into range of one of the "western-style" supermarkets about once a week, usually on Sunday afternoon or Saturday evening.

Typically, the salad in a bag is starting to go a little brown at the edges by Wednesday, regardless of whether or not I stuff a paper towel into the bag to absorb excess moisture.

The coldcuts begin to go off a bit (slightly slimy to the touch) by Wednesday or Thursday.

This seems a bit early to me, but I wanted to check with you guys.
Permalink possibly probably 
June 6th, 2008 1:51am
Where out in the boonies?  When we visited, we stayed in a friend's flat in Shatin.

I don't trust cold cuts that have been out too long, it seems like an ideal surface for bacteria to breed on.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
June 6th, 2008 2:29am
We're in Tsuen Wan, in a development literally right on top of the MTR station.  My wife's family lives in this district and we have a special accomodation w/re to rent that has kept it from going up by more than $HKD 1000 since 2004.  Otherwise, we'd have decamped to someplace on HK Island a ways back. :)

Shatin would probably qualify as the boonies too - at least from the perspective of the expats I've spoken with who've hinted that anything outside Kowloon is "here be dragons" territory.

At least Shatin has a CitySuper, though. 

For our shopping, though, we usually go to the one in Causeway Bay since our office is nearby, try to pick up the cold cuts, meat, and produce last, and take a taxi home.
Permalink possibly probably 
June 6th, 2008 2:43am
I got a bit off track.

Ward, do you buy cold cuts?  If so, how long do they usually stay "good" in the refrigerator?

I'm thinking that you probably don't get salad in a bag.

We wouldn't either but we're both working what amounts to two jobs (primary employment plus side-business) and chopping up salad greens and grating the other stuff would just take too much time.
Permalink possibly probably 
June 6th, 2008 2:45am
We buy a lot of Hormel "all natural" cold cuts.  We freeze them until we need a pack, then we eat it in about a week (sandwiches for our daughter).

We get salad in a bag sometimes, sometimes heads of lettuce.  In either case, they keep for about a week in the fridge.  To make the bags last longer, we put in a paper towel after they've been opened - soaking up the excess moisture seems to make them last longer.

My wife's family is from HK, and while it was nice to visit - and we've considered moving there for a while so our daughter can pick up Cantonese - but I don't think it'll happen.  I don't think I could stand a summer.  On our trip, we spent about 10 days on a side trip to Beijing and Shanghai, so it was only about 2 1/2 weeks in HK and that was already hot and muggy enough for me.

Now, if I could live in the houses shown on the various HK soap operas my mother-in-law watches (and hang out with the actresses on them), that would be a different story.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
June 6th, 2008 3:13am
Is there no local shops?

I hardly ever go to the supermarket anymore, but I suppose lcoal shops don't do the things you need.

Salad in a bag is the funniest thing ever :-)
Permalink wayrf 
June 6th, 2008 4:37am
Ward, if your wife speaks Cantonese, why can't she just speak it to your daughter now?

The sooner the better while she's very young.
Permalink Wordsmith 
June 6th, 2008 7:03am
Salad in a bag: Once I open it, turns bad in about 4 days.  If I delay opening it, about 6 days.

I have some ham chunks I use in omlets, and they go slimey in about 6 days.
Permalink xampl 
June 6th, 2008 8:59am
Things in the fridge are not really good until they have green fuzzy stuff all over them.
Permalink  
June 6th, 2008 9:39am
Ward and xampl: thanks.  I had been thinking that maybe the bags of "salad in a bag" were going bad several days early, but maybe bought on Saturday, going off on Wednesday/Thursday is not so unusual.
Permalink possibly probably 
June 6th, 2008 1:03pm
wayrf : We've got a supermarket duopoly here in HK - it's either ParknShop (owned by one tentacle of the corporate octopus that also owns a major pharmacy chain, one of the two electric utility companies, the biggest telco, develops the choicest bits of real estate, supplies all of the cement for all construction in the region, etc.) or Wellcome (also part of a big co).

Walking into a PnS here, you're going to see bruised/rotten fruit, tough meat, freezer bins that seem to get defrosted every night, and very little choice in the rest of the store.

Wellcome is usually a bit better, but not much.

There are also wet markets, if you enjoy being misted with aerosolized animal guts and sloshed with various and sundry unknown liquids and bits of animal flesh while locals yammer constantly at each other as though they were shouting into pairs of string-bound paper cups while standing on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon.
Permalink possibly probably 
June 6th, 2008 1:08pm
Actually, the locals shout at each other in PnS and Wellcome too, though maybe not as loudly.  There's a slight price differential between a wet market and your typical crappy HK supermarket that tends to result in the most shouty folks staying doing their shopping in the wet markets.

"Western-style" supermarkets are nicer inside but some of them (esp. the CitySupers) are located in high-traffic parts of major shopping malls and they end up bursting at the seams with people milling around and looking into foreigners' shopping baskets to see what they eat and eventually, hours later, walking out with a pack of  weird-flavored Japanese snacks.  That makes actually getting your own legitimate shopping done a bit of a hassle most of the time.
Permalink possibly probably 
June 6th, 2008 1:14pm
Check the expiry date on the salad-in-the-bag - always take from the back of the shelf - the ones in the front have a nasty tendency to be already close to their expiry date. Fresh ones should last at least a week in the fridge.
Permalink Cheers 
June 6th, 2008 1:29pm
ParknShop, that was the name I couldn't remember... We didn't cook a lot because there were lots of relatives and family friends we had to meet and we usually ate breakfast at Cafe de Coral, but we bought some stuff at ParknShop.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
June 6th, 2008 4:23pm

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