What’s Cookin: My Interview with Shanghai Grocer Kate & Kimi

Online grocers are a staple for many expats in Shanghai, the three big ones being Fields, Epermarket, and Kate & Kimi.

Many of these companies run fun competitions and host events to bring the city’s food-lovers together, and this time Kate & Kimi has created a website feature called “What’s Cookin'” to highlight some of Shanghai’s food bloggers.

They chose me for one of their first blogger highlights, and I feel so honored. Below is the interview and link to their site. Even if you don’t live in Shanghai, it’s worth checking out. Enjoy!

Jennifer of Adventurous Appetite

“For me, traveling and food go together like peanut butter and honey. It makes sense. In one bite, we can discover a culture.”

The blog Adventurous Appetite is run by Jennifer Stevens, who uses it to document and share her food discoveries and adventures across the world.

Q: First, please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? When did your interest in food, travel, and blogging begin? And when did you start your blog?  

A: I’m originally from a small town near Tampa, Florida. Even as a child, I knew the town was small, and I yearned for adventure. My mother would often lose me in the travel and cooking sections of the library. I started my blog when I moved to Seoul to teach English in 2009. I had always been a writer; and to me, the idea of working with five and six year olds was hilarious. I had to share my experience. 

Q: How do you get people following your blog? 

A: Only recently have I become aware of web traffic and how to gain followers. Unlike the teenagers I currently teach, I didn’t grow up with social media (or a cell phone for that matter). But lucky for me, my students like me enough to teach me about Instagram and hashtags. #Score #WhosTeachingWho?

Q: How long have you been traveling? We can see you’ve traveled extensively not only throughout Asia, but also in South America – what’s been the main difference about living in Shanghai? Is there a food you enjoy most here? 

A: As I said earlier, I moved to Korea in 2009. I stayed there for a year and a half, then spent a few months backpacking through Southeast Asia. While there, I met some international schoolteachers and picked their brains…I had no idea you could do that for a living! Soon after that conversation, I headed back to Florida for a year to gain certification and experience. Then I was off to Bogota, Colombia for two years, and now I’m in Shanghai.

As far as the main differences, I’d have to say the language and the people. In Colombia, I was quickly forced to learn Spanish for survival. It was everywhere–spelled phonetically on signs, spoken by everyone, in the music played throughout the city. The people were warm and welcoming. They wanted you to speak their language. Shanghai is much more international, and English is widely spoken; but it is also, in my opinion, a bit more closed. To understand a culture and its people, you need to learn the language. I’m working on it, but dear God it’s difficult.

As for food, I can’t get enough Sichuan. I know it’s not from this region, but they still do it well. And finding spicy food in Bogota was next to impossible.

Q: Where are your absolute favorite places to eat in Shanghai?

A: I am still in the exploration phase, where I can justify eating anything and everything. Get back to me in a few months.

Q: What foods do you miss from home, and how did you discover Kate & Kimi? 

A: Shanghai is pretty international, so I’m not missing much just yet. However, images of pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas are slowly making their way to my Facebook newsfeed, and I’m not happy about it.

As for Kate & Kimi, I learned about the site just days after my arrival. I was curious about the quality of produce at the wet markets, and began asking coworkers about where to buy organic products. They all suggested Kate & Kimi.

Q: Do you have any upcoming travel plans? 

A: Of course! I always have at least one trip planned at all times to keep life exciting. In December, I’ll head to Australia for three weeks. I plan on visiting Cairns to dive the Great Barrier Reef, then I’m off to Sydney to spend New Year’s on the Harbour. I’ll round out my vacation in Melbourne to experience the food and wine scene. I can’t wait.

Q: Lastly, do you have any advice for people who are wary about food safety while traveling?

A: While food safety is definitely something people should consider while traveling, I also think people miss out on great food experiences by stressing over it. Some of my best meals and travel moments have been at a plastic table on a street corner. The key is to eat during peak hours, and to choose vendors and restaurants that are busy.

To see the original interview, visit: whatscookinshanghai.com/jennifer-of-adventurous-appetite/.

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