2. Cheese – Westerner’s taste of life. You put it in sandwiches, add to pizza, pasta or simply eat as a snack or appetizer. You love it and you know it. Unfortunately in that case you’ll have to be prepared for a low blow. Most Chinese people don’t like cheese – meaning - you won’t find it in a supermarket. Since it’s something you’re not allowed to bring across the border, you’ll have to kiss your beloved cheese goodbye before leaving for China.
3. Chocolate – it’s not something you’d eat everyday. Once in a while however, you feel a strong craving for this kind of pleasure. Not to mention it’s very convenient to take it with you as source of energy when you’re hiking. Unfortunately that won’t work in China. Chocolate isn’t well-known here and it’s not popular. The only things you’ll be able to get in shop are bonbons and chocolate bars (Snickers in particular).
4. Peppermint, chamomile – it's very common in Europe to brew those infusions when you have some digestive problems. Once this misfortune befalls you (Chinese cuisine can be challenging at times), you’re looking for well-known remedy in a supermarket or pharmacy. You have forgotten that those herbs are not native to China. If you think carefully you’ll realize you’ve never seen them in the mountains either.
5. Probiotics – it’s also good to mention them when we’re already talking about digestive problems. Nowadays in Western countries probiotics became a common way of treating intestine inflammation or traveler’s diarrhea. It is understandable that if a sudden change of your diet has, let's say an 'impact’ on your digestive process, you want to reach for this remedy. You go to the pharmacy, ask for probiotics. The pharmacist stares at you long and intensively. Finally something like a spark of understanding appears on her face. She vanishes between the shelves and in a minute she’s back with… baby-food (imported from Belgium). What can you say… it does contain probiotics, but it wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for. Apparently it’s not common in China to use those. The only ones for adults are the pills containing Bacillus Licheniformis (for those unfamiliar with the topic, let's just say it’s quite a shady strain of bacteria which probiotic effects as well as safety of use are questionable).
6. Dental floss – don’t look for it in a supermarket. You can however find Oral B dental floss in some cosmetic shops.
7. Bronzer – it’s not something many people use. If you however belong to those attached to the suntan you should bring your own bronzer from home. In Asia canon of beauty is completely different compared to Western countries. Here the 'whiter' you are, the more beautiful you’re considered to be. Most Chinese cosmetics contain whitening complex (for more check post “Walking on sunshine under my umbrella”).
8. Bra – in the shop (doesn’t matter if it’s a supermarket or lingerie shop) you’ll only find sizes from A to C. Anything bigger than a C-cup is unheard of.
At this point the best would be to refrain from any other comment on the topic.
Those are the most common things that you won’t find in Chinese shops. If you’re planning to come to China you should bring those things from home. The only other way is to buy them on Taobao (Chinese version of eBay). There you can find practically everything.