We’re often asked what things we miss most from home. Five years ago, we may have been ready with a long list of items in response. But now, it’s a toughie. In many ways, Shanghai is home now, and a lot more Western comforts are readily available here in 2008 than there were just a few years ago. So when people ask the “what do you miss” question, we generally draw a blank on specifics and answer with something vague like, “People and places mostly.”
But when we do make it home, our memory is often jogged (usually in huge supermarkets) and we say to ourselves (or whoever might be near us), “I wish we had that in Shanghai.” It’s usually small, relatively unimportant items. And on our most recent trip it was fat free fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. I think the brand we used to get back in the day was Dannon. Yogurt is plentiful in China, but it’s packed with chemicals and sweeteners and colors and lately we’ve been trying to stay away. Some imported yogurts are available at the City Shops and Fei Dans, but if we recall correctly, they are rather expensive.
So, earlier this month we were talking about yogurt at a bar with a friend (prior to that topic, you better believe we were talking about manly things like sports, cars and power tools) and he directed us to a post on the uber-manly website shanghai-mama.com (his wife recently gave birth). And that’s how we first learned about Bebemamie, which has been producing unsweetened, natural yogurt in Shanghai since 2004. Better yet, they deliver to your door every week. Problem solved.
Here are the details: You pay by the month, and you have to agree to buy at least eight 120g jars a week at RMB 10 per jar. There is also an initial RMB 150 deposit for the jars (don’t lose them — it’s RMB 25 per glass jar). Bebemamie will deliver each week, the day after the yogurt is made (if they come too early in the day for your liking, which happened to us, just put the empty jars in a container outside your door — they’ll leave the new ones without waking you up). You can order by phone (6269 1701 / 6269 1702) or by email ([email protected]). The yogurt is as advertised: fresh and tasty. And it’s definitely not something we ever thought we’d be able to get delivered to our door in China (or anywhere else we’ve ever lived, for that matter).
A few other things of note:
- Berries — we like to mix them into our yogurt. Berries aren’t plentiful here. We have purchased frozen ones at City Shop, and they aren’t cheap. The best deal we have found is called Berry Cocktail from a German brand Jutro. A 300g box is 20-something kuai. Frozen berries in bags are 50-60 RMB for about the same amount. Your best bet, really, is fresh strawberries from your neighborhood fruit stand. If any readers have a reliable and affordable berry hook-up in town, please share.
- Three weeks into our first month, we have discovered that we don’t always feel like eating yogurt on a daily basis. So, if you are interested in getting yogurt delivered, it might be a good idea to split your weekly shipment with a friend, unless you really, really like yogurt.
- If the “unsweetened” part of this equation has you down, we have found that a packet of Splenda added to a jar of yogurt can do wonders.
Finally, if you’re not into the delivery thing at all, you can still buy Bebemamie yogurt at various shops around the city. You can learn which ones (and more) in this brief version of Bebemamie’s story, emailed to us by a company spokesman:
The company was founded in 2004 when French couple Hano and Philippe Jallet began producing unsweetened, natural yogurt at their home in Shanghai. The couple had just arrived from Japan and were disappointed with the standard of dairy produce available here. Soon friends from amongst Shanghai’s Japanese community were ordering for home delivery and spreading word to interested family and friends.
Up until around this time last year, this was the bulk of our client base. But over the last twelve months we have developed to deliver to over 4000 households in Shanghai and Suzhou. We have also started to sell through a few outlets: Kommune, Slice Deli, Enoteca, House of Flour, House of Flour ‘C’. Those who do not wish to receive a home delivery can collect at those places.
The most important aspect of our business is regular production/delivery model. Because we know how many units to produce regularly, we can produce daily with minimal waste. Because the product is fresh and delivered weekly, we don’t need to add any chemicals, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc. Also, we don’t add any flavourings or sugars. We only produce plain, natural yogurt. We use imported Australian Milk, natural bacteria from France and nothing else.
Bebemamie Yogurt, fresh, unsweetened yogurt delivery in Shanghai. Order by phone (6269 1701 / 6269 1702) or by email ([email protected]).