And he made some rather elaborate meals too.
Let’s be honest: sometimes the best possible tapas restaurant is taking a long, slow walk around the closest Costco. Would I like to have a sample of pizza rolls? Absolutely. Do I want to try the new acai bowls? There’s nothing I want more. And is it OK if I grab a second cup of trail mix?
The idea of snacking your way through a warehouse store is apparently a universal thing, and an influencer in China took the concept to the next level by taking his own box of cooked rice to Sam’s Club so he could make a serious meal out of whatever samples he was offered. According to the South China Morning Post, the influencer — whose name has not been shared – was able to put together a full flight of samples, including pieces of chocolate, pistachio nuts, egg puffs, lamb rolls, and pork ribs.
This instant legend (come on, you wish you’d thought of this) asked some of the Sample Servers to put their complimentary portions in his Bring-Your-Own-Rice container — and in some cases, he even got seconds. To his credit, he was always polite and complimentary, telling the person working the pork rib station that it was “the most delicious rice with meat and vegetables I’ve had.”
The news outlet said that the man’s behavior attracted both acceptance and criticism on China’s social media networks. “The purpose of offering free samples is to give customers the opportunity to try the food, so he did nothing wrong,” one user said, while others called him “greedy” or said that taking his own side dish to Sam’s Club was “going too far.”
Warehouse clubs have steadily increased in China in the past few years. Sam’s Club opened its first store in China in 1996, but it has expanded its presence significantly in the years since the coronavirus pandemic began. In 2020, Sam’s Club had 26 stores, but has opened 21 more since, with its 47th location opening in Shanghai in December. (Costco, one of its biggest competitors in the United States, isn’t as widespread. The Global Times reports that it opened its sixth store earlier this month in Shenzhen and plans to open its seventh location in Nanjing later this year.)
According to Reuters, counting Sam’s Club and Costco, there are 11 membership warehouse chains in China, including one opened by the Yonghui supermarket chain and Freshippo, which is owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba. As of last July, these stores only accounted for 0.3% of grocery sales in China, compared with 11% of sales in the United States.
Their popularity can only increase from there – especially if you can bring your own side dish to the sample bars.
For more Food & Wine news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Food & Wine.