Life in China 2017: A Picture a Day, May 23 – Pandas aren’t the only ones who eat bamboo; most Asian people also enjoy it! Bamboo shoots are widely used in Asian cuisine. We have just recently started eating these at home. You can buy fresh bamboo shoots in the markets when they are in season, but, if you do, you have to know how to properly prepare them for cooking because they have toxins in their raw state. We buy them precooked and packaged, so all you need to do is rinse them and add to your dishes. We just add them to stir fries. You can buy different sizes and whole or sliced. When we visited the Shanghai area in April, the young shoots were in season, and some of the restaurants had special dishes. The lower right corner of the picture was a delicious soup made with young bamboo.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 13 – When we were shopping yesterday, I was excited to find a box of Christmas postcards, 36 cards for 10 rmb ($1.45usd)! Most are nice looking, I even gave some out today at our Dongguan coffee morning, but, there are a couple with “Your Name” printed in the banner across the front! We have seen this before on notebooks and even mall decorations, sometimes reading “Your text here.” All I can figure is that whoever is making these items are copying their pictures from somewhere that you are supposed to customize the items before printing. Since the English level of those making them isn’t good, they are just made and distributed this way. I guess I won't be using those two cards!
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 6 –Dongguan, the city we now live in, has been considered the “world’s factory” for about 20 years (although things are starting to change, factories looking for cheap labor are moving out and high tech industry is moving in. This area produces a large amount of the world’s factory made merchandise: shoes, clothes, toys, cell phones, and more are specialties. The company my husband works for manufactures many name brand products, including Swiffer mops, Brita water filtration products, Procter and Gamble products, and more, plus their own line of household cleaning brushes, sold at Walmart stores.
Some quotes I found online:
“Dongguan, the city known as the “world’s factory,” is home to more than 10,000 foreign-invested enterprises and one of the largest global manufacturing bases.” (that was in 2013)
“One out of every ten pairs of sneakers around the globe is made in Dongguan, one in every five persons on average has a sweater which is made in Dongguan and 30% of toys in the world are also made in Dongguan. “
When I was in the states, just for fun, one day when I was in Pat Catan’s craft store, I purposely looked for things “Made in Dongguan.” It was easier finding them than I expected, and I’ve done the same in the past, looking for things made in Shenzhen while shopping in a Cracker Barrel store!
Today, we went to a small ladies holiday lunch and cookie exchange, then shopped at a temporary Christmas shop in the restaurant’s basement. I was expecting a little shop, but it was quite large, filled with items supposedly from a factory which supplies products to Hobby Lobby stores. This was a treat to have this type of merchandise to browse because usually you can’t find items made for export for sale in China.
Todays pictures show a small section of the Christmas shop we were at today, some of the items I found in the USA that were made in Dongguan, and the tag from a brush at Walmart, made by Hayco (actually in Shenzhen), where Jim works.
So, I have a challenge for those of you reading this … next time you are shopping and think of it, pay attention to where things were made. I know most just say “Made in China,” but, see if you can find something made in the area where we live: Guangdong province, and the main cities are Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan. You could even make a game of it and send your kids on a hunt around your house too :-) If you find something, come back and comment here! :-)
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 5 – At our larger discount/supermarket stores, like Walmart, we have carts that require a one yuan “deposit” in order to use the cart. When you finish shopping and attach the cart to another cart, you get your one yuan coin back. I guess this is to discourage people from taking the carts, but, I think if someone really wanted to take one, the one yuan, which is currently 14.5 cents in USD, wouldn’t really stop them!
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, October 21 – The delicatessens in Chinese supermarkets are similar in idea, but very different in the kind of food you can buy in an American deli! They have whole roasted chickens (with the heads and feet of course!) and ducks and maybe even a goose, pigeons, or other birds. There is also a variety of chicken pieces, usually cooked in a few ways: spicy, something yellow that I’m guessing is curry or saffron?, and … there is breaded/fried chicken! There is no such thing as lunch meat or cold cuts. But, there are fresh rice noodles of all sizes, and you can get a bowl fixed right there. There is no salad bar either, but a “bar” of spicy food dishes, I’m not sure what it is actually called! There is also a big tofu section, a sushi section, and roasted peanuts! Of course they vary, and the bigger the supermarket, the more they have, these pictures are from the same supermarket where we get the Beggar’s Chicken (July 21st post) and Dim Sum. www.myownchinesebrocade.com
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 9 – I think I’ve said before how much I enjoy the sayings that are often found on packaging or actual products, especially food :-) Sometimes, the English isn’t quite right, it’s Chinglish!), but, I’m always thankful for these entertaining little sayings because they make shopping more fun! This is peanut ginger candy and the package says “May the breeze bring you thetenderness and warmth from me. Yet still you are here. At the bottom of my heat (heart?).” :-)
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, July 8 – This is a clock shop from the wholesale market we went to in Guangzhou last week. LOTS of clocks to choose from…. BUT, you should buy one for yourself NOT to give as a gift! Do you remember from back in May that you shouldn’t give an umbrella as a gift in China? The same with clocks! I’ll just quote this from online “In Chinese, saying ‘giving a clock’ (送钟 sòng zhōng /song jong/) sounds exactly like the Chinese words for 'attending a funeral ritual' (送终 sòng zhōng) and thus it is bad luck to gift clocks or watches.” Clocks also can symbolize that time is running out, so giving a clock as a gift, especially to an older person, can be seen as you wishing death upon them! In a wholesale market like this one, the shops have samples of what they sell on display, and you can buy just one of something, or you can buy large quantities. I had purchased four picture frames from a shop and had to wait 30 minutes while they got them from somewhere nearby.
Chinese honey has gotten a lot of bad publicity, so I’m pretty careful where I buy my honey from. Larger supermarkets usually have an area where you can choose from numerous types of honey from larger jars. Options at this supermarket were: Chinese Date, Loquat, Acacia, Medlar, Wild Chrysanthemum, Wild Osmanthus, Mountain Coptis and Lemon. There are a few more kinds in the smaller bottles and you can also buy different kinds of bee pollen. Honey has long been a part of traditional Chinese medicine and the different varieties are used for different medical benefits. For example, loquat honey is supposed to be good for the throat, so it is recommended specifically for speakers, singers and smokers. Honey in Chinese is “fengmi” and a bee is a “mifeng” ….and after seven years, I still get them confused!
Crowds in China….Today is International Labor Day in China as well as the majority of the world (other than the USA and Canada). The smartest thing to do on holidays in China, especially when you live in a tourist area, is stay home! We decided to be stupid, oh, no, I mean adventurous:-) today and went shopping. What is usually a 2-2 1/2 hour trip took 5 ½ hours! It took 2 hours just to get to the store! I told Jim and Leah that I’m sure there were more people in the store than the number of people that live in our little hometown of Walnut Cove, NC! We met a foreign man at the bus stop near our home, but didn’t see another foreigner the whole time! Around here, I think that quite a few of the people out on a day like this have rarely, if ever, seen a foreigner. Staring is not considered rude in China, and people DO stare! We have a joke that we must look like a family of three headed green monsters by the stares we get! Tomorrow everyone has a day off for the holiday, I think we’ll stay home!
Clothes shopping…the good and bad. Good first: This picture is from an RT Mart in the town next to us, Dalang. (RT Mart is a chain based in Taiwan, like a Super Kmart or Walmart) Stores like this and department stores usually offer pants hemming free of charge. You must pay for your clothes separately in this department, so it’s convenient to just drop them off after purchasing and you can finish your shopping then pick them back up. The store wasn’t busy today, so the lady working was doing something for a man while he waited. The bad: Finding clothes to fit! Although I can finally fit into a US ladies size 12, I am still an XXXL in China! Stores like this usually carry clothes in most styles up to XXL, so walking into stores and finding clothes to buy is rather difficult! Depending on the style, I have managed to buy some things :-)