small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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What in the Middle Kingdom?

What in the Middle Kingdom? Tamarind, the Cat Poo Fruit

I knew tamarind existed before we moved to China. On trips to Mexico and Thailand, I had met this fruit, but only in the form of drinks, candies, and pad thai sauce. It was nice to discover that tamarind is… Continue Reading →

My most favorite fruit in the whole wide world – jackfruit

In Thailand, durian is the King of Fruit, but in my world, jackfruit reigns supreme.  I had never even heard of jackfruit before moving overseas. Even after moving to Asia, it took me a while to try it. I think… Continue Reading →

My second favorite fruit in the whole wide world – mangosteen

This made my day. We stopped by our neighborhood fruit shop, and lo and behold, there was a nice big pile of mangosteens for sale! It’s the first time I’ve seen them this season, and they won’t be around for… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? 枇杷 Pipa (loquats)

Pipa are delicious fruit that remind me of apricots –same size, same texture, very similar flavor. You may have heard of these as loquats, which I only recently learned is what they’re most commonly called in English. They grow in bunches… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Lucky red squares

This Chinese New Year, I noticed something I’d never noticed before in China. All of a sudden, cars and other vehicles were sporting little red squares of paper. They were adorning the hoods, front ends, or back bumpers of most… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Scooter mitts and blankets

Scooter mitts are a fantastic invention. In the winter, these oven mitt cousins grace the handlebars of pretty much every scooter in sight here in China. Except that rogue in the front.

What in the Middle Kingdom? Dr. Seuss fruit #2 – fire dragon fruit

Today I’m continuing the fanciful trip through the market with another fruit that looks like it’s straight outta the Jungle of Nool. It’s 火龙果 huo3long2guo3, literally ‘fire dragon fruit,’ but usually just called “dragon fruit” in English. (Personally, I think… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Dr. Seuss fruit #1 – rambutan

If Dr. Seuss had been a horticulturist instead of an author, I’m pretty sure he’d come up with a few of the fruits and vegetables that we have here in the Middle Kingdom. Let’s take a look at these strange… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Meat pellets

  Do not be fooled. Despite the shiny foil wrappers and cutesy hearts on the package, these are not candy. They’re 肉粒, “meat pellets.” Wow, that really doesn’t sound appetizing. Let me try for a better translation: How about “meat granules”?… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Sleeve protectors

Alright, roll up your sleeves… No, wait, hang on a second. You don’t have to! Not with these beauties! These are Chinese sleeve protectors. I know, I know, you were thinking, these are undoubtedly the Chinese version of those plastic… Continue Reading →

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