Do the Chinese really eat insects?

This is to answer that one question you always had about the Chinese. Do they really eat insects? Let’s find out.

Even though eating insects is a taboo in most societies, it dates back thousands of years. Not only do the Chinese but a lot of south Asian countries like Korea and Thailand including other parts of the world like North, Central, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand enjoy ingesting insects.

I come from a culture where we more or less kill insects to protect ourselves and not because we want to eat them. It’s a cultural difference and perspective that’s hard to step away from.

While researching on the consumption of insects or entomophagy, it came to me as a surprise that the main consumers for these creepy guys  are in Thailand and not China. Grasshoppers, centipedes, various bug larvae, silkworms, multiple creepy giant cockroach lookalikes fall into the list of bugs humans consume.

Other unusual food consumed includes seahorses, scorpions, even animal body parts like snakehead soup, duck feet marinated in blood, solidified duck blood, pork lungs, peacock and pig face. Banquet specialties include cow’s lung soaked in chili sauce, goose stomachs, fish lips with celery, goat’s feet tendons in wheat noodles, shark’s stomach soup, chicken-feet soup, monkey’s head, ox forehead, turtle casserole, pigeon brain, deer ligament and snake venom, lily bulbs and deer’s penis… no, no typo, penis.

What came as a bigger shock was that even though people blame the rapid rate of urbanization and industrialization for China’s pollution problems and water shortages, few recognize that meat industries are to be equally blamed. Livestock produces more greenhouse gasses on the planet than all automobiles and other forms of transportation combined.

China’s meat consumption per capita has nearly quadrupled over the past 30 years to an estimated 71 million tons per year. And if China’s meat consumption doesn’t slow down, the environmental consequences could be disastrous.

So is there anything in the world that the Chinese find disgusting ?

Believe it or not, many regard eating cheese or butter as disgusting; they consider eating a plain cooked steak as primitive and unappetizing and find the French custom of eating snails to be strange.

[Images from Flickr][sources: http://factsanddetails.com]

The Next Best 7 Wonders of Beijing

This post is in response to the article on the 7 Wonders of Beijing.

Blue sky days, Mc Donalds delivery, Taobao and Ayis, are few of the seven wonders that the author mentions in his article on thebeijinger. Well, here is the list of the next best 7 Wonders of Beijing.

1. Pyro Pizza

Like all good things, this amazing pizza place, is located in the Wudaokuo district. Offering the most amazing pepperoni pizza, and the most exciting menu, Pyro also delivers right to your door step. Celebrations or no celebrations, good times call for some Pyro!

2. BLCU/BFSU

These two universities are among the most famous universities for foreigners. Located in the Haidian district, majority of foreigners that come to Beijing to study get enrolled here for their bachelors and even language courses. Having studied in BLCU, I have got to say, the sort of university life I’ve enjoyed for one year- learning mandarin, travelling around China, meeting new people and making new friends in addition to my favorite – numerous conversations with the taxi drivers, the ride has been amazing.

3. National Holidays

The Chinese work hard, play harder. The few days they get off they spend travelling around and even out of the country. Unfortunately, I had to travel these national holidays and had the (unlucky) chance to be one of the millions travelling around the same time. For more on that, click here.

4. CCTV 6

The first day I moved in Chaoyang, I happened to browse through the Chinese channels and TO MY SURPRISE, I bumped into CCTV 6 playing “Kites”, a Bollywood movie featuring Hrithik Roshan. CCTV 6, the movies channel does rescue you sometimes even if it’s with some funny and interesting Chinese movies.

5. Roller-blades

Trolling around the city, I have come across people on roller-blades more than once. Enjoying the wind and the crowd behind you, roller-blades are not a bad idea moving through this busy city.

6. The Alien Market, Russian District

After moving to the Chaoyang district, here in Chaoyangmen, I live 5 minutes away from The Alien Market a.k.a The Russian district. Along with the huge shopping malls, there are a bunch of posh Russian restaurants also located here.

7. Thebeijinger

This is one website that might as well be introduced to you as soon as you land Beijing. Including everything from housing, personals, jobs, etc., under classifieds, it offers very interesting blogs as well as the most happening events around the city along with reviews of all the top restaurants the city has to offer.

My experience teaching and modelling in Beijing, China 2013

To an ‘alien’ familiar with China, it is of no secret that working as a part time teacher and getting acting/modelling assignments are great ways to earn money. In the past decade, the need for English teachers in China has increased by a tremendous amount, and even more so for native English teachers. There are several advertisements, numerous agencies providing work visas, a salary from anywhere between RMB 10k to 20k, along with several other benefits.

My first photoshoot

In 2012, it was just another ordinary day as I was walking out my dorm in BLCU, Wudaokou, when a woman came up to me, took me to meet a group of quiet people she was with a few feet away and told me she wanted me to let her take pictures of my face. She added – If they needed someone with ‘my look’ they would get in touch. I let them take pictures, never actually thinking that a few days later I would be getting a call.  Phone calls and emails later, next thing I know I’m getting my make-up done for a pharmaceutical photo-shoot. I had a set of foreigners with me – this being a new experience for some. But for 12 hours we were in it together and it was tiring but I have to say – pretty amazing. To be honest, now that I’m back in the city, I do feel like going for more photo-shoots. It was about 1300 RMB for 12 hours and a few days later around 500 RMB for 4 hours.

prachi tyagi

I was so unsure of getting into a van in a foreign city with a bunch people I didn’t even know. I remember telling my bestie to call the police if I didn’t pick up her calls or reply to her texts! I reckon we left around 7 in the morning and came back around dinner time, around 8 PM which is when we also got paid and signed consent forms. My make up lady was great, the shoot team were polite and respectful, and very professional, I must say.

Teaching kiddos

Another experience I had was that of teaching English which was completely new to me. The following are a bunch of my personal experiences. I want to be able to share these with others in my shoes, living and earning on this side, here in China.

One bright morning, I went to the Sino education office located about 35-40 minutes away from my brother’s university BFSU. I reached on time and found out that I needed to wait out ten or fifteen minutes for the kid to arrive for her class. This cute girl was nicely carried in by her mom. I didn’t think much of this then but I’m beginning to understand why I’m bringing this into light now. A room full of funny looking chairs and props were kept for kids to play around with. The Kid’s mom was… oddly older for a child around 4 or 5? She had the skin of a 50’s lady –dark spots and no glow, absolutely. But, anyway, enough with how much noticing I took interest in. I was introduced to Angel, her name was the only anything angel about her though. Angel wore a nice bow around the head, would not sit still for even a second. But somehow, even I don’t know how, we got from A to well M as far as alphabets are concerned. Her mom, and another office member and I spent about more than half an hour trying for her to stick to her seat and interact with me. The only thing she was concerned with was A. freedom to jump around, B. that her mommy stay in the room. How this delightful session ended was with Angel crying her throat out behind the comical chair she sat/hide behind, and this is after her mom left the room for the student-teacher interaction to take place. I was not going to move my ass. I know better than to run around a spoilt princess crying for attention. I might not be painting a pretty patient picture of myself here but the truth is if you were there, you’d agree with me. Later, after the duo left, the office assistant Alice told me that because Angel’s mom already had a 18 year old son, she was the more focused on and therefore loved more. No wonder.

Meeting Irene

I met Irene through my sister. My first impression of her is my last impression of her. She is a professional, smart and polite Chinese lady who runs her own chain of English teaching classes around Beijing. She also gave us a good teaching rate per hour unlike other agencies that make it an almost never ending process for you to get to the point where you start earning what you well deserve. I don’t think I can forget how she always somehow manages to bring in “I see’, or ‘we’ll see’ in a conversation.