I’ll have five servings of mystery meat with six spoonfuls of MSG

So I’ve been ordering street food, noodles, fried rice, dumplings etc for the past three weeks I’ve been in China – and I only discovered that the second little spoonful of “flavouring” they add, is in fact MSG. Oops. Well when I get nausea, chest pain, difficulty breathing and numbness, I’ll know what to blame. Still, it doesn’t bother me that much. It tastes seriously good and costs me 6 块 ($1).

I’ve been here for just under a month and I’ll give you a little slight update on what I’ve come across. Yesterday, in my local Hualian supermarket (we also have the Chun store, which has decent fruit – wash it five billion times, or don’t at all, it doesn’t really matter – and then we have Family Mart. Classic 全家. Family Mart has weird smells and 2.2 块包子 (bao zi)), I found a packet of six sealed black fermented eggs for about a dollar. How six eggs have the value of a dollar, and can be soaked in vinegar etc etc and STILL be less than a dollar in value is just crazy. And then there’s the turtle you could buy for 380 块 (roughly 67 dollars). Turtles should not be that cheap, considering a T-shirt usually costs that much in Australia. This was an weird kinda cute turtle too, like up the price a little..

I realised that half my posts involve money and family mart, but honestly, they are two very large aspects of life in China. So is almost dying at every corner – for some reason, the buses here go at six thousand kilometres an hour and will run you with no regrets. Then there’s the fact that the pollution will end up taking seven years off my lifespan. Yesterday I went for a run (in the open air, yes it’s a miracle) and the whole time I ended up thinking, well I burnt off the 包子 (bao zi) but I’m dying two years sooner. So fine by me.

But I’m sure every single Chinese person I ran past was thrilled by the fact that the pollution hasn’t scared off the 老外 (literally, “old foreigner”) yet. It’ll take a lot more than that.

Bella 冯茵

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