I take it you’ve all read my latest food blog post regarding the amazing deals from M1NT Cellars? Okay then. Let’s get on with today’s I Love China post.
I read that Zoe Churchman, a 19 year old English girl was refused a job at personal care retailer Body Shop, because she didn’t speak Chinese. Apparently, most of their customers are Chinese, hence the requirement.
I feel bad for young Zoe, but would recommend she apply for a job at Cambridge’s finest Chinese restaurant, Charlie Chan (14 Regent Street). You certainly don’t need to speak Chinese to work there, just say you’re a friend of WoAi!
So, has the world gone crazy or is this a fair requirement? I don’t think it’s so crazy. There are many restaurants that cater to westerners in Shanghai that insist on staff who can speak at least some English and that’s the way it should be. Of course, there are about 1,000 Daily Mail readers who don’t agree with me!
Spotted this sign at a local restaurant the other day. The best one is “no pyramid selling and superstition”. Look at the icon they’ve used to represent pyramid selling – it reminds me of telepathic mind influence and voodoo!
And yes, I broke one of the rules – no photography.
I’m killing two birds with one stone today with one post on both blogs, because I think it’ll be of interest to everyone.
I think I’ve mentioned the Enjoy card before but haven’t devoted a full post to it, which it definitely deserves. Basically, you pay 399 RMB for one year (with discounts for multiple year commitments) and you get a book of vouchers that get you special one off deals at many bars and restaurants around town, as well as other shopping and lifestyle establishments. The offers vary by establishment, so some are pretty useless, like perhaps one free cocktail when 4 people dine or something silly like that. But there are more than enough genuinely great offers to make this a complete no-brainer. A few examples include buy one, get one free brunch at T8 in Xintiandi which is a saving of over 300 RMB right there. 50% off (food only) at Kebabs On The Grille which is one of my favourite Indian restaurants is another great offer.
The vouchers can only be used once but every establishment also offers an ongoing deal which can be enjoyed on every visit. This is commonly a percentage off, or a free drink or something that might not be an amazing deal but still goes towards making the card worth holding.
You do need to be careful as there are some establishments that participate just to drum up extra business that they desperately need and I do not recommend going to places just for the offers. But there are more than enough good places participating that are worth visiting. Even M1NT which I have also reviewed participates (free dessert platter when 4 people dine, free glass of Champagne on every visit).
Here’s a list of a few other places that I recommend and that are in the Enjoy book, many of which will be reviewed here shortly, in case you’re not sure:
Pin Chuan Sichuan Restaurant (50% off food)
Lost Heaven Yunnan Restaurant (68 RMB off)
Di Shui Dong (20% off food)Kakadu (30% off food)
Fat Olive (30% off total bill)
Downstairs @ Urbn Hotel (50% off)
Simply Thai (50% off food)
So there you have it. If you don’t have one already (or even if you do!), sign up and get yours delivered today!
So the word of the day is tetraphobia, which believe it or not, is a fear of the number 4. In China, the word for 4 sounds a lot like the word for “die” and as a result, Chinese people tend to avoid this number wherever possible. Many high rise buildings do not have a 4th floor and in Hongkong there is even a building that skips floors 40 through to 49. So after 39th floor, the next floor is 50!
Why am I bringing this up now? Well, I read yesterday that the suburb of Richmond Hill in Toronto has decided that from now on, they will avoid the number 4 when allocating street numbers. The council has received a barrage of complaints from I am guessing Chinese residents, who are finding it difficult to sell properties that are associated with the number 4.
This is of course a ludicrous situation and it is surprising that the council has decided to accommodate the Chinese by agreeing to scrap the number 4. Surely, Chinese house hunters can merely avoid buying such properties in the first place and there ought to be plenty of non-Asian people who are more than happy to take those properties.
But there you go. The article treads very carefully and is a tad too politically correct. You have to sympathize with some of the commenters at the bottom of the article who are understandably upset that the council is bowing to the requests of the immigrant population.
How time flies … Many people, especially in HK, make a big thing about this every year. And of course, it was a big thing. But it was also 24 years ago, almost a quarter of a century. We criticise the Chinese for kicking up a fuss about Japanese atrocities all those years ago, so perhaps we should not be hypercritical. China has a long way to go, but it has come a long way since 1989. And it’s a different group of leaders.
Just to let you know, if you like English comfort food, over on Shanghai Uncovered there’s a brand new review of Glo London’s ground floor bakery cafe.
Although I do love living in China, the behaviour of some of the people here does make many expats question their decision to live and work here. Common complaints include queue jumping, pushing and shoving, spitting, pooping in public and speaking loudly.
But encouragingly, I have noticed recently that a lot of Chinese people are criticising their own compatriots for bad behaviour, so perhaps things will slowly improve. Last week, two separate taxi drivers were cursing the poor standard of Chinese people. We were driving along and suddenly encountered a complete moron standing in the middle of the road taking a photo of a theatre, oblivious to oncoming traffic. The driver shook his head and said “this is the level of Chinese people – they do whatever they want and don’t think about others”.
On a second taxi journey, they driver looked over at me and asked if I was from HK or Taiwan? I asked why he thought I was from one of those places and he explained that locals are much ruder and would never say please or thank you. I need to make it clear that these are not my words but the words of the Shanghainese taxi drivers!
Then we have the horrific story of Ding Jinhao, the Chinese tourist in Luxor, Egypt who defaced a 5,000 year old relic by carving his name in to it.
Ding Jinhao was here
The news sparked outrage among Chinese netizens which can only be a good thing. Surely any potential vandals are going to think twice now. Or at least, they will carve out a fake name, duh!
What do Knots Landing, CSI Miami, A Different World, Baywatch Nights, Laverne and Shirley and Frasier have in common? Yes, they’re all spin-offs. Bonus points if you can name the “parent” show of each of the 6 shows mentioned. No cheating by using Google. I will know!
And now we have Shanghai Uncovered, a new blog, focusing specifically on food and drink in the greatest city in the world. I’ll be posting regular reviews of eateries across the city with mentions of any good deals, special promotions or other essential news.
And just like any good spin-off, there will be overlaps, so don’t be too surprised to see some previously posted reviews from here showing up over there. But of course, there will be lots of new material as well.
I hope you all enjoy the new blog (especially if you live in Shanghai). Please do let me know if you have any comments or suggestions or even places you want me to review and I’ll add it to the list.
If you like the blog, you can subscribe and you’ll receive every new post directly by email.
And something for the weekend, sir?
Yet another example of how enterprising the Chinese can be.
Dingle may still be fishing on Lake Minnetonka but his people are still roaming the streets of Shanghai looking for amusing photographs to share and he kindly agreed to allow me to put this up since he’s currently indisposed. Nice work Dingle.
I’ve written about this before but nothing has changed. Taxi drivers are genetically programmed to do everything they can to avoid wearing a seat belt which would save their lives in the event of a collision. The lengths they go to are incredible and this is a prime example with the belt simply looped over than hand brake lever so it looks like he’s wearing it and is safe from harm, when in fact, he’s not. Genius.
I did actually come across this in Beijing many years ago too and took this photo. I was sure I blogged about but cannot find any trace of the post.