Three Weird Shanghai Things, Part 4

Note: This post is part of an on-going series of posts on weird things in Shanghai. Find the others by clicking right here.

Sichuan Pepper
A mouth-numbing trip to flavor country.

Sichuan pepper might be the same size and shape of black peppercorns, but their tastes are nothing alike. These dried berry husks have a subtle lemony aroma and an intense, literally mouth-numbing kick. When I first tried them, I thought that there was a chemical contaminate in my food. My pie hole was numb and the spiciness was fused to my tongue. Neither rice nor Cola could neutralize it. The taste invaded all following bites.

Until 2005, Sichuan pepper was banned from the United States. I assumed it was due to it being toxic, but it was actually fear over a citrus destroying bacteria potentially carried in the husks.

Overloaded Conveyances
Stack ’em deep, stack ’em tall.

When something is delivered locally in China, it was likely part of a large stack of stuff on a vehicle too small to transport it. I’ve never seen such overloaded conveyances. Rickshaws have a whole room’s worth of furniture on the back. A styrofoam collector loads his small cart with a stack of material nearly as big as the back of a delivery truck. On a motorbike? Well, you have room to carry 50 shoeboxes, 8 five gallon bottles of water, 4 people, or 6 small gas canisters. Unfortunately, if your riding a pedal bike all you’ll have room for is a refrigerator and washing machine.

Dogs Treated Kindly
Little dogs, big love.

When the Chinese aren’t eating dogs, they treat them like members of the family. Small dogs (like the Pekinese, Xianinese, Hongkonginese, and especially the Shanghainese) are popular in Shanghai. Both young and old locals wander the sidewalks with their loyal pets. They pamper them. Some dogs wear little booties. Others ride in baskets. Some just get carried everywhere. And at the park over the weekend, I actually saw a poodle being walked around on its hind legs like a toddler.

April 9th, 2009. Categories / China, Shanghai

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