In Jiangjing, as in many other towns in Fujian, new houses are always built on ancestral land. It is an expression of pride, not only for family members individually, but also for the name and tradition of the family itself. Even for migrants who settle permanently overseas, it is still important that the houses they build in their native towns, with years and years of earnings sent home, be on land the family has always owned. That explained the empty mansions I’d wondered about when entering Jiangjing. […] These untenanted houses, I realised, were seen as emblems of how hard-working migrants were enriching their families and their homeland.

Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants by Hsiao-Hung Pai. 2012. 

Taiwanese-British journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai’s (白曉紅) second book Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants tells the stories of the Chinese working class across the country, from boom towns in the southern province of Guangdong to illegal mines in the Yellow River basin, as well as those who smuggle themselves abroad to the UK. Through her personal interactions with ordinary workers and the exploration of her maternal family’s roots in Shandong, Pai sketches a picture of a demographic being transformed by China’s recent economic growth.

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Oolong tea (1) - IRON GODDESS OF MERCY (Ti Kuan Yin)

Also named ‘Tie Guan Yin’ the translation means Iron Goddess of Mercy. The story behind the name is of the goddess, Kuan Yin (Guanyin), showed a farmer in his dreams where a tea plant was to thank him for his restoration of a temple and of his worship. This tea plant is now one of China’s most famous teas.

To be enjoyed anytime of the day due to its well known thirst quenching properties and low tannin content, oolong tea is also known for its digestive properties - so enjoy with a meal! It also doubles as a good palate cleanser. The tea is only of 10% oxidisation so this means it is very green in taste, giving it a refreshing, sweet taste. Enjoy with spicy foods, salted dishes and white meats.

taste: low astringency, nutty, caramel, sweet, peach.
brew: 85-90 degrees C, 3 minutes the first brew followed by upto 6 infusions of 30-40 seconds (same temp.).


Fujian White Crane applications.

The lore behind Fujian White Crane is a little sexist but it kind of makes sense. As the style was created by a woman, it focuses less on attacking and focuses more on evading and neutralizing oncoming attacks with emphasis on evading. There are very few heavy blows in the style and, instead, it relies on pushing opponents back and using takedowns when able.
What strikes there are are usually finger strikes to the the vital areas of the body: eyes, throat, genitals. There’s very little actual punching.
Another style, Five Ancestors Fist, uses the hand techniques of Fujian White Crane, as do some forms of Karate.
The style found its place in self-defense classes in Chin a because it relies so little on physical strength. Basically, you put your opponent down or at a distance and then run the fuck away. It’s not built strictly to “destroy” an attacker.

Qian Li Xiang Wonton King, Shanghai

Wulumuqi Road is quickly becoming my favorite snacking street in Shanghai! It’s lined with tons of little local mom & pop shops, and a variety of small Chinese chain restaurants, like this place, Qian Li Xiang Wonton King…

QLX is a quaint establishment with five tables and about 20 seats run by a single woman who makes all the wontons/dumplings by hand in her kitchen here…

The specialty here is dumplings from Fujian province, and you can get a bowl of her golf ball-sized beauties for between 11 to 20 rmb ($1.50 - $3.00 US) depending on quantity and filling…

The dumplings come in three “flavors”, mushroom & pork; a Chinese vegetable called “Shepard’s Purse” & pork; and shrimp & pork. We went with 12 Shepard’s Purse & pork and they were amazing…

The vegetable is clearly the star of the show here, with the pork relegated to a supporting role to simply add a little flavor and texture. There was also a cameo by some chopped mushrooms that were mixed in…

A popular dumpling filling here in China, the Shepard’s Purse is crunchy even after boiling, and quite pungent, in a good way! The dark green “juice” this leafy veg produces ran into the soup, quickly changing its color…

“Qian Li Xiang” translates as “One Thousand Li Fragrance”, meaning that the smell of these wontons will make you walk one thousand li (Chinese miles) just to eat them. 

Good thing I only have to walk 5 blocks!

Thanks to the lovely ladies on Disney China’s Corp Comms team for helping me with translation and explanation!