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The Sweet Taste of Moon Cakes read more
Sep-6th-2012 | Post by expatree
Moon cakes Godess

With Mid-Autumn Festival quickly approaching, the sight of moon cakes has become ubiquitous throughout Shanghai. As anyone taking a cursory trip to a nearby grocery store has likely witnessed, clamoring for the ornately-decorated confections has become a bit of a national pastime. Moon cakes now come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the traditional lotus seed pasted-filled to the über-modern Häagen-Dazs ice cream variety. Despite being laden with calories (800 per cake on average), they make excellent treats paired with a strong tea. As they are often exchanged as gifts with family members and business partners, a bit of knowledge about moon cakes can be quite advantageous.

Legends surrounding mooncakes are multifarious. The known origins can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (619-907), when the round tarts were first recorded. According to folklore, moon cakes were used to dispense secrets in a Han-led rebellion against Mongol rule in the 14th century, precipitating&nb

Dairy Deluge: China’s Milk Market Reaches a Critical Juncture read more
Aug-9th-2012 | Post by expatree

“Of what use is it that the cow gives plenty of milk, if she upset the pail”

What is true in the old German aphorism is certainly applicable to China’s milk industry. Despite rapid growth in productivity and output over the last several decades, the industry has repeatedly been plagued by scandal. A number of incidents, including the notorious San Lu episode in 2008, have precipitated a loss of confidence in the domestic dairy industry, giving impetus for doting Chinese parents to look elsewhere for their children’s calcium. This has been a boon for many surplus dairy producers, as they have seen a ready and growing market for their milk products. This has given the global dairy market an interesting dynamic, as major dairy-producing nations such as New Zealand have seen shortages in their supermarkets as Chinese consumers clamor for all things dairy with a foreign label.

According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, China’s dairy industry

Food Satefy in China Challenges read more
Jul-2nd-2012 | Post by expatree
(Originally posted on June 27, 2012)

Shanghai street food

For anyone recently arrived in Shanghai, the distinctive fragrances that fill the avenues can be tantalizing. The warm aromas of countless neighborhood restaurants, the fresh scent of steaming flour at baozi stands, and the balm of street vendors’ sizzling cooking oil collectively provide an olfactory cacophony unrivaled in its ability to stimulate the senses. For first-time visitors, the adventure of sampling street food is a rite of passage, substantiating that one is truly immersed in the local culture. The experience is unparalleled in most Western countries, where food consumption is far more institutionalized and subject to greater impediments.

However, recent years have shed a less than flattering light on food safety in China. The melamine-tainted milk scandal from the summer of 2008 decimated confidence on the country’s milk industry and led to a surge in imports in milk. This past March, a food safety scandal erupted in H

Standing on Fertile Ground: Go Organic in Shanghai read more
Jul-2nd-2012 | Post by expatree
(Originally posted on February 20, 2012)

Organic food in Shanghai

Do you ever worry about what’s in your food? Although we in the Shanghai benefit from a world-class repertoire of dining locales, ranging from the local to the exotic to the tried and true global generic, organic has not historically been one of the city’s fortes.


Many of the city’s establishments have historically sourced from mega-farms, and we consumers have been relegated to buying pesticide-laden produce in local supermarkets. However, things are changing; organic is now the fastest-growing sector of the Chinese food market, witnessing double-digit annual growth rates and inspiring a renaissance of back-to-basics farming in the Jiangnan region. For us as consumer this means a plethora of choices for a healthier, more ecologically-friendly, and, more importantly, tastier lifestyle. Here’s a heads-up on where to look:


 Organic farms 

The ecologically-balanced back-to-basics movemen