5 Things you Didn’t Know About China

01 CELL PHONE LANES

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Photo: Internet


In Chongqing, China, with a degree of seriousness that has yet to be determined, the city authorities have designated a 30 metre (100ft) “cellphone lane” for people who use their phones while walking. The path measures 50 meters (165 feet) long with two lanes. One prohibits cell phone use, and the other allows pedestrians to text while walking. Unfortunately, the pedestrians haven’t been following the path’s rules, instead whipping out their smartphones to snap pictures of the signs and the pavement.

02 CAVE HOMES 

Over 30 million Chinese make their homes in caves, according to a recent report by the Los Angeles Times. Reporting from Yanan, China, the newspaper details the varieties of cave dwellers’ experiences. Many live in Shaanxi province, where the region’s porous soil is particularly well-suited for easy digging. The caves, called yaodong in Chinese, are usually dug into the side of a mountain. Often rice paper or blankets hang from semicircular entrances to serve as makeshift doors. Swankier caves have several chambers and are secured with brick masonry. Some even have electricity and running water.

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Photo: Internet


ON SALE NOW: A basic one-bedroom cave without plumbing rents for $30 a month. A cave with three bedrooms and a bathroom might for $46,000. CALL NOW: DAIL 1-800-CAVE

BUT HURRY, CAVES ARE SELLING OUT FAST.

It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s like living in a villa. Caves in the village are as comfortable as posh apartments in the city without the polluted air.

SERIOUSLY CALL ME NOW: DAIL 1-800-CAVE

03 ROBOT WAITERS 

Chinese restaurants started to replace their workers with robots as early as 2006. For some, they’re still cheaper than human wait staff, the approximate $1,200 up-front cost per robot is just a couple months’ salary for an average server in China. Robot waiters seem to have taken off in China because they’re novel and fun, rather than for their efficiency. Many robots in Chinese restaurants appear anthropomorphic and toy-like.

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Photo: Internet


04 ICE CREAM

Frozen treats are so universal that historians think different forms may have developed independently in different places. The ancient Persians and Romans were onto flavored ice early, but as far as we know it was the Chinese who first added dairy to the mix. During the Tang dynasty, ice cream was made with buffalo, cow, or goat’s milk thickened with flour and flavored with camphor. The origin of ice-cream. An ice-cream-like food was first eaten in China in 618-97AD. King Tang of Shang, had 94 ice men who helped to make a dish of buffalo milk, flour and camphor. A kind of ice-cream was invented in China about 200 BC when a milk and rice mixture was frozen by packing it into snow.

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Photo: restaurantgirl.com


05 KETCHUP 

It turns out ketchup’s origins are anything but American. Ketchup comes from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish. It is believed that traders brought fish sauce from Vietnam to southeastern China. They have been selling ketchup since 1876. Legend has it that Henry John Heinz invented ketchup by adapting a Chinese recipe for so-called Cat Sup, a thick sauce made from tomatoes, special seasoning and starch.

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Photo: Internet

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