Looking to buy the folks back home something that conveys the China experience this Christmas? Here six Sino-flavored presents that are easy to buy and transport.
Have a friend who’s a chef? Get them a wok from Cen Rong Geng, one of the last artisans in Shanghai to crafts these accessories by hand. This second generation wok maker punches sheets of carbon steel into a circle, runs them through a charcoal furnace and then hammers them into “woks of art.” A 16-inch, Shanghai-style vessel sets you back RMB120. Buy several; guildsmen like Cen won’t be around forever.
Where: 214 Baoyuan Lu (near Baotong Lu) 宝源路214号 (近宝通路)
Standard, we know, but what’s more Christmas-y than buying clothing at the home of the elves that make all the world’s clothes? Hit up Qipu Lu, a veritable Okavango Delta of super cheap garments and fake handbags. Don’t worry, the wife won’t know the difference.
Where:168 Qipu Lu (near Henan Bei Lu) 七浦路168号 (近河南北路)
Have your folks try to replicate the “foreigner out of water” experience by trying their hand at using chopsticks. The Shanghai Chopsticks Shop sells every variety from Angry Bird-themed ones to utensils painted with Peking Opera Masks.
What: Shanghai Chopsticks Shop
Where: 37 Yuyuan Old Street (near Fuyou Lu) 豫园老街37号豫园内 (近福佑路)
You’ll need some edible stocking stuffers for the kiddies. Forgo the chicken feet and get some White Rabbit Cream Candies cloaked in dissolvable rice paper. They’re made right in Shanghai.
What: Carrefour, multiple locations
What better way to celebrate the green and red holiday with some green and red tea bought near the source? Though known by foreigners as “black tea,” red tea is the strongest-flavored of the bunch. It’s also the least perishable, making it easy to ship and store, and ages like fine wine. Meanwhile, older Grinchier relatives (get it? Green like The Grinch?) will appreciate the anticoagulant properties of a traditional Green Tea. Buy packages of both at the Tianshan Tea Market.
What: Tianshan Tea Market
Where: 520 Zhongshan Xi Lu (near Yuping Lu) 中山西路520号 (近玉屏路)
Nothing captures the quirkiness of China like the facekini, a colorful balaclava-like mask used by Ningbo beach-goers to repel the sun, jellyfish….and probably the opposite sex. But we digress. Your alabaster-skinned hipster pals will appreciate the opportunity to spearhead this fashion fad back home. You can find both regular and designer French versions on alibaba.com. We advise against wearing them on the plane ride home, however, lest security mistakes you for a Somali Pirate on Casual Friday.
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