Category Archives: Culture

Why Do Foreigners Drink Cold Water?

For foreigners, the idea of reaching for a glass of hot water in the summer might seem a little odd. But rest assured, the average Chinese person has the same feeling about reaching for ice water. According to one tale, a Chinese couple entered...


China a Poor Choice for Travelers Seeking Chinese Culture

It sounds strange to suggest it, but anyone pining for the China of the Tang Dynasty would be best advised to visit Japan. The island nation continues the dynasty’s architecture, and its emperor continues ceremonies that are clearly modeled on the period’s court. Readers...


How Chili Peppers Thrived in China

The most famous quote about chili peppers in China came from the country’s most notorious chili lover, Chairman Mao: “No chilis, no revolution (不吃辣椒不革命),” he said. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of chili, growing between 50 million and 60 million tons...


The Story of the Palace’s Homewrecking Rock

Tour guides typically warn visitors who are entering the Summer Palace’s Hall of Happiness in Longevity not to photograph the large, dark and sleek stone within. The fungus-shaped rock was named the Blue Iris Stone (青芝岫) by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912)....


Descendants of Fan Ran: China’s History of Begging

It’s hard to say when China found its first beggars. Documents do not exist before the Spring and Autumn Period (771-476 BC), and in those days, the face of begging was far different. In the ancient past, begging was not merely a career for...


Healthy Foods for Beauty

Where foreigners turn to vitamins, Chinese turn to food therapy: especially women who are vulnerable or concerned about their beauty. Chinese medicine claims that there are a great variety of foods that have a positive effect on female beauty. The most popular are yams,...


Forgotten Toys of the 1980s

Last week, Beijing Today introduced some nostalgic snacks of the 1980s. This week we decided to follow up the list with some classic childhood toys of the same era. Although video games were uncommon in China before the 1990s, Chinese kids had access to...


Ancient Collectibles Make a Comeback

As foreign luxuries become more affordable, many Chinese shoppers are turning back to traditional baubles and amusements. Natural stones and precious shells are becoming harder and harder to acquire, increasing their collectible value and making them a stronger symbol of prestige than the latest...