How to: Avoid consuming dodgy products in Tianjin

dscn8666.JPGMy first teacher three semesters ago warned me: you can buy produce at the local vegetable market, but avoid packaged food products from there or from little first-floor window shops, even if it’s the same label as what’s in the big supermarket. Chances are too high that it’s fake. Sometimes you can tell by the way the label is glued on crooked or has minute differences.

We’ve more or less followed her advice, but even in the supermarkets things can look dodgy – like a row of glass vinegar bottles that all have different amounts of vinegar in them with sloppily glued on labels.

Today I didn’t follow this advice, and stopped at a first-floor window to get a bottle of jiaozi vinegar on the way to eat lunch (fantastic Muslim beef sandwiches from a different first-floor window shop). I carried the vinegar bottle into the school since I was heading straight to class after eating, and a classmate joked, “You bringing beer to class?” Then I took a second look at the bottle, which you can see on right.

Now, I’m all for recycling (it was routine for class pop bottles to be reused as pop bottles when we were in east Africa), but I’m not so sure I trust this one.

Sorry Xu Laoshi! Next time I’ll 听 your 说的话!

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