Apr 28, 2007

Step-by-step guide: how to eat pineapple in China

My last entry talked about the skewers of meat and vegetables stewing in the road side ma la tang stands in Beijing. Continuing on the theme of food-on-sticks, I bring you this new entry.

Springtime in Beijing is when the majority of street vendors stop selling roasted sweet potatoes and switch to fresh pineapple on-a-stick. You should be aware that this is not at all like eating pineapple in America. Here's an overview of the complex process that pineapple on-a-stick vendors must follow in China:

Step 1
The vendor selects a pineapple from his or her cart.

Step 2
The vendor uses a dirty knife to cut off the skin, which is littered on the street or thrown wherever there is space in his or her cart.

Step 3
The vendor fondles the pineapple flesh while using another dirty knife to remove the divots. The vendor can optionally wear a pair of dirty gloves while he does this. Customers tend to gravitate towards the vendors that wear brown-stained gardening gloves.

Step 4
The vendor inserts a wooded skewer into the base of the cut pineapple, covers it with a yellow bag, and then inserts the end of the skewer into a bock of Styrofoam or wood

Step 5
After the pineapple has had time to sit for a few hours in the midday sun inside the yellow bag, a customer comes along and buys a pineapple-on-a-stick.

Step 6 (optional)
The customer can swish the pineapple in a container of dirty water, seemingly to disinfect the fruit. This step is still mind-boggling to me.

Step 7
Now comes the best part, of course, which is that you, the customer, finally gets to eat the pineapple.

Step 8
You're done eating that delicious treat. Now you can throw the yellow bag, wooden stick, and pineapple remnants anywhere on the ground that you like. Don't worry, this is China, where the mentality is that anywhere is your own personal garbage can. Someone will be along eventually to clean up after you.


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