Monthly Archives: June 2012

A Salute to Baijiu, Part 6: How to Not Get Hammered at a Banquet

1. Pray for soup Weird, right? When in your life have you ever NEEDED soup? You will at a banquet, believe me. Here’s the thing about Chinese soup: it’s not nearly as thick as western soup. In fact, in Chinese no one says “eat” soup; everyone “drinks” soup, which of course means although you have a spoon at your disposal,… (more…)

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A Salute to Baijiu, Part 5: How to Look Like a Hero When There’s a Banquet

Few things in official Chinese life are more important than the banquet. If you’re involved in business in China, you should already have experienced this fact. Yes, the negotiations in the boardroom are important, but where you really make or break a deal is at the dinner table, specifically with baijiu. If you’re not in business, it really doesn’t matter… (more…)

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A Salute to Baijiu, Part Four: Representative Baijiu Experiences 3-5

3. Baijiu and seafood Don’t mix. They really don’t. And that’s another interesting feature of most baijiu: there literally is nothing you can eat that compliments it. With any other kind of alcohol there are certain dishes that work better, but with baijiu, you could be eating $200-an-ounce beluga caviar or a handful of Skittles and the effect would be… (more…)

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A Salute to Baijiu, Part Three: Representative Baijiu Experiences 1-2

In the interest of demonstrating the varieties of horrible-ness you can experience with baijiu, I offer up five of my own representative experience. 1. Shandong’s answer to Kentucky moonshine When I was teaching at Shandong Agricultural University in Taian, the other two foreign teachers and I were invited by the school to attend a special event celebrating the successful cultivation… (more…)

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A Salute to Baijiu, Part Two: A Second Reason for Baijiu Being the Draught of Satan

The second reason for baijiu being the draught of Satan is its flavor. Most other alcohols are made from one major ingredient. Vodka typically comes from potatoes, tequila from agave, etc. What’s added after that is typically just flavoring: gin is flavored with bergamom and sometimes anise, and Scotch is aged in oak casks which give it its distinctive dark-brown… (more…)

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A Salute to Baijiu, Part One: One Reason for Baijiu Being the Draught of Satan

It’s high time that someone wrote something substantial about baijiu. Perhaps they already have, and I’m not aware of it. If so, then it’s high time I wrote something substantial about baijiu. I thought about this the other day when two of my classmates and I took our adviser out for dinner. This always–and I do mean ALWAYS–means the presence… (more…)

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Why Do I Like Mountain Dew?

Being an American can be confusing sometimes, though because I have no intention of writing an extremely complicated political blog post, I’d like to focus on one aspect of my confusion in detail: snack food products. Namely, the fact that as an American I tend to like, well, pretty much everything. I’d love to know the reason for this. Why… (more…)

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Ugly #1-#3

1. Soviet Architecture – The Chinese government is interesting in that they appear to be attempting to preserve, not the essential theoretical underpinnings of communist thought, but rather the super-cool exterior. Thus the farmers aren’t really doing much better than before, but that’s all right because the government has put on a massive PR blitz to celebrate the something-th anniversary… (more…)

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Bad #3-#5

3. Brick wall conversations Most conversations with a low-level authority figure, if the topic has something to do with a rule, are maddening in the true sense of the word, as in, they will quite literally drive sense from your mind and, if carried on long enough, reduce you to a slobbering half-wit. Fortunately I’ve always just been able to… (more…)

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Bad #1 and #2

1. No one knowing anything Wow. I don’t know if I can approach this without resorting to lengthy, Tolstoyan language, but I’ll do my best. Let’s start with a question: how many of you can imagine a graduate department, any graduate department, whose professors have no idea when the master’s thesis deadline is? Anyone? No? Welcome to our department. Scott… (more…)

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