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Ten Landmarks of the Chinese Cryosphere
July 26, 2014 10:48 AM   Subscribe

“The Price of Cold”— the story of my recent adventures exploring China’s artificial cryosphere — is now online in The New York Times Magazine. In it, I visit the world’s first and only frozen dumpling billionaire, hang out with the chef leading a one-man refrigeration resistance movement, and visit refrigerated warehouses and R&D labs across the country. Meanwhile, for those of you for whom that is not enough refrigeration for one weekend, I compiled this list: ten stand-out destinations for the armchair Chinese cryotourist, based on my own travels while reporting the story.
posted by infini (15 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
the world’s first and only frozen dumpling billionaire

I haven't even opened the article yet and I am already totally hooked.
posted by elizardbits at 11:10 AM on July 26


In the second link there's the phrase "cheese is viewed as disgusting" but the BBC page it links to actually says this about the matter:
"When I first went to Hong Kong in the 1960s, I would bring in little pieces of New Zealand cheese. At one point the landlord, a Cantonese guy, saw the cheese and got violently ill just by the sight. It grossed him out, as much the idea of eating rotten cow's milk as anything. Now his grandchildren are eating pizza and processed cheese."
posted by XMLicious at 11:11 AM on July 26


Interesting read...
posted by ph00dz at 11:56 AM on July 26


> the world’s first and only frozen dumpling billionaire

I haven't even opened the article yet and I am already totally hooked.


Yeah, me too. All the more disappointing is the very first sentence of the article: ‘In Sichuan, we’re eaters,” said Chen Zemin, the world’s first and only frozen-dumpling billionaire.

If he's still talking, it's clearly not the billionaire that's frozen, but the dumplings. Too bad. I was imagining the author traveling from one frozen billionaire to the next, all the while dodging that pesky refrigeration resistance movement.

Note also how this one tiny hyphen can clear up the ambiguity...
posted by sour cream at 11:57 AM on July 26 [5 favorites]


If you are interested in the history of cold - or just odd people in general I do recommend this biography of Clarence Birdseye the inventor of frozen food.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:02 PM on July 26


If he's still talking, it's clearly not the billionaire that's frozen, but the dumplings. Too bad. I was imagining the author traveling from one frozen billionaire to the next, all the while dodging that pesky refrigeration resistance movement.

You are thinking small. He could be frozen, but speaking through a setup reading the very faint electrical activity in his super-cold brain. Or, possibly, he has transferred his consciousness into dumplings. I mean, I know I would.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:15 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


The billionaire had to get frozen cryogenically in an emergency after mistakenly buying the panda who eats, shoots and leaves for his private zoo.
posted by XMLicious at 12:27 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


No matter what you read in the NYT, you really, really really don't want to eat packaged food from China.
posted by wuwei at 1:06 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


A Chinese person experiences some kind of digestive upset twice a week — a kind of low-level recurring food poisoning, much of which is probably caused by the kind of bacterial growth that could have been prevented by keeping food cold.

I had more upset stomachs in my two years living in China, than I've had in the rest of my life. Food hygiene is extremely variable and preparation/storage had a lot to do with it.

The environmental cost of all that refrigeration is staggering.
posted by arcticseal at 1:31 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


It was the dumpling billionaire who was going to open the gateway to TV dinner frozen convenience that did it; I knew at once it was an FPP before I read another sentence.

confesses to scanning for country of origin for frozen fish balls, shiu mai and bao. ah, Singapore, thank you for your anal retentive hygiene standards and incorruptible inspectors... wait... I need another adjective...over thinks the red bean paste
posted by infini at 1:41 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I had more upset stomachs in my two years living in China, than I've had in the rest of my life.

My friend had a heinous outbreak of some kind of foot zone crud while living in Beijing and ended up on heavy duty antifungals for about 3 months, with the result of cast-iron constipation. After eating so many prunes that I kind of wanted to die from watching it, she went to the local pharmacy and asked about some kind of laxatives, natural or otherwise, and had a difficult time explaining her needs, as difficult a time as the pharmacist had in grasping the fact that she wanted assistance in making the poops START and not STOP.
posted by elizardbits at 2:23 PM on July 26


Culturally and historically, I want to spend time in China. Health-wise, I do not.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:50 PM on July 26


Ooh, I've been to that wet market in Zhengzhou. I saw an alligator, I couldn't tell if it was dead or alive (its mouth was strapped shut and it wasn't moving). It is certainly interesting to see if you're used to Walmart and chain grocery stores. It was mostly sea food - I was on the hunt for jellyfish but found squid, urchins, all kinds of fish, lots of turtles, shellfish, pretty much anything that lives in water was there. Really interesting. The hygiene was definitely questionable. I'll probably go back when it cools down a little (for the smell!) and check it out again.
posted by sarae at 6:36 PM on July 26


Ok on closer inspection perhaps I didn't make it to that particular wet market, although I was certainly at some wet market at the exact same location. I will definitely go back and check it out.

Interesting to learn more about the city I live in. I didn't know about the frozen food industry originating in ZZ.
posted by sarae at 6:39 PM on July 26


Some things you really shouldn't outsource.

McDonald’s Food Supplier OSI Recalls Shanghai Unit Products
posted by infini at 11:56 AM on July 27


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