Chinese democracy

Last weekend I had another opportunity to get out of the bubble republic of HK for a trip to the mainland massive; Shanghai was calling, and I did not hesitate to put my red marching boots on. The trip’s main purpose, as you can imagine, was to steer the steering wheels of steel of one of the many bottle service etablissements China’s biggest city has to offer.

Even though the crowd was not quite my cup o’ green tea/whiskey, I managed pretty well, and even got away with accidentally spilling my drink on the back of an old Chinese triad boss type dude playing dice at one of those tables. Business as usual. Now to the interesting part. I extended my trip by a few days to do what I like doing the most whenever I cross the border; strolling around, observing and consuming the cryptic charme of this 180° dimension we call the People’s Republic of China.


I was a bit tempted to play safe by ingesting my breakfast at one of the countless Western cafes nearby my hotel, packed with fellow ghostfaces and carrying a familiar diversity of panini, sandwiches, pasta, iced latte and such on their menus. However, I done did dealing with food poisoning before and I figured that another one won’t kill me but only make me stronger, so I decided to back off and to dive into the grimy, hidden alleys of this city instead, to see what’s cooking on the sidewalk.

Shanghai street kitchen

Now don’t expect some iron-stomach type-ish. I’m still a picky type of motherfucker and I like my food simple, so I skipped the cooked guts, brains and feet, and decided for these fresh 1-Yuan-each priced Chinese style brekkie burritos instead, consisting of nothing but flour, fried egg and some chili, broiled in 100% quality slop oil.

Chinese breakfast burrito

While I’ve been feasting upon those, I kept strolling around in the foodsy areas to see what else is frying. This young lady and her hungry offspring, pictured below, were obviously specialized in the crustacean types.

Street crabs

Too bad I am not exactly sure what the following chap with the sad look on his face was sizzling, but damn those side-ingredients look yummy, don’t they?

Shanghai street food

Other than street food, I also cherish an intense fascination for the Chinese’ congenial creativity in bootlegging Western brands. I found these at the Adodos Original store:


Giorgio Ramain is so hot right now in China

Armani Jeans

so is J-Xingyu


and Dolce & Dabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

Of course all this shit is awfully amusing to the Western eye. I have to admit that I nearly peed myself seeing those types for the first times, but I kinda got used to it and I’m also starting to understand the certain kind of cleverness behind it more and more. Have a good laugh, but before being rude about it, please educate yourself and acknowledge the depth of Shanzhai culture. Read these eye-opening articles, e.g. from China Daily and the Wall Street Journal. Another thing you just HAVE to adore, is the use of random letters, words and sentences from the Roman Alphabet in the weirdest ways and combinations. It seems VERY ridic, but think about it: How often do we Westerners embarrassingly misuse Chinese and/or Japanese characters, just because the characters “look kinda cool”, but completely twisting their sense and meaning?  How many people do you know having Chinese characters tattooed on their skin, not being 100% sure about the true meaning of them? Same shit here. Just the other way around. Let’s just hope it won’t become a trend in China to get tattoos of Roman letters and words. The outcome might include amazingly absurd lingo mishaps like this one:

Shanzhai lingo

Now before I leave y’all alone, I’ve got one more for you. Riddle: what’s the center of attention behind those groups of curious Chinese men gathering in circles all around town?


Answer: 中國象棋.


MP3 Extravaganza:

Doris Day – (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going To) Shanghai


3 Responses to “Chinese democracy”

  1. fitze carraldo Says:

    Hi Andy,
    We ll have the same type of funny copy cat stuff overhere in Vietnam, laughed my ass off, too at the first time i saw it, some stuff like “Adidad” (Vietnamese pronounciation of d is S), actually its likely this stuff you see is produced here, as China has become “too expensive” (sounds weird but makes sense comparing labour cost between Vietnam and southern China).
    Vietnam s always in the same footsteps of his big big brother…
    Beste Gruesse aus Hcmc

  2. derek Says:

    stumbled upon your blog, hilarious post. that’s not mahjong by the way, it’s chinese chess

  3. Kid Fresh Says:

    Dang you’re right. I had no clue! I’m s0 ignorant when it comes to any types of board games. Thx! Revised!

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