Shopping In Hegang

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Photos by MJ Klein

Hegang Shopping

On our recent trip to China, we had some time to kill, so we decided to go shopping in the local town of Hegang and check out the products available locally.

Hegang Shopping

A typical street scene in Hegang….

Hegang Shopping

These 2 women work at the factory we visited.  They are checking out a type of wool long undergarment worn during the long winter.  Remember, Hegang is very far north (further north than the famous Harbin) and it gets quite cold there.

Hegang Shopping

This entire floor of the department store was dedicated to selling leather jackets.  I couldn’t find a single jacket that was large enough to fit me, though.

Hegang Shopping

Just outside was a thriving street market.  We decided to take a walk through the market.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

That’s Hui-chen in the white jacket.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

I was a bit surprised to see so many nut products for sale here.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

In addition to that, were were fresh spices on display.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

Members of our group are checking out the nuts.  We got a bit of an education from the boss lady who explained many things about them that we didn’t know.

Hegang Shopping

The peanut colored nuts in the blue bowls are pine nuts.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

Next to the nuts were these tasty foods,

Hegang Shopping

including deep fried chicken heads….

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

These guys were checking me out and were quite openly vocal about it.  So I told them I was going to “blog them” but I don’t think they understood what I meant.

Hegang Shopping

These don’t look quite as good as they do in Taiwan, but nice and bright red just the same.

Hegang Shopping

Continuing on our way down the market….

Hegang Shopping

These are wheat cakes.  We didn’t try them but they sure looked good.

Hegang Shopping

The guy at this stand was making some kind of a large scallion pancake.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

He added a couple of eggs….

Hegang Shopping

and spread them all around….

Hegang Shopping

until they covered most of the pancake.

Hegang Shopping

Then he flipped it over.  I know it looks like he’s folding it in this photo but the next photo will show it turned over.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

It looked pretty good but I just wasn’t in the mood to try it.

Hegang Shopping

Other deep-fried fare on sale.

Hegang Shopping

As we walked through the market I couldn’t help notice just how dirty it was – filthy, actually.  I didn’t take any photos of those places though.  I’ve never seen anything quite so dirty like that in Taiwan markets.

Hegang Shopping

Wontons.  One of my all-time favorites.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t eat here.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

I think this is a permanent day market by the looks of some things here.

Hegang Shopping

After exiting the market area, we took a turn down a side street,

Hegang Shopping

and spotted a line of these “tuk-tuk” like taxi vehicles.

Hegang Shopping

Next, we decided to check out the B.U.T Supermarket.

Hegang Shopping

This supermarket looked pretty much like any other supermarket we’ve visited in various countries.

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

We decided to put our newfound knowledge of nuts to good work here.

Hegang Shopping

Some people in our group wanted to bring some of the nut products back to Taiwan.

Hegang Shopping

Bakery items.

Hegang Shopping

Notice the blue bag.  In order to prevent theft, all the women had to lock up their pocketbooks in these blue bags.  Only the staff had the keys to open them.  So, when it came time to pay for our purchases, out came the blue bags and the keys.

Back on the street:

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

Hegang Shopping

This couple came up to me in the department store.  They tried to speak English but when they heard me respond in Chinese they were very surprised.  They asked me to photograph them, so I did.  Now, they’re stars!

Thanks for reading about shopping in Hegang.  I’ve geotagged this article with the location of the city so you’ll know where it is.  Be sure to leave us a rating as well as your comments!

Articles in series In China:

  1. Welcome to Beijing, Part II
  2. Shopping In Hegang
  3. A Night Out In Hegang
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23 comments

  1. Oh how I love markets, any markets, dirty or clean. Here in Taiwan most of the markets are super sterile. We were recently in Ubekistan and went into possibly the dirtiest market I have ever seen in a place called Urgut…man it was dirty…dirtier than the pictures above…but it was fun….I even dared to eat in the market. My wife refused…ha ha ha…

    Ah well, great pics good post. I enjoyed it.

    durbanbays last blog post..Seven Years Ago Today…

    1. Durbanbay, did you get sick from that market? Ubekistan? i’ve never been there but i’ve had plenty of ham radio contacts with people there. what was the main item for sale in the market?

      1. No. I never get sick. I was scared though and I took a bet with my wife that I would get sick, but nothing. Yeah the market we went to was mostly selling made-in-korea fabrics and made-in-china clothes with lots of food etc. Uzbekistan is awesome and I will update my blog on the trip when I have time (already started but no time) but yeah, we had a bloody brilliant time. Would go there at the drop of a hat again. Actually, I hate shopping, I just love local markets, its where you see real-life, real-people.

        durbanbays last blog post..Seven Years Ago Today…

        1. Durbanbay, well that’s good to hear! cast iron stomach have you? hehe i would like to visit Uzbekistan myself. did you have to go with a tour group? can’t wait to see the blog article. be sure to come back here and link to it so our readers can enjoy it too! thanks.

          1. I don’t know about cast iron, I just think if the food is cooked it should be good and in cheaper places the food turns around much fast than expensive places. In China I only got sick after eating in expensive restaurants (three times).

            Yeah, we went by ourselves during Chinese New Year. Great country to visit. We went west along the Silk Road cities, next time will go east and into the mountains (we will go back, already planning). You can do the tour group thing but I am not much of a flag-follower myself. We knew people who did the tour group and it turned out WITH our spending money, we were cheaper than their package (Excluding their spending money) and we were there three days longer. I think we got the better deal. More difficult and challenging though but it was fun.

            When I finish the series I will send you the link. Need tof finish my studies first.

            Thanks for the follow on twitter and enjoy your new headrest. My bike got swiped recently. Bought a new Giant Yukon. Haven’t done any real distance on it yet. Need some time but too busy. The trike looks big. I don’t have place to store it. Also looks a bit cumbersome for where I ride but looks like an interesting experience.

            durbanbays last blog post..Seven Years Ago Today…

          2. Durbanbay, i also got sick after eating in an expensive restaurant up in Black Dragon. i had to stay near the toilet for an entire day. it was terrible. personally i don’t like tours that much either. i did a tour once and it was pretty restrictive. as you point out, if you do some research you can often do better, cheaper and more interesting than tours.

            btw, my Giant MTB is also a Yukon, purchased in 2004. it’s still running strong!

            we’re looking forward to the link.

    1. Stefan, yeah, they were just too cute. after they found out i could speak Chinese they were a lot less apprehensive about interaction with me. which is something we never think of. if i saw an Asian person in the US i would still speak English to that person, expecting that they would know the local language. i think the perception is that Chinese is too difficult for foreigners to learn.

      1. Well, an Asian-looking person in the US might well be an American, so their appearance gives you not much of a clue regarding their native language.

        On the other hand, I suspect there are not many western-looking folk in Hegang. So when you encounter one, the chance that he’s a native speaker is low. So assuming he’s a traveler – chances that he knows Chinese are relatively low, chances that he knows English are rather high. Even if he’s not from an English-speaking country – among travelers it’s quite common to have at least some English skills. Besides when you only have two options yourself (Mandarin or English) it doesn’t really matter if he has a third one (e.g. Russian) which you don’t speak.

        People tend to take reasonable guesses based on the environment they are in. If I see a Japanese tourist in Munich center looking lost, I’d likely address him in English initially. If he’s young and near the university area I’d try German first.

        1. Stefan, would it surprise you to know that i have a working knowledge of Russian and Korean? but no, it’s English all the way baby! i usually ask people “how did you know i can speak English?” one woman laughed and said “i took a wild guess.” i asked some Germans if they spoke English once and they said (just like Taiwanese) “a little” – now that was pretty funny.

          with the exception of that young couple, everyone addressed me in full-on Mandarin. it was interesting because people actually expected me to understand them and respond in Chinese. how cool was that?

          one guy asked me “what country are you from?” when i answered “Taiwan” he said “Taiwan’s not a country.” “kiss my ass” in English isn’t well understood, i’ll have you know. 😉

          1. Honestly – wouldn’t surprise me at all. Taking an interest in other cultures, putting in the effort to access them – having read your blog for quite a while, it seems very much in line with your character. 🙂

            English can get easily in the way if you want to learn another language. I guess that it would be much easier to practice Chinese in China – especially int he more remote areas.

            I liked your response to “Taiwan’s not a country” – I would have used “g?u pì”. My wife thinks that’s old-fashioned, but it’s an insult which has been in use for over 250 years – I think that gives it a certain gravity and dignity. Besides it really surprises people. 🙂

          2. Stefan, thanks for your kind comments, and your longtime readership of our blog. English sometimes does get in the way, as you put it, because sometimes people can’t fathom that a foreign person can speak any Chinese at all. i remember once, asking a woman in a restaurant about a dish and she kept looking around saying “does anyone speak English?” i was speaking well-pronounced Mandarin. i had to wait until the moment of panic passed and she turned back to me. then i said “i’m speaking Chinese” and went on to ask my questions. she was quite taken back. those kinds of episodes are the worst, i think. btw, i like your response 🙂 thanks.

  2. MJ, great post. I too was thinking how dirty the market looked just from litter scattered about the place.

    The place you said ” I wouldn’y eat here”, me either. It looked disgusting. the grease caked on the cooker. I would hate to think how often teh oil is changed or at least cleaned.

    MJ, I am a sucker for a good old chickens head, feet or best of all their ass. Here you can buy a skewer of chicken asses for 10 baht.

    There was lots of good looking food, I am just about to eat some fries that Noot just knocked up, thankfully.

    The large scallion pancake is also popular here in Thailand. The crap they put inside them though is disgusting at times.

    It looked cold from the coat Hui-Chen was wearing. Here in Thailand it is also hard to buy clothes to fit us foriegners.

    XL is really a small and a XXL is maybe a large. But again you can pick up two same braded items of teh same tagged size but they are different sizes. That’s Thailand..

    Thanks for sharing MJ

    Bruntys last blog post..Songkran Water Festival, Isaan Thailand. One Week Long.

    1. Brunty, when reviewing the photos for this article i was going “yuck” to myself because of the filth. change the oil? what’s that? lol

      i like most chicken parts at the market, but i can’t take those chicken butts. far too often they taste like what comes out of the chicken’s butt. at least they did have some good food as you pointed out.

      it was about 3~5c when we were there. for us in Taiwan that is very cold, but i enjoyed it. been a long time since i was in a cold climate.

      about the jackets, i have a leather jacket that i bought in the States. the size is “XXXXL” and of course, it’s made in China. i showed it to them and they couldn’t believe it. nothing in the store was close. i tried on quite a few that i couldn’t even zip up. it also depended upon the cut of the jacket. they are all different.

      thanks Brunty.

  3. MJ

    The scallion pancake with is is delicious. I like to add a bit of soy paste to it when I finish cooking them.

    I wouldn’t eat at that place either. makes my stomach rumble just looking at it.

    1. owshawng, the more i looked at that market the sicker it made me! i’ve been to lots of markets in Thailand and Laos and they looked worlds better. i’ll stick with the Taiwan made scallion pancake, thanks!

        1. spoken by a wise man! we didn’t get anything from the market. in fact, we used what we learned to make purchases in the supermarket (per the article). thanks owshawng.

  4. Hmmm… deep fried chicken heads. When I see that pic… it made me think of a line that Robin Williams said in Good Morning Vietname when he said something like… I can’t eat something that is looking back at me.

    When I sn the pic of the strawberries and you said they “looked nice and bright red just the same”… it mad me think about putting in a shameless plug for the pics of the Red Sox gam that I just took with my new camera and put on my Flickr page.

    1. Mike, westerners are really hung up on stuff like that. i don’t like chicken or duck heads because of the flavor. i don’t like the taste of them.

      go ahead and make your plug. that’s what the blog is for 🙂

      1. Well… I don’t know how many people will see this since you’ve already had so many comments on this blog entry and now you have a new blog entry (which I’ll read the entire thing after I post this)… but…

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike01905/

        It has pics of the Boston Red Sox game that I went to this past weekend. I took some pics with my new Sony DSC-H50 camera.

        Now based on a previous blog entry by MJ on camera settings (How To Improve Your Photography In 5 Minutes, posted on Jan 8, 2009)… he had a section called “Crank Up The Colors!”. This is something that I’ve tried to do… but I don’t think my 2003 Sony DSC-F828 camera did all that great of a job with that.

        Now my new DSC-H50 has a “Color Mode” setting that can be set to Normal, Real, or Vivid…. so I’ve set the “Color Mode” to “Vivid”. It also has a “Color Saturation” setting that can be set to Normal, -, or +… so I’ve set the “Color Saturration” to “+”.

        Well… MJ loves how the red and orange looked in the pics… he said they were “screaming”. I like how the infield dirt is “darkish brown” in one pic and how zooming in on the home plate area shows off the different shades of brown in the dirt as the game went on.

        OK… my shameless plug is done 🙂

        Now I need to get a new keyboard. a LOT of the times when I hit the “e” key… it dosn’t show up and I have to go back and correct things that I type. I mean… I know my typing is bad… but I know its not that bad.

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