Poultryman Goes to China, Part 3 of a 3 Part Series
At any grocery store in China there is no packaging on the chickens for sale there. When you are shopping for for chicken, you just start grabbing them with your bare hands and looking through a pile of chicken carcasses.
There were piles of ducks and geese for sale and one pile of chickens for sale that was all blue. They also had a pile of processed Silkies for sale! These had stickers on them with a drawing of a white Silkie. I was impressed to see that the drawing was crested and had 5 toes!
Eggs at the grocery stores in China included goose, duck, turkey and chicken. They also had eggs that looked like they had tobacco chunks around them. I think those were smoked or roasted or something.
In the United States at the checkout counter you see candy for that impulsive quick snack. In China chicken feet are hanging next to the register for sale as a snack.
People in China shop at open air markets as much as they do at grocery stores. The markets in China were a chance for me to see birds for sale in person, and it was fascinating. They were a mixture of what we would call a farmers market, a butcher shop, a poultry swap, a flea market, an aquarium shop and more.
The vendors were not separated or different kinds of items sold by separate people. One man had vegetables, many different kinds of fish, frogs, snakes and alligators, and eggs, chickens and more.
At the market there was one place that had poultry for sale in more quantity than others. Their ducks were kind of between a Rouen Duck and a Mallard Duck. The geese were somewhere in between a Chinese goose and an African goose. Their Pekins were about the same size.
They had some white pigeons and coturnix quail that they were keeping in industrial pet cages. This vendor at that stall in the market started to get angry with me for taking pictures and studying the situation. I was obviously not going to buy them but I was enjoying myself so much. Part of me wanted to pay him so that I could take pictures and stuff.
At the entire market there was nothing refrigerated. There was fresh meat all over the place. If you wanted something you pointed to it, agreed on a price and they would start butchering it for you. I remember specifically one vendor that had cartons of cracked eggs for sale. I hope she wanted a lower price for those than what she wanted for the rest! But these were cracked eggs unrefrigerated in an open air market not far from the tub of frogs, pen of goats, fish tanks, and more. It seemed really unsanitary!
There was a billboard at the market with a chicken, pig, duck, goose, pigeon, quail, dog, cat, and goat for sale with a phone number. They would deliver the live animal to your home for you to process and have for supper.
It was really interesting to see the differences between poultry in China and poultry in the US. There was far more open air poultry raising, it was raised, butchered, sold and consumed differently. In some ways it was easy to see that the traditions regarding poultry were much less modern in China than in the US.
I am grateful for having had the experience of travel to China. I want to thank you for reading about my travels. I want to thank my parents for allowing me to travel with mom. My brother Darren and his wife Eva (Chen Ming) for being our gracious hosts and tour guides, Eva’s family for opening their city home and their country home to us, and to Ruth for allowing me to be half a world apart from her.