1.08.2017

A Grocery List to End All Grocery Lists

a list of groceries in Chinese, via wiki.prov.vic.gov.au
Lotus root (img: John Vena Produce)
Sweet Osmanthus Wine (img: Yoycart)
Pork belly (img: Highland Farms)













From pp. 85-86 of Jia Pingwa's novel Ruined City (trans. Howard Goldblatt):
Niu Yueqing did not return that afternoon and was still out at nightfall. Around ten, someone came to the compound with a message: Old Mrs. Wang had insisted that she stay the night to play mahjong, so she was returning the favor by inviting Old Mrs. Wang and Wang Simian's wife over the following day. They had both accepted the invitation.

"Am I expected to do the grocery shopping tomorrow morning?" Zhuang asked.

"That's what she said." The man handed him a shopping list.
Zhuang read the list: two catties* of pork, one cattle of spare ribs, a carp, a tortoise, half a cattie of squid, half a cattie of sea cucumber, three catties of lotus roots, two catties of chives, one cattle of bean pods, one cattle of cowpeas**, two catties of tomatoes, two catties of eggplant, two catties of fresh mushrooms, three catties of thick osmanthus*** liquor, seven bottle of Sprite, three catties of tofu, a half cattie each of some Korean side dishes, two catties of mutton, one cattie of cured beef, five preserved eggs, one roasted chicken, one roasted duck, half a cattie each of cooked pork liver, pork belly, and smoked sausage. Also, he needed to bring from the Shuangren fu house a bottle of Wuliangye****, ten bottles of beer, a pack of peanuts, dried mushrooms and wood ear, a bowl of sticky rice, a sack of red dates, and a handful of rice noodles. In addition, he had to buy a can of peas, an can of bamboo shoots, a can of cherries, a cattle of sausage, two catties of cucumbers, one ounce of thin seaweed, and three ounces of lotus seeds. 
"What a pain," Zhuang said.
Jia Pingwa at work, via mychinesebooks.com
* Chinese measure of weight equal to approximately 500 grams, or slightly more than one pound
** otherwise known as "black-eyed beans"
*** sweet, flowering olive tree, also known as "devilwood"
**** literally "Five Grains Liquid," according to Wikipedia, made from millet, maize glutinous rice, long-grain rice, and wheat using a formula created in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE)

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