How China made me FAT!
So I’ve recently put on a few pounds of weight, nothing major, but I am definitely fatter. How do I know this? Well its not because I’m struggling to fit into my clothes or because my non-existent scales have told me so. Alas… I know because every time I see my Chinese friends or post a photo of myself on Wechat I get asked the same old question, “最近你胖了吗？” (zuì jìn nǐ pàng le ma?) Which means, “Have you gotten fat recently?” Which is a Chinese way of rhetorically telling you that you have indeed become rather fat. To those who don’t know China that well my advice is to not get too upset by this. Unlike the West, telling someone they have gotten fatter isn’t actually that offensive as long as you use the right terminology. You are in no way obligated to believe me but trust me when I say it can sometimes be seen as a compliment as it implies that a person cares enough about another person (in this case me) to notice a difference in their appearance whether positive or well…. Not.
So then, what is to blame then for my abrupt weight gain? I won’t make excuses, it’s entirely my laziness coupled with my new found discovery of the APP called ‘饿了么’ (è le má). This handy little APP which literally translates to mean ‘hungry!” makes eating in China ridiculously easy and in many ways cheaper too.
To use 饿了么 you just download it from whatever APP store your phone uses, sign up using either via Wechat or using a phone number. Once you have an account you just search for whatever kind of food you fancy, pick a restaurant or a business which sells said food / drink item and voila, it miraculously arrives at your house a few minutes later.
In terms of payment, you can opt to pay the deliveryman upon the arrival of your lovely food or you can pay electronically via the use of Alipay or wechat wallet. Doing this is preferred as it often gives you a discount. Today I ordered breakfast for my roommate and myself. I chose a spinach and egg pancake, he opted for some dumplings, totaling ¥20 rmb, but because I paid online I was given an ¥6 discount meaning I paid just ¥14, which divided by two means I just paid ¥7 for something that would normally cost me around ¥10-12 rmb if I paid for it in a shop. I call that a clear ‘win’!
How do you know that the food you order will be tasty? Well, nothings ever for certain, but the APP allows people to rate the restaurant and food based on its taste and service. So you can either be a sheep and follow the ‘popular picks’, or be adventurous and pick something unreviewed hoping for a hidden gem!
Of course there are some down sides to my newly found electronic best friend. Firstly, 饿了么 has allowed the lazy aspect of personality to essentially run my life. You know you are in trouble when you can’t be bothered to get out of bed and walk 5 metres to the kitchen in order to make a morning coffee so you just order one of the Internet and wait for it to turn up.
Still, if you are able to strike the right balance between convenience and laziness then you will be able to harness some of the other positive uses of 饿了么 bar the tasty food.
Seeing as this APP is only available in Chinese it takes a lot of bravery to sign up to it and use it properly but it does really improve your Chinese character reading ability if you have the patience with it.
Right! All this talk of Chinese food is making me hungry! I should probably go out and get some food...
Written By Andrew Cole - CSA Student Liaison Officer
Andrew needs to get down to the gym a bit more often!