When travelling here in China it is immediately noticeable that locals tend to spit anywhere and anytime. Apart from it being really unhygenic it is a common custom practiced allover. The pollution being extremely bad from motor vehicles and northern dust storms it doesn't take long to suffer from its affects. The constant sounds of locals clearing their throats and noses takes a bit of getting used to. Apparently this is a common practice and the local authorites are doing their best to alleviate the problem with signs now asking people not to spit!! These are a legacy from the Olympic games I was told. So be careful where you walk...I even saw a man spitting on the train..!!!
If you are a traveler who is going to join a tour I am not worried about you because I know you will have your fixed meals settled beforehand. Besides, your chances to buy something to eat will be few because you won't have any freedom at all to be fooling around, specially in Beijing where the tour guides won't let you wander by yourself.
If you are an independent traveler, yes, I am a little worried, however, I will share with you only two rules of thumb.
First, if you are hungry and you want to eat stick to hot stuff, don't buy cold food.
Second, check the place where you want to eat. Are there any customers inside? Well, if there is nobody it might be because the food there is not that good, so, nobody comes.
Never judge things by its appearance, especially in Beijing. You might find a very charming and well decorated restaurant to eat but the food turns out to be simply terrible.
On the other hand, there are hundreds of small family-run cubicles that offer some of the best food of Beijing. Many foreigners are afraid to enter these places because customers are only locals and the places themselves are kind of worn-out. However, if there are lots of people inside and you even have to queue, then, I will assure you that the food must be great.
Finally, you do keep in mind two things.
- Always stick to hot food.
- Eat in places that have lots of customers.
P.S. Buying cakes won't be a major concern, but once again, remember, buy them in places that are popular and you see lots of people inside buying. Avoid buying creamy coloured pastry.
Business is fierce and there are lots of people out there eager to make big money, the quicker the better, about consumer safety who cares? If those unscrupulous are caught I have no doubts that the Chinese inspectors and the police will be tough on them. If they are not caught, well, it must be you the one who has to be careful.
Buying products in the large supermarkets will be safer. However, do remember, when buying any stuff check first the expiry date, then the pack's appearance, its color, well, if you feel something strange about it just don't buy it, go to the next supermarket.
By the way, pay attention if the expiry date is a small sticker, if so you then be careful because it might be overlapped on the "really" expiry date.
Be warned that the tap water in Beijing is not good for drinking. Contains quite a bit of colioform bacteria which give you a bad stomach. You may ask what about all the 13 million locals? Now, they don't drink cold water, they boil it before putting it to their lips, even if they don't put green tea leaves in it.
In upmarket hotel rooms they provide you with bottled water for your teeth brushing and as anight cap.
Don't say I didn't tell you!
"SARS" is an infestious disease that is caused by virus and other unknow microorganisms.It is preventable and curable.
in Beijing , China, Aisa , & all over the world has it, The key poin to control "SARS" is earlier prevention,identification,diagnosis&treatment.
**if u have got fever,cough,and doubt to be infected with "SARS" during u travel Peking,pls don't heistate to make the decision in a hospital if u should see a doctor.
I did not get any shots or anything before I went. Everyone else in my party was a lot smarter. Hepatitis is not fun, or so I have heard, so plan ahead and get the shots. It may require a few months to take full effect and may require a few inoculations. I ate streetfood and did all kinds of other stupid things without contracting anything that I know of, but do be careful. Apart from that I felt that the areas I visited were fine, mostly cities, Beijing and Xian. May be a lot different in the country side.
In more expensive restaurants you will be given the ornate plastic chopsticks which will have been washed in some way but, I never use them. In regular restaurants you will get a wooden pair which will be joined together and you must break them apart to eat with them. NEVER use single wooden chopsticks, wood chopsticks are for one use only and the reason you have to break the pair is to ensure that they have not been used before. Check out the Oriental Food site for more info.
Watch out for 'homemade ice cream' in the summer. It will have been watered down and refrozen. Ice lollies can also be just local water with colouring etc. Walls Ice cream operates in China so you'll find a number of shops selling Cornettos etc.
Some of the 'bottled water' appeared to be suspect. I bought a couple of bottles, but saw that there was some rust resting inside the bottom of one bottle and the other bottle had a half-inch long wood chip floating in it! Definitely drink ONLY bottled water, but even then inspect it carefully before drinking.
Hot pot is “a traditional Chinese dining” according to one of my Asian friends. However, when you are served the raw meat and vegetables, make sure that you boil it really well. (Longer than you think you need to--in order to avoid food poisoning, diarrhea, etc.). An after-dinner massage is the best part!