In anticipation of the great photos and stories we hope to take from the Asian Design and Management conference (ADM), I am just going to briefly share our trip to the factory, rather than make a potentially long post even longer.
Before coming to the factory to learn about how Ganqishi cleans, cuts and cooks its fillings for the bao we have been making for the past few weeks, we ate dinner at a northwestern (dongbei) Chinese restaurant near our hotel.
We selected pork, veggies, and noodles, all served with a tongue charring, mind bending mix of spices that left us sweating through the latter part of the meal. In addition to the spicy flavor that most westerners are familiar with (called ‘la’;辣), there is also another type (called ‘ma’; 麻）that commonly comes from black peppercorn, and numbs the mouth, providing a tingly, spicy feeling. The numbness actually allows you to eat more spicy food, but does nothing for the sweating, red face, or heartburn.
Yesterday morning we were able to tour the factory to observe the production of the bao fillings from sorting of the vegetables and cutting of the meat right through to packaging for delivery. It was all done in a backdrop of chrome metal by workers clad in white. At first glance you might be tempted to call it futuristic in comparison to the hand-made emphasis of the shops. However, spending a few minutes watching people sort and chop vegetables, stir curry and bean mixtures, and toss the Bok Choy by hand, I could already tell that the dedication to quality I had seen and become a part of in the shops was continued on up the line here in the factory.
For the first time since we arrived in China, Gerry and Jhonny’s paths have parted from my own. Jay is accompanying them both to ADM today, which means that Eva will have to put up with me for the next few days until I join them (she is also the one responsible for translating this blog into Chinese. Her patience is legendary). I think I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves today – Look for a post on ADM and my departure from China in the next few days!