If you’re even the tiniest bit Chinese, there are Chinese traditions you can’t escape: Chinese New Year, the Mooncake Festival, birthday noodles, or even fireworks. Whether or not you follow these traditions, there may be some things of Chinese origins that you still find useful in your daily life.
Here are some things that even non-traditional Chinoys may find helpful:
Pei Pa Koa
The medicinestaple in any Chinese household coats the throat in a sticky, sweet syrup that warms and cools at the same time. Any soreness that you may have been experiencing is immediately banished when you take a tablespoon of this cough remedy. It’s a treatment that’s even used by people of non-Chinese descent, and we can’t blame them.This medicine is the embodiment of Mary Poppins’ advice: “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way.”
Have a headache? A migraine? Maybe a bad scent is in the air that you want to mask? There’s a pretty high chance you’ll whip out your handy dandy glass flask of White Flower. The mint and lavender ointment is a cure-all in the Philippines, being rubbed onto bug bites, muscle aches and pains, and anywhere there’s soreness.
The balm “that works where it hurts.” The warm herbal salve is the Chinese counterpart of Vicks. It’s typically rubbed on your chest and back when you have a cough, a cold, or on any areas that are prone to cramps or feeling fatigued. The iconic tiger and hexagonal glass tin may feel familiar in your hands. The weight of it probably having given you a bruise or two when you accidentally dropped it. Nonetheless, the silky formula calms irritation and itchiness, and the special herbs deliver a soothing sensation and relief.
This trusty kitchen cooking tool is a staple in Philippine kitchens and for good reason! It’s large enough so you can throw in all your ingredients with no issue. It’s easy to maneuver with its rounded bottom. It’s the equipment of choice for one ‘pot’ recipes — adobo or sweet and sour pork, dinuguan or tausi chicken feet. Even your favorite fried rice recipe will be cooked to perfection in the trusty wok. The trusty wok can handle it all! And woks only get better with age. Much like a cast iron pan, good woks are meant to be seasoned with salt and peppercorns, maybe even anise!
Dark, light, or low sodium. Whichever version of the beloved soy sauce is your favorite, no Asian household is complete without a bottle of the magic elixir that we put in almost everything. It works as a dip, as an ingredient, even as a drink if you’re brave enough. Made of fermented soybean paste, roasted grains, brine, and koji molds, the traditional sauce makes almost everything a little better.
When I was younger, I would eat mango and rice drizzled with a little bit of soy sauce for meals. Don’t laugh at me — it’s like a really lazily made California Maki. My parents hated it, but hey, at least I was eating Go and Glow food. (I was not a short child so they were not really worried about my lack of Grow food intake.) Soy sauce appeals to the palates of people of all ages that it’s no wonder they sell 2qt containers of it in supermarkets.
The challenge for every person that did not grow up in a traditional Chinese household: the chopsticks. With the rise in popularity in Asian cuisine, even non-traditional Chinese people appreciate and use chopsticks. For eating sushi, dimsum, or samgyupsal, using chopsticks is a skill that more and more people are learning and perfecting. Virtually gone are the days when they’d spear a piece of meat with a chopstick and smile triumphantly, jokingly proclaiming they’ve mastered the skill. But to truly proclaim the mastery of the chopstick, you must be able to pick up a single grain of dry rice.
Silk is one of the most expensive fabrics, and one of the most ancient luxury fabrics. Spun from the threads of special worms, the textile is over 8,000 years old. It’s used for cheongsams and dresses for formal occasions and upholstery and bedding, if you’ve got the budget. The fabric is a symbol of wealth in Chinese history, and with the extensive process that goes into getting a yard of the gorgeous cloth made, it could only really be afforded by the rich. There are more affordable versions of silk now, but the really good silk fabrics will still cost you a pretty penny.
This one, I’m sure you use on a daily basis. Paper was created in Ancient China, during the Han Dynasty. We don’t have to tell you how important paper is in our daily lives, in our academic, professional, and even recreational life. Paper is a constant, and while there are efforts to lessen paper production for the good of the environment, the chances are slim to none that we will see a total stop in paper usage in our lifetime. Both non-traditional and traditional Chinoys can see the value of paper, in fact the whole world does.
That closes out our list, are there any traditional Chinoy things that you think non-traditional Chinoys find useful? Tell us because we would love to know!
If you enjoyed this article, you might like to see if these 12 Relatable Moments Chinoys Have DEFINITELY Experienced are things you can actually relate to.