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China Street Food
Everyone is shocked by the rising number of food scandals, but we keep eating from unlicensed street sellers. Spiced yangrouchuan's hazards haven't diminished its appeal.
In China, street food is an intrinsic component of the cuisine culture. A sizzling hot fritter from a street stand transports you back to an age when bus operators issued change and permitted boarding and alighting wherever. Despite Chengguan, food scandals, and harsher regulations, street food sellers remain.
Street food and vendors profiled
In China, street food is omnipresent. As the population grows more mobile, provincial expertise are becoming less distinct. Except for the French crepe-selling couple, most street vendors are migrants (although, of late, increased competition for nine-to-five jobs has resulted in a younger, more educated crowd trying their hand at business). It's their rice bowl.
Animal diseases and "overzealous" Chengguan officials threaten their company. The need to guard against dangers inspires ingenuity that surpasses Steve Jobs. Disease outbreaks like bird flu might lead a vendor to move from chicken to tofu overnight, and sellers are always one step ahead of the Chengguan in locating new stall places.
Since April, Beijing has regulated street food sales. Vendors must acquire permits and operate at set places and hours, enabling enforcement. Fines are 500 RMB. This might be good news for Chengguan sellers. In September, Shanghai enacted a similar legislation.
Authorities seem to be taking a "Supervise, don't prohibit" posture. With some manufacturers worried about the cost and application procedure for licenses, it's uncertain how successfully these regulations will be applied.
Chengguan is a powerhouse
Chengguan cannot be discussed without. Chengguan violence is as common as food scandals, with 13-year-olds and 70-year-olds as targets.
Chengguan's authority includes non-criminal administrative problems from parking to cleanliness, including supervising temporary street sellers. They defeated the PLA at Qingdao. Their absence of constitutional underpinning leads in members with criminal behavior. Extreme examples of extortion and violence culminate in bloodshed or death. Public compassion is understandably low. In other areas, like Shanghai, the Chengguan recruits volunteers to undertake the unpleasant job to avert riots. Street sellers have been accused of abusing or assaulting Chengguan before any conflict.
Chengguan's responsibility is confined to police street peddlers' locations, not food safety. If street vendor regulation is implemented, Chengguan and food safety must cooperate.
Who will win?
Most street sellers are disenfranchised and work under an imperfect system. Are they always helpless? Anyone who has smelled recycled oil while past a street stand may attest to this. A Chinese visitor was hospitalized in Beijing after eating rat poison on "lamb skewers." Street vendors may not intentionally sell foods with dubious origins, but they have little reason to check.
The fascination of Chinese street cuisine is incomprehensible, and sellers called Chengguan are unlikely to disappear soon. As this industry's legislation is still developing, buyer beware. Moderate your chive pancakes and fried dumplings. Choose booths near campuses with high turnover and selective customers. Locals say married couples' booths are more trustworthy since their goods sustain a family. Observe preparation and stall hygiene before purchasing. With these precautions, you may consume street food in most cases.