Expensive Spring Festival gifts
Updated: 2012-01-28 07:21
By Guo Nei (China Daily)
Spring Festival is a traditional time when Chinese people give each other presents. Those presents can be very ordinary or can be exhausted. It could be a box of chocolate or even a computer. Here we look at some of the more expensive choices.
298 yuan ($47) steamed bun gift box
Wugufengdeng, which means a bumper grain harvest, is the name given to the least expensive gift box of steamed buns offered by a first class restaurant in Taiyuan, Shanxi province. It contains 8 small packages of steamed buns, each given an auspicious title according to its shape. For example, buns shaped like a rabbit (tu in Chinese) are hongtudazhan, which means creating big and bright hopes. Those that look like fish (yu in Chinese) are niannianyouyu, which means having more than necessary. Buns shaped like the Chinese character for peace are wufuzengshou, meaning longevity. Each type of the bun is made from different grains to appear more tantalizing and colorful. Unlike ordinary buns, they are handmade by local pastry chefs, cooked in traditional large steaming boilers, using milk, eggs, honey and spring water. Despite the high price compared with 0.5 to 1 yuan for an ordinary bun, the gift boxes sell well among businessmen who traditionally send gifts to customers during Spring Festival.
168,000 yuan liquor
Stored in an exquisite crockery jar, the 168,000 yuan Wuliangye liquor, known as "five grains liquid", caught the eyes of visitors at the 16th Chinese Sichuan Spring Festival Shopping Festival. As a typical heavy, fragrant Chinese wine, Wuliangye is described as "the magic liquor of China" and is eminent among today's spirits. Brewed using traditional techniques with sorghum, glutinous rice, ordinary rice, wheat and corn, it has a unique, lasting aroma, and a mellow and luscious taste. A regular bottle of Wuliangye costs 1,109 yuan. The highest grade costs 26,800 yuan so many consider the jarred one on display to be overwhelmingly expensive. The 70-degree supreme essence liquor comes with a certificate. It has risen 4,000 yuan in value over the last year. It is made and jarred in the ancient manner, which means its price and quality improve with age.
4,000 yuan basket of fruits
A supermarket in Tianjin is offering a 4,000-yuan fruit basket before the Chinese New Year. It contains dozens of exotic fruit, some of which have been imported to China for the first time. They include Japanese late pomelo at 698 yuan ($110) each, the Japanese Tsukikou orange at 74.5 yuan each and Australian honeydew melon at 274 yuan each. Much attention has been paid to the wrapping and decoration. Each fruit is individually encased in a delicate wrapper and then arranged in an exquisite dark-brown lacquer basket.
1,998 yuan/kilogram jujube
Chinese jujube, or red date, is known throughout the country for its ability to enrich the blood and encourage vitality, especially in women. Since winter is the ideal season for people to eat tonics according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, the dried fruit is extremely popular during Spring Festival. Although Chinese jujube can vary a lot in price because of flavor and size, the Royal Tribute is far more expensive than another supreme Xinjiang type that normally costs around 100 yuan a kilogram. The Royal Tribute jujube is uniquely sold in an ornate blue and white porcelain jar, which distinguishes it from other gift containers. It has a thin skin, rich pulp and nice palate.
Xu Wan contributed to this story.
(China Daily 01/28/2012 page7)