Tag Archives: Beidajie

Three Things at Emall Worldwide

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Emall Worldwide is an imported goods shop near the old Parksons complex on Beidajie Road. Honestly, it carries a lot of the same goods other import shops carry, but here are three products that make the place unique.

It carries cans of chickpeas and jars of beet root. Chickpeas are not always on the foreign goods shelves in many of the large, international supermarkets in Changzhou. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, it can be a staple food. I know it was for me during the many years I didn’t eat meat. Carrefour used to carry them, but all three of their locations shut down over the last year. I do see them at Auchan at times. The jarred beets are more of a unique find. The only other place in Changzhou — that I know of — is Metro.

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As for the third thing, I’m not sure having it in Changzhou is a good thing. Four Loko is one of the nastiest alcoholic drinks America has ever produced. It’s an alcopop — well, sort of. For those who have never heard this word before, it’s a recent coinage for a soft drink or soda that has alcohol in it. For example, Jack Daniel’s makes a premixed whiskey and cola. As for Four Loko, it’s like somebody noticed how many people like to mix Red Bull or Monster with vodka. So? They created a highly caffeinated energy drink that punches you in the face with 12% alcohol. It tastes absolutely disgusting. Even worse, it has actually killed a few people, and it became highly controversial in America. There were even lawmakers and protesters trying to get Four Loko banned. It faced a few lawsuits as well. Eventually, Phusion, the company producing the drink, agreed to stop making it. So, I don’t know what is sitting on Emall’s shelves. Is it leftovers from 2014? Is it being produced only for export to countries that don’t know any better? Is it a new beverage concocted under a different, less dangerous recipe? Honestly, I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m never going to buy it. I’m writing this more as a buyer beware.

America produces so many good beers and hard drinks. It’s a shame that Samuel Adams and other craft beers are not widely imported here. It reminds me of when I moved to Changzhou and went grocery shopping for the first time. I saw retail endcaps celebrating cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and started laughing hysterically. Many Americans hate that cheap, bargain-basement swill, but in China its exotic. Go figure.

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Fast Food Salad at Paris Baguette

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So, a friend of mine recently told me, with much excitement, that there was a new place to get ready-made sandwiches in downtown Changzhou. And since I like a good sandwich, I felt the need to check it out. The place turned out to be Paris Baguette, and while sounds extremely French, it’s actually a Korean chain that specializes in French style baked goods.

The place offers a lot of tempting sweet things in display cases. There is also an open-air refrigerated unit also showcases a variety of wrapped sandwiches and boxed salads. I opted for a sandwich and a salad. The sandwich — with sincere apologies to my friend — left me unimpressed. I just won’t get into it. The salad, on the other hand, was okay.

But let me qualify that “okay,” these salads are better than Starbucks. The city center has like six Starbucks, and all of them serve takeaway salads. Those usually seem relatively skimpy. For example, the pepper beef one his like two rubbery slices of meat and a lot of lettuce. At least, the last one of those I had was like that. Paris Baguette’s salads seemed a little bit better.

However, let’s be real for a moment. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, than these salads are simply not for you. The might just be another frustrating example of how Changzhou doesn’t have a lot to satisfy particular dietary needs. The one I had featured bits of shredded chicken and Chinese bacon. The other option had cheese in it. As for me, it’s just fast food salad on the go; and sometimes I find that appealing. It’s better option than McDonalds or Burger King when you do not have a lot of time.

As for the lackluster sandwich, I will return someday and try a different one. The location is selling-point convenient, however. It’s on Beidajie 北大街, near the Luqiao Market and the New Century department store. That means its across the Yanling Road from Nandajie.

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Bellahaus Presumed Dead

A Collection Notice?
A Collection Notice?

It’s hard to know the full story of how and why a restaurant goes out of business. From the point of view of a customer, you show up one day and the doors are locked and the place is dark. In Changzhou, this has happened numerous times: Aria, Jack’s Home, Bros Wings, and more. It seems people can now add Bellahaus to that list.

A friend of mine reported this to me the other day. Although I had some issues with the place, I largely liked Bellahaus and ate there frequently on Saturday afternoons. It was a place I often introduced friends to, because when it came down to it, I did like the food there and I wanted the place to succeed. And the times I did eat there, I saw a number of others in there, too. It seemed they were attracting customers. So, I went to go see the door for myself. I had already eaten lunch, but I had other business downtown and it was just a stop on the way. Sure enough, the place was locked with what looked like a collections notice pasted to the door.

In retrospect, maybe the signs of slipping were already there and I fully didn’t notice. Bellahaus didn’t have the problems or shortages that a place like Jack’s Home in Wujin had. However, two things began to happen regularly. When Bellahaus opened, service was prompt and swift. Towards the end, it seemly took forever to get something as simple as a salad. Portions also routinely fluctuated. One week, a friend would be served a large salmon salad, and the next, she would get something smaller. Side dishes to standard menu items also seemed to become randomized. One week, it would be grilled veggies and the next would be a simple lettuce salad. Week after that? Nothing.

There are rumors that the owners or the management will move on and start someplace new. But, then again, those are just unsubstantiated rumors. All I can go off is what I see. One of my favorite restaurants downtown– despite it’s flaws — is now gone. Time for me to find a replacement for my standard Saturday lunch.

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