In the time leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, the
authentic Beijing accent becomes thicker than ever in the
ancient Chinese capital.
“Ice cream ‘n’ snowing jelly – you get more ‘n’ pay less
– have a try, o yeah, please, …” (“冰激凌来雪花的酪，贱卖多盛您就尝口呃，……”)
the sound of street vendors peddling (吆喝) along the residential
alleyways of Beijing hutongs have
echoed back from the past and are once again heard. A few
days ago, as part of a series of events marking the 500-day
countdown to the Olympics, 72-year-old Wu Rongzhang (武荣璋)
made false advertising in a Beijing bookstore, peddling
in a time-honoured way to a cheering crowd almost everything
The people of Beijing are known as the most humorous and
eloquent among Chinese, and Beijing vendors peddling are
reputed as the most appealing and entertaining in China.
In fact, it is more of singing than shouting. When advertising
candied haws on a stick (冰糖葫芦), for instance, the traditional
Beijing vendor would add a few melodic notes to fine tune
his promotion campaign: 冰糖儿多呀哎! Candied haws – arh - so
many haws – yarh – hie!
A typical Beijing peddling was often accompanied by an
audio instrument, and the instruments used by the vendors
varied depending on the goods or the service they were
selling. A tofu vendor would enlist the aid of a wooden
clapper (木梆子) for a measured rhythm, but a grocery seller
preferred the rowdy expression of a rattle drum (拨浪鼓).
Those advertising pea cakes liked to beat a small gong,
while the ones promoting juices or dry fruits would strike
on copper bowls (冰盏). And if the sound was produced by
a pair of wooden plates hitting each other, it was an announcement
of the arrival of a foot therapist; and if you heard somebody
knocking a bamboo cane on the ground, you knew a blind
fortune teller was approaching.
Traditional Chinese way of living is one of those that
are most conscious of the rhythms in the natural environment.
To the ancient Chinese, it was important that the food
they ate, the activities they took and even the books they
read were consistent with the flow of time of the day and
season in the year. Thus was the way the goods and service
sold by the street vendors. In the old
days, many Beijing housewives would use the peddling
from the streets to regulate their daily-living routines.
The peddling sound in the deep of Beijing hutongs was
in a way like the pounding pulse of the city.
The following are some best-known peddling of the street
vendors in the old Beijing:
All Season Breakfast:
油炸鬼, 烧饼 Twisted crispy fry sticks and baked pie:
Hot big is frying devil! Sesame sauce for baked pie!
豆汁 Soya-bean milk:
Sweet ‘n’ sour–yeah–soya milk–hmm –hie!
烤白薯 Baked sweet potato：
Taste like roasted chestnut, warm and hot!
Lunch and Dinner:
肉包子 Meat-stuffed dumplings：
咸螺蛳 Salty spiral shelled water snail：
Cooked with authentic-har- five spices!
黄花鱼 Yellow croaker：
水萝卜 Summer radish：
Taste better than pears! ‘n’ if hot like chilly you just
return it to me!
All season drink:
The more tea you drink, the more luck you get!
酸梅汤 Sweet-sour plum juice：
Take a gulp, your mouth will be icy cold!
This melon, big as a basket!
扁桃 Flat peach：
Sister Three, she stamped flat a peach-hie!
鲜菱角 Fresh water chestnut：
Old water chestnuts, that are what I’m selling-hie!
甜桃 Sweet peach：
Peaches so sweet-yeah!
煮豌豆 Boiled peas:
Hie peas! Lar-heaps!
芸豆饼 Kidney bean pie:
If you buy jujubes-yeah, remember to try 'em first-hie!
老玉米 Old sweet corn:
I’ll give you a tender one!
江米糖糕 Sugar-coated sticky-rice cake:
Sticky rice–yeah sweet cake-hie!
元宵 Lantern Festival dumpling:
The Big bowl – of yuanxiao–har–hie!
太阳糕 Sun Cake：
Offer to Buddh-lee-hie!
New Year painting：
年糕坨 Chinese New Year rice cake：
Huge bulks of cakes-lar
江米小枣粽子 Reed-leave wrapped pyramid-shaped rice cake filled
with jujube (consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival that
has now become quite popular in Korea and other south east
What a huge zongzi-yeah-hie!
Homeware repairing service:
磨剪子，磨刀 Sharpen scissors and knives：
修伞 Repair umbrella:
Umbrellas for raining days – O – for sunny days!
Chinese medicine service:
拔火罐 Service of cupping glass：
小金鱼 Small goldfish：
Each bigger than three fishes bundled together-har!
You give me rubbish, I give you cash, yeah!
Han Chinese Clothing