Is There Hygiene In China?

Yes. But maybe only in one cafe where you are supposed to eat your wrap with a plastic glove. One morning I saw something different when biking through the local market.

If you have a big piece of meat and you want to break it to pieces, what do you do? Of course you throw it to the ground as many times needed to get nice smaller pieces. Oh, did the neighbourhood dog his business to the same spot? Well, that’s not a problem at all, it just gives it a bit more flavour.

It is ok that there is no paper in the public toilets because it is easy to carry with you. But am I supposed to have my own soap as well? Well, I have to admit that after a long day of shopping I have been to one fast food place easting fries and happily forgot that I’ve just  gathered a ton of new bacteria.

There is no need to be over hygienic but where is the limit?

  • SAM

    well… i think there is different standard about hygiene between China and western countries. I have been eating out a lot when I am in Beijing,So far i am OK…. Regarding toilet in CHina, it is one of the most annying thing to me. People dont flush the toilet, no toliet papers…..I am still trying to understand why are they using squat toilet…..

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  • It’s quite funny to read your stories – since I as an ex-expat have been thru the same topics and issues – even w the hospital, although in my case it wasn’t burns… I will never ever be abel to trust a Chinese doctor anymore, not even back here in Europe. But fortunately most of you blogs make me laugh, or at least smile, when I think of the annoyances trying to get used to the Chinese way of thinking and doing. Not easy. And still I fell totally in love w China! We visited recently on vacation and had the greatest time – even though the smae things were still annoying me and driving me nuts :)

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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  • Sara

    Sam, Yes the standards seems to be very different. I’ve been eating street food too and had no problems. Maybe it is better that I don’t know how the food is done or storaged in what conditions. Better to not know too much. Squat toilet is ok for me, but not flushing is absolutely disgusting.

    Mervi, Thank you for commenting and for your kind words. It seems that we all have some kinds of experiences in China. And I have to say the same, I love China too even it sometimes drives me crazy :)

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  • Autumn

    I’m sorry to hear about this.But I hope you can enjoy your time in China,and forget annoying things.
    I was busy lately.But when I have time,I will go to see your blog,and “listen” to your experience~

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  • Sara

    Autumn, Don’t worry, I’m enjoyning my life in China very much. But many things are really different in here than in Finland. So it’s nice to share those things with you and here about others’ experiences. I’m so happy that you are reading and commenting my blog so often.

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  • lj

    i know everything about it,and yes ,its really different between western and China.you know ,education in china is far behind from western,especially the middle-age.they dont have a strong minds about the hygiene.they have get used to it,to this lifestyle.and i really hate about not flushing the toilet,it is really disgusting.some of home come from the country.they even dont know if the street food is save or not.they just want to full up.when i were a child ,i dont care about it sa well ,but i do now.maybe it lead to a cancer or toxicosis.’cause i have read something about this food, but they didnt.maybe 10years later or even longer,that will be developed.and about Squat toilet,that is chinese habit from thousands of years ago,but maybe it will changed day by day. when the economy developed ,maybe everything will change

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  • Sara

    LJ, Thank you for commenting! I have to say that I usually enjoy street food without thinking and atleast since now haven’t have any problems. But if I would know how they handle the food before I eat, I couldn’t maybe eat anything here.

    I’m not sure is the squat toilet thing going to change. I’ve seen wealthy homes, but they still prefer to have the traditional toilet.

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  • Kurt

    Using squat toilets does not involve any contact between the buttocks and thighs with a potentially unsanitary surface.I think if you use a public Toilet in China,squat toilet is a better choice.But more and more chinese family prefer to have the sit toilet at home.My parents’ home have had sit toilet since 14 years before.

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  • Sara

    Kurt, I totally agree with you. If it’s a dirty bathroom, and it usually is, then squat toilet is much better.

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  • josh

    jusy buy some hand wipes and take a few in your back pocket

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  • Beth

    I like the lack of hygiene but I am a self-confessed slob. Haha. There is too much hygiene where I’m from (and yes, my parents think I’m disgusting because of it).
    But it’s something you’ll be totally used to after a couple of more years. ;)

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  • Sara

    Josh, Those sanitary wipes are really handy.

    Beth, I think that being too hygienic is bad for your health. You should get some bacterias in order to keep your immunite system working well. In Finland we say that kids should lick their shoe’s bottoms every day :)

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  • josh

    hahaha
    ive begun brushing my teeth with the water here (ive been here maybe 10 weeks) and i think im getting used to it. I feel a little under the weather a few days a week but im not sure why, could be the CLEAN air, the water, the cold (not used to cold weather) or some combination of all of these.
    Amazing in China how amway is legit but back home in the US people dont like it!

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  • Sara

    Josh, I always wash my teeth with the tap water and never had any problems. But still I wouldn’t never drink it without boiling it.

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  • josh

    hmmmmmmmmm
    maybe i just need to eat a little healthier then or exercise more, because ive been feeling a little sick a few days a week, and i know a few other teachers around here are dealing with the same thing

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  • Sara

    Josh, Different people have or don’t have different health problems when coming to China. It may take time to get used to the bacteria here. Maybe this forum discussion interests you: http://goo.gl/L7e1W

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  • No matter how careful I am, I usually get sick at least once whenever I visit China. Once I think it was because of raw horsemeat.

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  • Sara

    Mike, So sorry to hear that. After all this discussion I think I should be grateful that I haven’t got sick from the food.

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  • I don’t really mind the being sick part, traveling is about the whole experience, not just the good parts.

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