To bing or not to bing

By Belle Taylor ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-07-25 07:34:20

To bing or not to bing
Iowa expat finds China connection
To bing or not to bing
Excuse me, while I check my phone
A few weeks after arriving in China I received an e-mail from the human resources department of my Chinese employer that had been sent to all the foreign staff. The e-mail informed us how to look after ourselves in summer, including a stern warning not to eat cold foods.

Why were cold foods verboten? My first guess was that the food could spoil in the heat, but that wasn't it. According to traditional Chinese medical beliefs, cold food should be avoided in summer in case one catches a "summer disease", which sounds to me a bit like a cocktail you might drink at a pool party.

Not long after receiving that mail, my language teacher asked me what temperature beer should be drunk in winter. "Bing?" I ventured, meaning ice. It was a new word in my vocabulary. She smiled and nodded. "And in summer you would drink...?" "Bing!" I replied, feeling pretty pleased with myself. I was really getting the hang of this bing business.

She shook her head. "No, bing means ice. In summer you drink room temperature beer."

"Um, no, beer is always drunk cold," I said. "Trust me, I'm Australian."

She was mortified.

"You mean, you drink cold drinks in summer?"

"Well, yes."

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