What the Chinese Tourists Were Buying at the Supermarket
Yesterday I was in the checkout line at a supermarket near several hotels, waiting behind a group of around 8 Asian tourists.
“You are from China?” I asked the woman wearing a colorful blouse in front of me.
“Yes, from Shanghai!” she answered in a booming voice.
And then I looked down and noticed she was holding a large box of Israeli tea.
And then I looked at her compatriots and saw that the woman in the colorful blouse was not alone. Most of them were also holding packages of Wissotsky black tea, the huge green box with 100 teabags. Some of them were even holding two.
Strange, I thought. Is there not enough tea in China that they need to buy tea in Israel to bring back home?
So I leaned over to the cashier. “Tell me, do Chinese people often buy tea here?”
“Yes,” he told me, with a bewildered smile, “Chinese tourists always buy tea. I don’t know why, believe me.”
This was getting stranger and stranger. So I turned to the woman in the colorful blouse, “Why do you buy tea in Israel? In China you have the best tea in the world!”
The woman nodded and giggled, and then turned to their group leader, who, it seemed, was the only group member who spoke English well enough to answer me.
He turned to me a with friendly smile, “In China we have excellent tea, but we like Israeli tea because it is different. It is,” he said with a sparkle in his eye, “special!”
So there you have it. Israel is known around the world for many things. For our missile defense systems. For our remarkably successful startups. For our juicy oranges and delicious felafel.
And, it turns out, Israelis also make world-class tea. At least the Chinese think so, and they should know:)