What the Chinese Tourists Were Buying at the Supermarket

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:)


  1. They have extremely poor environmental protection in China, which affects the tea. My hubby is British i.e. drinks tea like water, and would not drink Chinese tea because of that. Israeli tea is probably much cleaner haha.

  2. Brings new meaning to “taking coal to Newcastle!”

  3. Batsheva

    I have a question do they have herbal teas without caffeine?

  4. I have been to China my son is teaching English to chinese high school students..
    The place is inbetween Shanhai & Hong Kong..
    I did not see the Israeli Tea ..they had other tea..
    Everything was extra clean and sanitized ..
    I was last there last year.

  5. Savta Ima

    Here’s the big irony in my mind, and someone who knows for sure please correct me if I’m wrong, but WHERE DOES WISSOTSKY GET THEIR TEA LEAVES??? Wouldn’t it be from the orient, even possibly China? I would say it’s most likely. I am not aware of tea as a crop in Israel. I think it’s being imported. That would make it extra funny. Many psychological studies have been made as to the fact that consumers tend to think something tastes better or different depending on the packaging, and sometimes on the brand name on the label. Just wondering…

    • JewishMom

      one of the members of the tour group said that tea in China is from China. Tea in England is from Africa. And tea in Israel is the true English tea! don’t know where it’s made, though, or whether he’s just referring to the style.

  6. Hadassah

    So weird and twisted. People go all over and buy souvenirs that are made in Taiwan or Hong Kong. The Chinese may like the tea from Israel because the packaging has Hebrew letters! And Jewish people like to go out to eat in Kosher restaurants that serve Chinese cuisine…..

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