My coworker Christina asked me yesterday why I would walk past the supermarket to get fruit at a street stand. I think I said something about it being more Chinese, but I didn’t really have an answer.
Yes, the fruit carts are a little less expensive, and the prices becomes cheaper and cheaper as the laowai prices come down, but I don’t know if that’s the reason to walk the extra block. The fruit is a little fresher… again, it’s not really a big difference.
Ihe main reason is that my Chinese is terrible. The guy who’s sitting outside all day with his bikecart full of grapes has a lot more time to deal with my bad pronunciation than the hourly supermarket cashier. (Sometimes they like to use this free time to bargain, which is kind of like a test of how fast I can count backwards in Chinese.) The cashier doesn’t care if she makes the sale or not. But the bikecart guy, or popcorn girl, or any other street vendor, has an interest in selling the product, so they really will go out of their way to try to understand the disjointed phrases that I call Chinese.