Student - January 11, 2007

New shop brings China closer

A new food store opened in Wageningen this January. The small shop sells only Chinese food products, from tea, sweets and soy sauce to frozen meat and dumplings.

Ke Zheng in the new Chinese supermarket in Wageningen, in the background, the owner Dr Jiansheng Guan
At the end of the afternoon two Chinese students enter the store and choose things from the deep freeze. ‘These are slices of sheep meat that are rolled up, and this bag contains meat balls,’ explains Muynan Ma, who’s doing a master’s in Biotechnology. The translation is necessary as the information on the bags is in Chinese characters only. She and her boyfriend, fellow student Ke Zheng, are glad the store has opened. ‘Now it’s easier for us to get Chinese food products.’

Zhao Xzng, studying International agri-business management at Van Hall Larenstein Wageningen, is also happy about the new shop. ‘I saw a notice on the website of the Chinese students in the Netherlands and went to have a look. The products are good; they sell things like soy bean sauce, typical ingredients for seasoning dishes and green tea. It means I don’t have to go to the Chinese shop in Arnhem so often,’ she comments.

Feng Shuyi, a post-doctoral researcher at the Agricultural economics and rural policy group at Wageningen University, also finds the shop convenient. ‘For me it’s no problem to go to Arnhem, but a shop close by with basic stuff is certainly easy for students. I only miss fresh green leaf vegetables, which we use a lot in our cooking.’

That may be just a matter of time, says shop owner Jiansheng Guan. ‘If we get more customers, it’ll be profitable to start selling them.’ Jiansheng has lived in Wageningen for many years and speaks Dutch. He got his PhD here in Phytopathology fifteen years ago, specialising in fungicide resistance. But as use of pesticides started to decline he decided on a career change and went into trading. ‘I advise Dutch people who want to do business in China, and Chinese companies who are thinking about opening a Dutch office.’ Jiansheng started the shop in response to the growth of the Chinese community in Wageningen. ‘After all, they need food.’

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