couple questions re: travel in China (alcohol & gifts)

My partner and 12-year-old stepdaughter are traveling to China on a school trip at the end of next week (we’re from the U.S.).

They’ll be staying with a host family in Suzhou for part of the time and are interested in taking a smallish gift, but want it to be something that would be appreciated…my partner is thinking some type of alcohol for the adults; something trinket-y for the kid. Any thought on what types of alcohol would be most appreciated/unusual?

Also, the s.o. would love to know whether there are any specialty drinks she should try while she’s there…potency of the alcohol or unusual components aren’t a factor. They’ll be in Suzhou, Beijing and Shanghai while there.

um, most Chinese would appreciate Remy Martin XO in a cheesy bottle that screams nouveau riche. :slight_smile:

If you don’t want to drop and couple of hundred bucks on some pretenious cognac, then I would suggest bringing something local. Not sure where you are from but a bottle of decent local wine. If you’re from Tennesse then maybe a bottle of local burbon. Your local hosts would probably appreciate anything that you bring considered from your home town.

Specialty drinks. In the Suzhou/Shanghai area, definately try the Shaoxing Wine( 绍兴酒). It’s a rice wine fermented in big ceramic jugs buried underground for 12 years or so. it’s not for everyone but it is the drink for the area. I can like this on occaison.

Beijing has multiple versions of “white lightning” “baijiu” (白酒). I think the Red Star brand “Erguotou” 红星 二锅头 is from Beijing. I think this stuff is nasty but YMMV.

When she’s in Shanghai, stop at CoCo’s and get a milk tea with brandy. Yummy.

I echo China Guy’s idea: Either go gaudy, or go guan xi. Personal connections always play for a lot in China. A nice local wine or spirit is a fine gift. If the label mentions your town/county name, all the better.

Or if you can’t find anything that really jumps out at you, get a bottle of Mou tai at the duty free shop in the airport.

More than nasty. Worst alcoholic drink I’ve ever had and I regret to say I’ve had Baijiu more than a few times.

If you’re a Costco shopper, go into the candy/snacks section and get one big bag of whatever. It will get shared out to the neighborhood and extended family.

Chinese beer can be tasty if you like light lager. Tsingtao (but only from the original brewery in Qingdao) was originally set up by German brewers and tastes like it. Get a can of Reeb (beer spelled backwards) in Shanghai to bring home as something fun. It’s mediocre but I love the name. There are local beers all over so in each city, ask to try the local stuff. It’s hit and miss but some is great and it’s all cheap.

If you are going to go down the baijiu route, buy expensive stuff. The cheap stuff can give you the nastiest hangover. The expensive stuff will as well but not as bad. I remember having a single shot of some really really really cheap ass baijiu in Changchun. It gave me the shakes for 2 days. I seriously thought I had been poisoned. I drink beer and only beer in China at banquets and other social occaisions as I really hate that baijiu stuff.

Thanks for the hints…I think she’s not going to try baijiu, but the milk tea with brandy and the Shaoxing wine sound awesome.
We thought of the candy aspect for the family and got them “fruit slice” candy this afternoon–we were trying to get something pre-packaged that would go through customs smoothly. We were also thinking an assortment of Jelly Bellys would be interesting for them.

Maryland isn’t really known for its wine but we definitely have a couple breweries (Flying Dog)…wonder what they would think of Old Bay seasoning?