Many locals experience a shock the first time they visit Liu Yang’s shop: they’ve never seen something quite like this before.
Some just pass by, merely peeking in the windows of his tiny, two room workshop.
“I think some people before they come by prepare themselves psychologically,” says Yang. “Maybe they’ll come back, maybe they won’t. We won’t get disappointed because of this. Most Chinese people are not used to cheese culture.”
Hello Kitty fans might be the world's most spoiled travelers as the tourism industry seems determined to build a complete service chain out of that five-apple-tall bobtail cat.
Taiwan's Eva Air flies a fleet of five Hello Kitty airplanes. Dubai houses a posh Hello Kitty spa. Anji, a county some 220 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, is building a $200 million Hello Kitty theme park (scheduled to open in 2014).
And in Beijing, a Hello Kitty-themed restaurant is creating a lot of buzz.
Editor's note: London-based cook, food writer and consultant Fuchsia Dunlop sits down with CNN to discuss her love affair with Sichuanese cuisine. Her responses have been edited for concision and flow.
CNN: What sparked your interest in Sichuanese cuisine?
I got very interested in China through a job subediting news reports about the east Asian region, particularly China. So I started Mandarin evening classes and went on holiday to China and was fascinated.
I'd been in Sichuan in 1993 when coming back from a holiday to Tibet and had an amazing lunch with some dishes I never forgot. I had looked up a Sichuanese musician whom I'd met in my hometown of Oxford, and he and his wife took me out. It was at a very modest little restaurant, but we had a delicious meal and ended up on the riverbank drinking jasmine tea at a teahouse. At that moment, I thought, I want to come back and live here.
Although it's the people from Guangdong province who have the reputation for eating just about anything, Shanghai foodies are no slouches.
You can find plenty of weird eats around the city that you might actually enjoy if you know where to look.
For this list we stayed away from the shock value - no sheep penis here - and sought out what locals are actually eating.
Beijing (CNN) - Chinese shoppers in Beijing and Shanghai cleared salt from supermarket shelves Thursday amid fears of a potential radiation crisis from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Government officials and experts attempted to calm fears by emphasizing that radiation levels in 41 cities across China remain normal.
Staff from multiple branches of the French supermarket chain Carrefour reported that their supplies of salt have been sold out since Thursday morning in Beijing.
A Shanghai branch reported the same.
Small, local and independently-run grocery stores in Beijing told CNN they have also run out of salt supplies for the first time in recent memory.
Read the full story "Chinese scramble to buy salt as radiation fears grow" on CNN Asia.
In Hong Kong, where factory space is stacked in skyscrapers, the 15th floor of an industrial block houses vast tanks in which thousands of rare fish swim under the eerie, purple glow of UV lights.
Normally found thousands of miles away on the reefs of the tropics, the coral grouper are being bred on land in one of the world's most densely populated metropolises to feed a local population that consumes 3.6 times the global average in seafood.
Sold live, fish like leopard coral grouper are highly valued in China, where ostentatious dining calls for expensive and attractive centerpieces for celebratory or business banquets - last week during the Lunar new Year a single fish could cost around $130.
But even the tons of fish swimming in the tanks of OceanEthix incongruous high rise facility can't sate a growing market for live reef fish in Hong Kong and mainland China that is worth around $1 billion each year.