The Answer to Living with Mister ButterFingers
Patch’s nickname is Butterfingers. The last 2 things he broke were the chinese ceramic soup spoons. Last time I went to restock my cutlery, I bought an extra one just in case he breaks one. Since he broke a second one of the same collection, that means it’s time for a visit to the warehouse (see what I did there?).
I have 2 requirements when I buy porcelain ware – one is a gloss finish because scraping a metal utensil on unfinished ceramic (think Ikea) sends chills down my spine and the other one is that it can’t have a rough mole on it. What I mean is that cheap ceremic has this unfinished spot which sticks out, you will definitely find these on cutlery in some chinese restaurants.
I buy my chinese ceramics from China Pottery Trading. It’s over the Knight bridge west of Ikea on Bridgeport. Once you arrive and walk in the front doors, there’s no one to greet you, there’s no counter and just a couple of closed doors and a hallway. Go through the hallway and it will lead you directly to a warehouse where you may see a couple of ppl working on packing boxes or moving pallets. Just walk in like you know where you are going, even if you don’t. It’s better to wander than stopping someone for directions because you will only get a weird look! These guys are warehouse workers or accountants, not sales people.When I brought Patch here for the first time, he was memserized by the pots and woks. They sell REAL steel/iron woks, not woks for non-asians that would would find in a department store. T-Fal dots and non-stick is non-existent in an authentic chinese kitchen! Real woks have better ‘fire’ to seal in the flavour, if that makes any sense. Anyway, it’s hard to explain so let’s move on.
They sell all sorts of utensils and plateware from cheap to not-so-cheap. 🙂 Their main customers are restaurants so anything you see in restaurants, you can probably find here. This is not limited to tableware. You will find a “Fortune Cat”, statues of chinese gods (guan goong), decor in red and words of fortune (fook) and lots of miscellaneous things. They also sell hot pots and stove. Patch is planning to get a super big pot one day to get his signature chili and my taro tapioca in. I’m waiting to get a new stove so I can buy a big wok in. Then it’s Dai Wok La!
I noticed that recently they started selling Japanese style bowls as well with designs very similar to the store in Aberdeen that sells Japanese wares… but cheaper.
Since Patch broke my soup spoons, I had to go back to get a matching one. I don’t like having an odd number of utensils! You can basically find any design that you’ve seen at a chinese restaurant from plain to delicate artwork.
There’s no salespeople as it’s not a retail store since walk-ins are not that common. When it’s time to pay, you may need to yell out “Sau Cheen!” (collect money) and someone will either come to collect the money and put it in a bowl or yell back to leave it on the table. There’s no cash register. When someone comes to collect money, occasionally, they just round down so avoid change. Last time I bought $22 worth of bowls, the guy just took $20. Cash only.
Once you’ve been here, you will not buy your ware at supermarkets like T&T. You will figure out what the mark ups are like.
I really like the bowl on the left. It’s light (but that also means it breaks easily) with a thin edge so I can easily scoop the rice without having too much bowl in my mouth. haha. The bowl on the right was part of their Japanese stock (they also carry the ugly red/black bowls that most Japanese restaurants use) but I had to get this one because it was the perfect size for soup noodles. 😉 This comes in 4 or 5 sizes (mine is medium).
The turned spoon on the right is a cheap one bought years ago. Can you see the moles I was talking about? It sticks out and makes the surface rough.
Note – they have a website but it shows a small portion of what they actually sell. The stuff on the website looks like it’s more of the traditional ware you see at restaurants.