A winter wander down memory lane

Updated: 2016-02-13 02:34

By Xu Xiaomin(China Daily USA)

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A winter wander down memory lane

Washing day: A man hangs clothes in the narrow alley between Shanghai lane houses.PHOTO BY GAO ERQIANG / china daily

In my memory, winter in Shanghai during the 1980s was marked by a popping sound and a sweet, warm scent.

The source of this was Shanghai-style popcorn, one of the few street snacks available at that time. It used to be a very popular treat that was only available in winter. Today, you would struggle to find this snack being sold on the streets.

The popcorn seller was a reticent man clad in an over-sized deep blue coat. His fingernails were as black as a coal miner’s. He would place rice or corn into a blackened ceramic pot before rolling it over the fire as me and other kids covered our ears and waited from a distance for the “explosions”. When the popcorn vendor opened the pot after a barrage of pops, puffy bits of snow-white rice rolled out. It was the taste of happiness.

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