a quick diversion for inspiration

I have a fascination with Chinese food packaging and I like walking pass the non-halal aisle in the supermarket. The bottles and tin cans—while possibly laced with minute traces of mercury, carry good doses of old world charm. Unlike most food packaging today (I love them but it doesn’t really inspire me), these designs come with spelling mistakes, strange translations and interesting color combinations. And it doesn’t even try to impress you or skim on character.

Here are some I found interesting in the kitchen.

Ok. Now, back to work.



  1. I have an obsession with packaging. I love wandering through the ethnic markets here. Very cool photos.

  2. loving those bold colors and fonts!
    just out of curiosity, do you actually try the contents of these cool bottles are jars?
    i’m often tempted to buy them just for the “look” and keep them on display.

  3. rachelchew

    Asha: Thanks. Over here, we don’t have “ethnic markets” but upscale markets with overpriced european and american goods :)

    Sekimachihato: Yes, I’ve tried some of them. I tend to stick to the ones with the right balance. They sometimes vary in extremes; the very addictive and the kind that conjures up an image of a very polluted Yangtze River with the food factory nearby.

  4. Ben

    If I am reading it correctly, the first label literally reads: “Mercury Spring Old Vinegar”…

    Just so you know :)

  5. rachelchew

    No kidding.

    In my very limited and informal Chinese education (from reading the Chinese magazines and newspapers with my grandma), I think it reads “Forever Spring Aged Vinegar” :)

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