Calls and sounds of the Peking street peddlers

Paintings of street sellers and descriptions of their cries and jingles from Samuel Victor Constant's Calls, Sounds and Merchandise of the Peking Street Peddlers, written in 1936 as a master's thesis at the College of Chinese Studies.


This peddler cries –

“Feng kao lai, ai wo wo” or “Here come the rice cakes and sweet balls!”

These peddlers are Mohammedan – why, no one seems to know except that it is the custom. They carry a wooden tray slung in front of them by means of a sling around the neck. They sell two kinds of cakes – “feng kao” and “ai wo wo”. The “feng kao” is made of rice flour and made into a large cake about fourteen inches in diameter and two inches thick. This is cut into slice which sell for about two big coppers a cut. The cake is white or red according to whether white or red sugar is used in making.

The “ai wo wo” is made from rice flour formed into a ball about the size of a chestnut, with some sugar in the center. It is eaten cold and is a great favourite with the children.

This peddler not only has his call but also hits a castanet like object with a stick: “ta hsiao pang tzu”.