A thousand-foot-long bridge in southeast China is providing an essential lesson in that country’s culinary tastes: The Chinese are not wild about butter.

The proof is in the fact that Guangzhou authorities have resorted to coating the bridge in butter, in order to hinder suicide attempts and the traffic jams they cause. The result is surfaces too slippery for even the most desperate person to climb. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Get a grip!”

The bridge has been a favorite for some time among people looking to end it all, and officials did everything they could think of to discourage the practice. They put up fences, they positioned guards at each end, but ultimately nothing worked.

That’s when someone presumably discovered a mountain of butter sitting idle in a warehouse somewhere. In the States, we would have put that stuff to good gastronomical use, and left our bridge-coating to lard or Vaseline. But the demand for butter among the Chinese isn’t huge—who knows how long it might have languished in storage?

On the brighter side, the situation may have the makings of a potential Guinness record. As we butter lovers are well aware, that greasy stuff eventually has to go rancid. When it does, Guangzhou may end up being the proud owner of the World’s Worst-Smelling Bridge.




DanBing has lived in one Asian country and traveled in various others, engaging in activities that ranged from teaching English to playing Irish music to researching articles to marrying. The best part was usually the food, though the marriage hasn’t been too bad either. But of all his many accomplishments he is perhaps proudest of his close–extremely close–association with the person who wrote The Devil’s Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies (www.frogchartpress.com).