You know a product is popular when the copies come pouring in from China. At a recent product show in Chicago I spotted a large booth sporting every traditional Mexican cooking tool that you might find in any Mexican kitchen. The first item I picked up was a molcajete. I turned the box over and saw the "Made In China" sticker. After a closeup look at the molcajete it was clear it was not handmade or Mexican. And so it was, product after product from the Mexican clay olla, to the lemon juicer and ice shaver, all made in China. About two weeks later at a Mexican market I found the exact same molcajetes, boxes disposed of so no indication of where it came from. Any uninitiated buyer would not know it was Chinese.
molinillo and tostonera made in china
Hecho In China
And now, a new player in the Mexican cooking tool scene. A new line, all Manufactured in China under the brand Vasconia. Traditional cooking tools, many out of non-traditional materials, all from China. I'm not a China-phobe I just like my traditional cooking tools to come from, well, where they come from. If I sell a Chinese sand pot them I'm grateful they are from China. But I guess I am resentful that the sales of these faux products are taking away jobs from the local Mexican artisans. The good news is most Mexican people won't buy the Chinese fakes. I hope this article helps to get the word out so if you are in the market for Mexican tortilla presses or molcajetes or molinillos that you buy authentic products, the real deal, made in Mexico.
Mexico Shoots Themselves In The Foot
Part of the problem is that it's hard to get good consistent quality products from Mexico. Many of the companies that produce products in Mexico are small and quality control is lacking. I look at this issue a little differently. I think a lot of the charm of Mexican products comes from the hand-made or small production methods lack that perfection that comes out of expensive machinery. While the Mexican products aren't always perfect they are traditional and they are from hard working Mexican citizens.