Ying Min Zhao in field of pak choi. | Teresa Ayuga

Ying Min Zhao has spent almost half of his life in Mallorca and he’s the first Chinese person to grow Asian fruit and vegetables on the island.

He was born in Qingtian, just south of Shanghai, which is also where 80% of Chinese residents in Mallorca come from.

"The climate is very similar, there’s a lot of sun and mountains," says Zhao, who owns 3 hectares of land in sa Ràpita where he plants native Chinese crops, which he sells in his own supermarket.

He started doing business when he was just 15 years old.

”My family had a clothing factory and I worked as a company representative until I was 23 years old,” he says. “As soon as I made enough money I came to Spain."

After a brief stay in Barcelona, he moved to Mallorca.

"Mallorca has a very good reputation, everyone knows it’s quiet and an ideal place to live.”

Ying Min Zhao in his supermarket.

Zhao worked long hours when he moved to Palma; getting up at 06:30 working in the fields until noon then returning to Palma to work in the supermarket; going back to the fields in the afternoon and back to Palma to cash up at the supermarket at the end of the day. He barely slept.

“Now I get up at 08:00, go to the farm every other day and finish around 23:00,” he explains. “The supermarket is open from Monday to Sunday and we only closed for 45 days during the pandemic."

He rarely goes back to China now, but he has lots of family in Europe and enjoys visiting them.

"I love to travel with my family to Portugal, Italy, France and also around Spain." He says. "My mother is gone and I only go back to China from time to time to clean the grave."

Field of pak choi in sa Ràpita.

Zhao has made a great life for himself in Mallorca but growing Asian vegetables here has been a case of trial and error.

"There are some crops that are not very good because the water has a lot of salt, but other ones come out very tasty,” he explains. “I planted a few fruit trees which only survived for a year, but the watermelon and Chinese melon are very good and actually taste sweeter than they do in China. The quality of the red grapefruit, Chinese pears, pak choi and white radish is also really good.”

Supermercado Asia is located near Pere Garau Market (Carrer Uetam, 7, bajos local 1) where you will be able to purchase his produce.