3 Things I love about China – Part 1
Are you thinking about moving to China for work or studies and not sure yet? Do you need more reason to be convinced? Are you afraid of the unknown and fear to make a wrong decision?
Don’t let your worries win! China is awesome and here are my first 3 reasons why (hint: there will be several of these posts, as there are a lot of reasons why to love China and relocate there)
#1: Hospitality in China
One of the first things you will realise when moving to China is the unbelievable hospitality you will face. Litarally: When a poor family has the chance to invite you into their home or out for dinner they will do everything to let you have the best time ever. Even if that means they have to starve for the next 3 days.
When you are invited into a private family home it is clear you will get the most opulent welcome dinner ever. You will receive the best room in the whole flat or house. You will be guided to everywhere, when needed.
Chinese people understand to make people feel comfortable. It’s in their DNA.
Just one personal note: Please make sure to give back as much as you can. When you are invited to stay for 2 weeks at a friend’s place make sure to bring a valuable gift or hand out a red package with a little less amount a hotel room would cost. Make sure to bring fruits for dinner or invite your hosts to dinner and insist on paying – even when your hosts try everything to pay for you.
#2: Food in China
你吃过了吗 – Nǐ chīguòle ma – Have you eaten yet?
That’s a common greeting in rural China and shows the importance of food in China. Chinese people are convinced Chinese food is the best food in the world – and it is very hard to argue with that. First: There is noch “Chinese” food. China is as big a Europe and has millions of dishes that are labelled as “Chinese” but they may have nothing in common than being cooked in one country. There is spicy, sour, sweet, bitter, oily, creamy, soupy, sticky… and many more foods out there. You name it – China has it. When you have never been to China you may not know it, but the Chinese food you usually get from the Chinese restaurant around the corner everyone from your hometown is going is no real Chinese food. Try to check out the restaurants that only host Chinese people – that the best criteria to find real Chinese food and restaurants. When I go out for dinner in my hometown Cologne, Germany I am usually the only foreigner in these “real” Chinese restaurants. Why? Because they don’t advertise to foreigners, they don’t need to! Most of the time the waiters can’t even speak the local language – they don’t need to! Chinese people love food so much, where ever they go they can search for local traditional restaurants and find tons of recommendations in Chinese internet.
When ever you have the chance to try out real Chinese food try it! Whenever you are in China – leave KFC and McDonalds behind. Try the local cuisine. You may not like everything, but I guarantee you, you will find dishes you will remember forever. My tip: try out 鱼香茄子 – Yú xiāng qiézi – Eggplant with minced meat, pepper and chili.
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#3: Transportation in China
Chinas transportation system is increasing every day. And it is already very comfortable! Traveling by train 1.300 km from Beijing to Shanghai just takes about 5 hours. On train you have a restaurant with cheap dishes, hot water supply for your soup and drinks and it is that silent and relaxing that you could sleep the whole trip while traveling at super-fast pace.
When commuting in the bigger cities you have lot of metro lines covering nealy every corner of the city. In Beijing metros come and go during rush hours in every other minute. And when the metro doesn’t go where you want to go the will be a bus providing connection. And if there is even no bus, you can take a cheap taxi or Didi (the Chinese Uber).
Taking the train, metro, bus and taxi is very cheap compared to US or European prices.
Why I didn’t talk about planes yet? My advice: never take a national flight if you can take a train. National flights are usually delayed and calculating the time you have to be at airport in order to proceed all the check-in and security check AND the delay you are usually fast by taking a train. This of course does not apply when you want to travel from Haikou to Harbin or from Wulumuqi to Shanghai. But when traveling within the east coast always prefer the train – thank me later!
What do you love about China? Let me know in the comments below.
Do you want to read 3 more things I love about China? Check out the second part here: Read more…