food

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Practical Advice, Vietnam Basics, Vietnamese Food

Dietary Requirements

Life would be so much easier if everyone liked to eat everything or could eat everything. I know my life would, but, like many people, there are some things that I don’t like and others I can’t eat because I am allergic. There are so many dietary requirements in one’s life that you have to be careful, especially when you are not cooking yourself. When you go to a restaurant and order something, it is hard to know what ingredients they use exactly.

Vietnamese food is full of fresh ingredients and spices. If you are planning on going to Vietnam and you have specific dietary restrictions, this blog may help you get through.

It is ok! You don’t really have to eat EVERYTHING there is. There are several reasons why someone doesn’t eat a specific type of food. It could be allergic reactions, religious reasons or simply because you don’t like it.

Allergies

I hate it when I start eating something and all of the sudden my entire body starts itching because of something I ate (a lot of times I don’t even know what exactly). Others react very differently from me. Sometimes you could have a serious reaction to it, so you have to be careful.

I am allergic

Vegetarian / Vegan

Many of us have chosen to live a certain lifestyle and we all have to respect it. Vegetarian restaurants are really common in Vietnam, as there is a large Buddhist population. It means that being a vegetarian is not a big deal!

It is important to know the Vietnamese word for vegetarian (chay) and that would get you through. You can make any Vietnamese dish into a vegetarian dish like phở chay, bánh xèo chayhủ tiếu chaycà ri chay, and so on. Or say “Tôi ăn chay”, which means “I’m vegetarian” or, if you are a vegan, “Tôi là người ăn chay trường”.

I don't eat meat

Religion

In some religions, certain animals are sacred like the cow in Hinduism. In other cases, for example in Islam is forbidden to eat pork.

I don't eat beefI don't eat pork

But also in Judaism you can find dietary restrictions. Jews are only allowed to eat Kosher.

Only eat kosher

Or if you simply don’t like a certain time of food you just simply say “I don’t eat (type of food)” in Vietnamese “Tôi không (…)”. For example,

I don't eat seafood

 

There are many other dietary requirements and restrictions. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You never know if you like something if you haven’t tried it!

Come and apply for an internship with InternVietnam. Apply now!

5 Vietnam Facts
Vietnam Basics

Vietnam Facts

So you think you know all there is to know about Vietnam? Well, let’s see! Here are some facts about Vietnam for you.

5 Vietnam Facts

There are approximately 20 times the number of motorbikes than there are cars!

According to the ministry of transport, there are only 2 million cars registered in Vietnam whereas the number of bikes exceeds 38 million! This number is growing year on year. In Ho Chi Minh over 90% of the vehicles on the roads are motorbikes!

Vietnam Bike Life

The Oxford Dictionary contains two Vietnamese foods

Whilst many words in a foreign language must be translated before entering the English dictionary, two Vietnamese dishes are so famous that they don’t need translation. Banh Mi and Pho both feature in the Oxford English dictionary!

Banh Mi Vietnam

Vietnam is the 5th happiest country in the world!

This is due to long life expectancy, 75.5 years, and great public services resulting in a low regional inequality. One of the highest levels of school enrolment at 98%. All these factors and much more add up to make Vietnam one of the happiest places on earth!

Vietnam is a hub for manufacturing!

Many global brands such as Nike and Old Navy produce their products in Vietnam. Also, Samsung assembly takes place in Vietnam!

You can be a millionaire!

With the exchange rate from most Western countries to Vietnam, you can have millions in your wallet every day! Whilst this may seem like the coolest thing ever you’ll have to quickly get used to using Vietnamese Dong to make sure you hand over the right amount of money!

Vietnamese Dong

Want to check out Vietnam for yourself? Apply now!

Internship Experience
Internship Experience

My InternChina Experience

Leaving Chengdu!

Since the first day I arrived in Chengdu I have loved every moment. From my first ride on an ofo to my last. From sweating through my first hotpot to a little brow mop at my last. Chengdu has shown me a completely new way of life, laid back, relaxed, slow paced. When you think of China you think of the crazy hustle and bustle of giant cities. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Chengdu despite being the biggest city I’ve ever been to is also the most relaxed.

IC New Years Dinner

My initial fears of relentless spice and unbearable huajiao, have ended in me wondering if I’ll ever find a comparable flavour back home. The range of delicious food that can be found here in Chengdu will be one of the things I miss the most.

QingChengShan

Alongside getting to know this fantastic city I have also made some fantastic friends! The InternChina family welcomed me with open arms. The office environment is nothing but great fun on a daily basis with great team spirit. As well, all the interns I’ve met in my 3 months have been fantastic in both helping me get to know the city and sharing great stories and experiences together.

leshan

My internship has allowed me to pass on the great experience I had previously on my internship in 2015 with the interns I’ve met here in Chengdu. Organising great activities and some extracurricular events have helped me form truly great friendships.

Dumplings with lysea

The skills I’ve learnt during my internship are so varied and extensive there is no doubt that I will be able to use them later on in life. From the daily tasks I’ve completed to meetings and marketing, I’ve gained a wide range of transferable skills.

car squat

InternChina has given me a platform from which I can only excel. This has truly been an unforgettable experience that I’m sure I will tell stories about for the rest of my life!

What an unforgettable life-changing experience? Apply now!

vietnamese Pho
Vietnamese Culture, Vietnamese Food

Yin and Yang, Banh and Pho

Imagine yourself walking through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam and a wave of people with food in their hands comes towards you. Suddenly you are surrounded by all sorts of smells and flavors! Just the thought of that makes you hungry, right? So let’s explore the wonders of Vietnamese food together.

Vietnamese Food

Some might say that Vietnamese food is like any other in Southeast Asia, nothing special. What they don’t know is how wrong they really are! Vietnamese food is neither bland nor boring.

The combination of fresh herbs and spices makes the food not only colourful, but also full of flavor. Although it might differ from region to region, there is always something that makes Vietnamese cuisine unique. The aroma, the taste of sweet and sour, and the hint of fish sauce are all combined and perfectly balanced. It is all about yin and yang, in every meal providing beneficial input to your body!

China influences heavily the food in the north. That means a lot of stir-fries and noodle-based soups. Then towards the southern part the flavors become more and more tropical, almost blending with Thai cuisine. But it is hard not to talk about the French influence in Vietnam cuisine.

One example would be the bánh mì which is basically a crispy/fluffy baguette filled with seasoned pork and vegetables like cucumbers, cilantro and pickled carrots. Some say you can find the best bánh mì in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

InternVietnam - Banhmi

When you walk through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, you are definitely going to find Ph. Pho is made of a smooth broth with vermicelli rice noodles and meat, topped with the freshest herbs you can find. It is a very popular street food in Vietnam and probably the most known Vietnamese food in the world. Surprisingly, is usually eaten as a breakfast!

InternVietnam - Pho

If you are a pork fan, then bún mọc is for you. In it you can find pork sausage, fried pork meatballs, pork ribs and pork belly with a light mushroom broth and garnish with fresh herbs. That is a lot of pork and all in one bowl!

 

Exotic ‘Nam

If you have more of an adventurous side, you can try the coconut worms in fish sauce and chili slices, usually eaten alive while drinking! One bite of these fellas pops salty and spicy flavors into your mouth. But be careful with their mandibles because these little worms may bite while you are trying to eat them!

Another daring option would be the balut, a fertilized bird embryo, usually duck. The Vietnamese believe that the balut is very nutritious and restorative for pregnant women.

InternVietnam - Balut

 

But enough about meat!

Don’t be afraid to visit Vietnam if you are vegetarian. Vegetarian restaurants are really common in Vietnam, as there is a large Buddhist population. It means that being a vegetarian is not a big deal. And even if the restaurant is not specifically vegetarian, you can still find or ask for vegetarian options.

It is important to know the Vietnamese word for vegetarian (chay) and that would get you through. You can make any Vietnamese dish into a vegetarian dish like phở chay, bánh xèo chayhủ tiếu chaycà ri chay, and so on. Or say “Tôi ăn chay”, which means “I’m vegetarian”. Another option is to say that you don’t eat pork “Tôi không ăn thịt heo” or beef “Tôi không ăn thịt bò“.

InternVietnam - Veggies

There are a variety of vegetarian dishes you can get, like sticky rice (xôi). Most of the xoi are vegetarian and found in the food stands on the streets. Đậu sốt cà chua is a fried yellow tofu with tomato paste and onions. You can accompany your dậu sốt cà chua with some fried water spinach and garlic (rau muống xào tỏi) or some bok choy with shitake mushrooms (cải xào nấm).

Cheers!

Drinks are on me! A common drink is the Vietnamese iced coffee or cà phê đá made with freshly brewed dark roast Vietnamese-grown coffee and condensed milk. But if you go to Hanoi, you might come across the egg coffee (cà phê trứng) which includes egg yolk. Sugarcane (nước mía or mía đá) is a really popular drink during the hot summers. Kumquat juice is often added to the sugarcane to balance the sweetness.

InternVietnam - IcedCoffee

Vietnam has its own brewery called Sabeco, which is Vietnam’s leading beer producer. They produce not only the classic Saigon Beer, but also Vietnam’s favorite 333. Bia hơi is a draft beer popular among the locals. It can be found in small bars and on street corners. It’s brewed daily and each bar gets a fresh batch delivered everyday! Going to the stronger liquor is the rượu đế, rice wine, made out of cooked glutinous rice.

InternVietnam - SaigonBeer

 

Enjoy these delicacies and join us!

Uncategorised

Tianjin Vs. Qingdao

At age seventeen, I was awarded a one-year scholarship to study in Tianjin, a two-tier city around 100km from Beijing. Five years later and here I am, my fourth time in China, and interning in a brand new city, Qingdao.

Tianjin was an amazing place to live and is where my true appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture developed. After my Tianjin experience, how could I turn down another opportunity to live in another fast-developing tier two city? Even though they are more than 500 km apart, I have already noticed some similarities between the two cities.

 

Architecture

Tianjin and Qingdao, throughout history and up until now, are very important treaty ports. This meant that in the past they were very desirable to foreign powers. The cities are unique as there still remain numerous European-style buildings, such as churches and villas, which stand as legacies from the time of foreign concessions during the Qing dynasty. A direct contrast to the new modern buildings found in every Chinese city, they are an absolute must see when visiting either city!

Food

In true Chinese style, food culture is huge in Qingdao and Tianjin. Due to proximity to the sea, the seafood in both cities is particularly fresh and delicious. A must try Qingdao dish is spicy clams (蛤蜊), which are pronounced as géli in standard Putonghua but in local Qingdao Hua are pronounced gála. Although Tianjin is known for its seafood, Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子) and “Cat can’t smell” dumplings (猫不闻饺子) are also some well-known delicious dishes.

 

Language

Before I arrived in Qingdao, I was under the impression that Qingdao locals would have a southern accent. I realised very quickly that this was not the case as the accent is just as northern sounding as it is in Tianjin, with plenty of er’s(儿)! Tianjin was the perfect environment to not only learn Pǔtōnghuà, but also the local dialect (天津话). The locals were always enthusiastic and patient with me as I bumbled my way through sentences in my early days of learning Chinese. The locals also became especially excited whenever I tried out some Tianjin Hua. For example, instead of saying hen(很 )for very, locals will say bèr(倍儿). Qingdao also has its own dialect (青岛话). For instance. here they pronounce hē(喝), meaning to drink, as hā. So, it’s dōuhāshui!

 

As much as Tianjin will always be my home in China, Qingdao is rapidly becoming my Chinese home away from home! I can’t wait to see what else Qingdao has to offer!

 

Tempted by the two-tier city life? Join us! We have branches in four fantastic tier two cities!

Knife and Fork vs Chopsticks
Vietnamese Culture

Cultural Differences Between the West and Vietnam

As can be expected when travelling to the other side of the world, many things will be different. From eating and drinking, to socialising and relationships, expect a lot of cultural differences!

Eating!

In the West, if you make much noise when eating it may be considered rude and bad manners. However, in Vietnam the more noise the better! When eating a particularly delicious bowl of noodles, locals can be heard slurping.

noodles and coconut

Celebrations!

Whilst your birthday may be considered the most important celebration in the West, in Vietnam it is peoples death day when celebrations take place. During this time they will worship ancestors, prepare a big meal and get all the family and relatives together.

Greetings!

In the West we have no particular routine of introduction, aside from maybe a formal handshake or an embrace with a close friend. In Vietnam however, shaking hands is less common, especially with the opposite sex. When introducing yourself, it is important to greet the elders first before then the younger individuals.

Cutlery!

As I’m sure you are aware knives and forks become a rare sight once you enter the Eastern world. You can expect to eat all your meals with a spoon and chopsticks! This may take some getting used to at the start but after a few meals no doubt you will be a pro!

Knife and Fork vs Chopsticks

Affection!

In Vietnam, you will rarely see husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend showing affection in public. This is considered inappropriate and should be kept to private areas. Very different to the West where you can see a whole variety of PDA!

Want to experience Vietnamese culture for yourself? Apply Now!

Chengdu Blogs, Chengdu InternChina events, Eating Out in Chengdu

Weekend Trip to Wenshu Monastery

Wenshu Monastery

This weekend in Chengdu our interns took a visit to the famous Wenshu Monastery. Upon arrival, the beauty of the buildings stunned us. From the towering peace pagoda to the stunning halls, the architecture amazed us all.

Wenshu Gardens

Upon entering the monastery, you notice its layout in the traditional Chinese style. Wenshu is made of 5 south facing halls in a row leading up to the stunning main hall at the far end from the entrance. In classic Chinese style there was maintenance underway including this man precariously perched atop scaffolding on wheels using a jet wash to clean the beams.

Maintenance worker at Wenshu Temple

Having toured the grounds of the monastery we headed outside to an antiques market. Here we found old communist memorabilia, including the famous little red book,  and Mao-ist propaganda amongst other treasures. One vendor was sat outside his shop playing his guitar as his dog kept an eye on the passers by.

Antiques Vendor and his watch dog

After looking around the monastery and the antiques market we headed back towards the temple grounds in search of some food.

The Food

The surrounding area to the monastery is home to some of the most famous food in Sichuan. Not ones to miss the opportunity to eat, we jumped in the line of a famous restaurant. The restaurant was packed full with no space to sit. Upon ordering our TianShuiMian (this restaurants famous dish) we managed to find a spot to sit and dug into to this amazing delicacy. Our interns loved the sweet and spicy contrast to these amazing hand made noodles!

TianShuiMian

After sampling this delight we wanted more and headed to another famous spot near the metro station. As is the case with all well-known eateries in China, this place also had a queue out the front. This time we were queuing for Guo Kui. The menu offered Beef, Pork, Pig’s Snout, Pigs Ear, Noodles and other delights to fill this delightful pastry pocket. I personally chose the pig’s snout, which didn’t disappoint.

GuoKui in Chengdu

Having filled our stomachs with great food and our eyes with fantastic scenery we all headed off. On the way back we stopped by Tianfu Square, right in the middle of the city to snap some pictures and take in our surroundings. All in all a great day out!

Interested in visiting Wenshu Monastery and trying some Sichuan cuisine? Apply now!

Vietnamese Culture

5 Cultural Differences Between the UK and Vietnam


Introduction

When we talk about the cultural differences between Vietnam and England culture, we can think of many things; namely Literature, Style of Music, Arts, Religion, Language… and I will tell you some dissimilarities of the two cultures. This blog will describe some of the likenesses and contrasts between the UK and Vietnam!

UK and Vietnam flags

Many Vietnamese traditions are beautiful to witness and you will really enjoy gaining a better understanding of life here.

Family structure

For example, in Vietnam, children are the most important members and the centre of a family. The other members (parent, grandparents, uncles, aunt) pay special attention to them. The central role of elderly people in the family is to raise their grandchildren. It is a lovely tradition that gives the adults more time to themselves, seemingly keeps gramps feeling young and develops respectful community for, and connected to the elderly. It is not uncommon to see elderly people taking their younger relatives to school on the bus, or playing with them outside, which always makes you smile on your way to work.

Drinking culture

Bia Hoi Junction Hanoi

There is a lot of cheap, cold, draft beers, in Vietnam and many people sitting on a plastic stool on the side of the road. That pretty much sums up the bia hoi experience.  Bia Hoi is a draft beer, made with no preservatives.  You will see lots of people sitting around, drinking, talking, eating, and people watching. One thing to avoid is to drink without eating, at least a little something – generally sliced cucumbers served with salt, chilis, and lime, or fried battered corns. Have you ever heard of the Snake Wine? It is quite popular in Vietnam. They put the whole snake (or scorpion) into the bottle and then pour the rice wine into it!

Nevertheless, a few cultural differences I have noticed are a little bit harder to get used to, and you’ll just have to learn to live with them when living in Vietnam.

Cultural difference Number 1: Munching and belching is normal in Vietnam!

The first cultural difference I discovered was on a business trip on the second day of my internship. For lunch, we stopped at a restaurant by a river, and quickly I noticed the loud eating going on in the room.
Loud eating is considered rude in most countries in the world. But not in Vietnam. You may also see people dropping litter or food scraps, on the ground as they eat, but again this is completely normal. You will find used napkins, food scraps and cigarette butts on the floor of lots of traditional Vietnamese restaurants.
But reassure yourself, not everyone eats loudly though, and not every restaurant is dirty!


So, here is your challenge; be prepared to eat loudly as well! It is widely accepted and interpreted as you are enjoying your meal.

InternVietnam - cultural difference Food
InternVietnam – Food

Cultural difference 2: Wild driving

Wild driving as a cultural difference

One of my favorite things about living in Vietnam is the madness that runs wild on the roads. I’m talking about scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles,electric bikes… tonnes of fun!

In fact, because of all the unpredictable swerving, it seems drivers are more observant, with quicker reactions than most in the UK. Not to mention they get you from A to B super quick and so cheaply! Upon that realisation, and having taken many more taxi journeys, I have become increasingly trusting of the local drivers. However, I will welcome the orderly and comparatively peaceful roads with open arms when I return home.

On the other hand, driving in Vietnam is sometimes quite frustrating. There seems to be a lack of rules, or a lack of enforcement of rules. If you ask a Vietnamese person what the rules of driving are, they will look at you like you are coming from another planet.



Cultural difference Number 3: Non-existent queuing

Vietnam queue
InternVietnam – Vietnamese queue

Being British, I have had queuing drilled into me at an early age and can’t help but be overwhelmed with annoyance if someone queue jumps. In Vietnam, however, queuing seems to be more along the lines of a polite suggestion rather than a strict social norm.

Many times I have been queuing for the cash desk in a supermarket and, as it reaches my turn, someone walks in front of me and places their items on the desk. You soon learn to become more pushy and assertive, as well as perhaps a little more impatient. Although it can become a bit of fun, I still can’t quite overwrite my innate desire to respect a queue.

Cultural difference Number 4: The nap after lunch

Cultural difference: napping everywhere

The Spanish cannot beat the Vietnamese when it comes to napping! Napping in Vietnam is an art and the people here are professional nappers.

Vietnamese people can take a siesta almost everywhere from hammocks made of rope mesh and suspended by cords at the ends to under the trees and in the bus next to strangers, pavements, right on the concrete floors, pavements or motorbikes. At elementary schools, taking a nap is mandatory, little students have to listen to their teachers, transforming desks made with two wood panels into beds to sleep after lunchtime.

Nap-time is when you can observe the very slow pace of life by strolling through the streets in light volume traffic, feeling the chilling breezes going through your hair, and seeing an idyllic Vietnam in the midday.



Cultural difference Number 5: Loudspeakers everywhere !

Vietnam has about 10,000 loudspeakers. Loudspeakers are a throwback to the 1960s- 70s war years between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, when they delivered news and warned people to get into a bomb shelter for protection against attack from the air.

Nowadays, these loudspeakers still exist, with announcements covering a range of topics like residential clusters meetings, avian flu prevention, healthcare information and sanitation reminders all over Vietnam through the daily 6:30 AM and 5:30 PM broadcasts in a male or female voice. They begin and end with some beautiful music sort of patriotic rhythms.

If you stay in Vietnam, I am 100-percent sure the loudspeakers will wake you up in time.


InternVietnam - Loudspeakers
Source : https://www.mazevietnam.com/2016/12/10/10-strange-things-about-vietnam/

As a conclusion…

Throughout my time in Vietnam, I have attempted to fully immerse myself in the Vietnamese culture and have really enjoyed my time here because of it. Even these cultural differences that may be a little out of my comfort zone made my experience more enriched and interesting and, aside from maybe number 1, I wouldn’t want them to change.

Want to learn more about our destinations? Check the five majors cultural differences between the UK and China!

If you want to join us in Vietnam for an amazing experience, you can apply here!

Chengdu Blogs, China Business Blogs

Internship Experience – From Perth to Chengdu

Written by Claire Sadler 

From the most isolated city in the world to one of the largest cities in China

Coming from the remote city of Perth, Australia I thought interning in Chengdu would be the perfect opportunity to experience a different lifestyle.

Although when I first arrived, the difference between my coastal life and bustling Chengdu definitely gave me culture shock, this soon subsided with the excitement of being exposed to such an amazing place.

I have only been here for a month but in that time I have already made enough friends to freeload on almost every continent, eaten my weight in Sichuan cuisine and explored many parts of this beautiful city!

Experiening Chinese culture in Chengdu

Exploring Chengdu

In an attempt to explore as much as possible during my stay, I have seen so much of what Chengdu has to offer. Some of the highlights have been the infamous pandas, Dongmen Bridge, the Leshan Giant Buddha and People’s Park.

Exploring the parks in Chengdu

One funny experience of my trip though was how excited the locals at Sanxingdui Museum were when they saw Dominique and I. A crowd of at least 20 people asked for pictures because they had never seen a foreigner there before! All I could think about was how they would have shown everyone the pictures of us.

Seeing pandas at the Chengdu panda research base

My Internship

During my stay in Chengdu I’m situated in Gaoshengqiao, known for the Tibetan culture. It is crazy how even doing day to day tasks I am exposed to this culture, as I even see monks shopping in Walmart!

In terms of my placement I am completing a marketing internship with Inspiration Tech. It has been an amazing opportunity to learn new marketing skills, specifically how to effectively promote a product and create advertisements. I have also gotten the opportunity to write articles and conduct interviews, which has boosted my experience in journalism.

Internship activities with Inspiration Tech

The whole trip has been eye opening, inspiring and rewarding in so many ways. Interning in Chengdu was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget!

Do you want to experience Chengdu for yourself? Then apply now!

All You Need to Know, Chinese Traditions, Eating Out in Chengdu, Eating out in Zhuhai, Food, How-to Guides, Learn about China, Qingdao Eating Out Guide

How to Read a Chinese Menu

As you may know, in China food is one of the most important things! Indeed, sharing a meal is a social opportunity that is loved across China. However, reading a Chinese menu can seem intimidating.
At InternChina we love food too – check out this blog in order to know more about how we help you to explore Chinese cuisine. If you have never tried Chinese food before, don’t worry, you’ll definitely experience this soon enough!

And fear not, this article is here to hopefully help you understand a Chinese menu, so you can order yourself and impress your Chinese colleagues and friends!

The Chinese language may appear to be the most difficult language in the world at first, as we are not used to the Chinese characters. But don’t be intimidated! This ancient language is following a certain logic – as soon as you understand the logic, you’ll be able to read a Chinese menu without a doubt!

To avoid giving you a long history lesson, let’s just say that originally all Chinese characters were created using pictures, and were developed into the calligraphic style that we see today through several different steps.

History of Chinese Characters

Let me show you the evolution of the Chinese character for “horse” – if you don’t want to order this kind of dish, just look for it in a Chinese menu!

Now that you can understand how the Chinese characters work, just use your imagination and it will be way easier to read a menu! Let me show you some examples of the main ingredients you’ll find in a Chinese menu.

Meat on the Menu

These are basically the most common kinds of meat you’ll find on a menu in China. While horse meat isn’t that popular, in some places donkey meat is! Therefore, for donkey meat dishes you will have the character for horse, and one other symbol that looks similar to the tall ears of the donkey! So a donkey is a horse with tall ears, easy to remember- right? Can you find two more very similar characters? When you understand that the Chinese language is logic, it seems less and less hard, right?

After most of those characters in a Chinese menu you’ll see “肉-rou” that means “meat”.

Vegetables on the Menu

Obviously, the Chinese language can’t always be explained by pictures, but you can still see the logic behind the characters.

Let’s look at “potato” as an example. “Tu” means “earth“, and “dou” means “bean“. A potato is a bean that comes from the earth – easy!

Another interesting story can be found with “tomato.” Tomatoes weren’t originally found in China, they were imported. So in the Chinese name for tomato we have: “Xi” meaning “West“, “Hong” meaning “Red“, and “Shi” meaning “Persimmons“. Can you guess why? Because a tomato looks like a “red-persimmon imported from the West”! Clever, right?

Bai” means “white” and “Cai” means vegetable, so the white vegetable is also know as the delicious Chinese cabbage! The easiest way to remember a Chinese character is to make a story from the shape of the character, or ask your Chinese friends to explain the character to you!

Main Dishes

These are the main characters you’ll see in the dishes, so you’ll see if you are going to eat soup or some noodles.

Just one thing to remember about rice, restaurants commonly use “米饭” or just “饭” – character FAN–  for rice. And a funny tip about “egg”- “dan” means egg, but in Chinese you’ll always call it a “Chicken egg”.

For the soup “tang” can you see the three dots on the left hand-side ? Looks like drops of water, right? Exactly! That’s the way of describing an object or dish with water inside, so now you all know that there is water in the soup now!

Our Favourite Dishes

Now that we’ve showed you the main characters you’ll see in a Chinese menu, let’s give you some more tips and the names of our favourite dishes!

These might take some more imagination to remember, as it won’t be as easy as the characters for various animals which were very close to the actual picture of the animal. However, these cards will be super useful while reading a Chinese menu. And, you can also show them in the restaurants if you can’t find them on the Chinese menu!

Don’t hesitate to choose those dishes if you see them on a Chinese menu, they’re delicious!

You can find the two first ones in every Halal restaurant, also known in Chinese as “Lanzhou Lamian, “and you can recognise these restaurants by the characters on the outside door: ‘兰州拉面‘. And the other dishes are found in any typical Chinese restaurant!

  • XiHongshi Chao Jidan: Egg and tomato with rice.
  • Jidan Chao Dao Xiao Mian: Fried egg, vegetables and cut noodles (this might be little spicy in some places!)
  • Feng Wei Qie Zi : Fried aubergines.
  • Tang Cu li Ji: Sweet and sour pork.
  • Gan bian Da tou Cai : “Big head vegetable!” This will be some delicious Chinese cabbage and spicy sauce.
  • Gong Bao Ji Ding : Chicken, peanuts and veggies, with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Please Don’t Forget!

Here some tips, that may save you one day – who knows!

  • If a character has on the left-hand side it is likely to be some sort of guts/intestines/belly/insides, i.e. run in the opposite direction!
  • Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Then always avoid meals with this character ““, as this is “rou“, which means “meat.”
  • Allergic to peanuts? This is the character you need to avoid : “花生“, pronounced “huasheng.”
  • If you can’t eat spicy food, avoid this red one! “La” “” means spicy.

There is different kind of spicy food that our interns in Chengdu will be pleased to try! When you see those characters : be ready to experience some tingling and numbing sensation.

Don’t hesitate to ask our staff members on place to help you out with the pronunciation, or if you need any help ordering your food!

Did this help to convince you that living in China isn’t that difficult? Well then, you just need to apply now!

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