“Welcome to Chengdu home of pandas, land of abundance” so let the journey begin…
There is no better way to start the day with a nice coffee or smoothie, right? So check out the Bookworm, grab a nice book and plan your day!
• Take metro line 1 to go to Tianfu Square
• Walk from Tianfu Square to People´s park
Tianfu Square is in the center of Chengdu and is filled with high class shopping malls, nice restaurants and overlooked by an enormous Chairman Mao statue. If you walk to the West, you will get to People’s Park after about 15 minutes.
- Enjoy a walk through People´s park
- Have a tea at one of the traditional tea houses
After you had a little rest, walk over to Kuanzhai Alleys to buy some nice souvenirs for family and friends. You should try out dumplings for lunch at Zhong Shui Jiao at the beautiful Wenshu Monestry. To see more of the cultural sight of Chengdu, go to Du Fu’s Cottage and Jinli Ancient Street which is about 550m long and the buildings are in the Qing Dynasty style.
Tai Koo Li offers a lot of different restaurants, so just walk around and make your decision on a whim. If you haven’t gotten enough of cultural activities yet, enjoy a play at the Opera which could be followed with a beer or two at one of Chengdu’s best bars, the Beernest I.
- Book a room in the heart of Chengdu
The Mrs. Panda Hostel is a 2 star hostel and offers rooms from $5 a night and is very close to Tianfu Square. It offers free Wi-Fi and has a shuttle bus to the airport.
Chengdu is known for their research base of giant pandas and they are too cute to miss out on. I hope you didn’t get too wild last night, so that getting out of bed is easy!
- Make sure to be there at 8 a.m. so you can watch the pandas having breakfast
- Take a taxi to Wuhuo Shrine
- After walking around at the panda base, seeing both white and red pandas, go get some lunch in the park next to Wuhuo Shrine which is the free part of the Monastery.
- Visit Wuhuo Shrine
- Go to the Tibetan area and buy some snacks
- Take metro line one and go to Chunxi Road
Chunxi Road is known as the major shopping area in Chengdu. It is magical and gives you the feeling of being at the Times Square in New York City. The area has plenty of different stores to offer, so make sure you bring enough cash.
After a long shopping haul, sit down and enjoy some delicious dinner and maybe try out some HotPot or other Sichuan food Chengdu is known for.
- Go clubbing at Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong looks beautiful at night, especially if you cross Anshun Bridge and it offers plenty of good clubs and bars to dance the night away.
- Book a room in the heart of Chengdu
If you want to try out a different hostel for the night, the two star Flipflop Lounge Hostel is very popular among young people and is located next to Chenxi Road. You can book a room from $5 per night and is also offers free Wi-Fi.
Are you interested in coming to Chengdu, experiencing the city with your own eyes? Then apply here!
你好!This is my last blog post from China… I’m leaving this amazing country tomorrow! Even though I spent only 3 weeks here, I got to do some very special, China-specific things which will stay in my memory forever!
Whilst visiting one of the many beautiful temples in Chengdu I used the opportunity to have my future predicted by an old Chinese fortune teller. He told me a lot of good things about my future marriage which made me very happy… And hopeful. 😀
The most exciting part of my stay in China was obviously the food! I dined at many different restaurants and tried a lot of Chinese cuisine classics as well as typical Sichuanese dishes. Some of my favourites were: Kung Pao chicken (宫保鸡丁, pinyin: gōngbǎo jīdīng), Dan dan noodles (担担面, pinyin: dàndàn miàn) and Sichuan hotpot (四川火锅, pinyin: Sìchuān huǒguō). They were all delicious and quite different from typical Chinese food served in the West. I didn’t expect the spiciness but it was definitely a positive surprise. After all, who doesn’t like their mouth on fire? Haha! This brings to mind a very useful sentence in Chinese: 请不要太辣，谢谢 (pinyin: Qǐng bùyào tài là, xièxie) which more or less means “Not too spicy, please” – very useful in Sichuan!
During my stay in China I was attempting to master the Chinese language. The task proved less scary than I initially thought. I really liked the classes I took and of course my teacher Sherry (pictured below)! Don’t get me wrong, I still think Chinese is difficult but if you’re committed, anything is possible. 😉
The last thing about China that I will never forget is the way business is done here. First of all, I had some first-hand experience with people not answering my emails when I first introduced myself in writing. However, networking in person at a business event in Chengdu was great fun, and very effective. I had the opportunity to exchange some business cards ‘the Chinese way’ – using two hands and reading the whole of the other person’s business card, right after receiving it. I studied it in business school and I was chuffed and excited to be able to apply it in practice.
That’s it, I’m afraid. I will miss China very much and I’m sure I will come back here very soon. I’m also really sad to be leaving all the amazing people I’ve met here, including the lovely IC Chengdu staff!!! 🙁 I loved my stay here. Goodbye China! 再见!!!
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Chengdu is known for pandas, spicy food, hot girls and of course; home the newest INTERNCHINA office. Over the last year or so there have been significant developments within the city’s infrastructure and the whole Chengdu lifestyle is arguably changing from a chilled out, tea drinking society to a fast paced, iPhone talking, Gucci Wearing, consumer spending economic powerhouse.
InternChina – New Developments – TaiKoo Li
But perhaps it’s better to say the two aspects of Chengdu life are starting to coexist in a fascinating mix match of new and old, local and foreign, rich and poor. Recent developments between Lang Kwai Fong and the ShangriLa Hotel and the newly opened TaiKooLi (of Beijing Sanlitun fame) show a desire to keep architecture in line with traditional buildings and represent a welcome change from giant glass structures of over 60 stories (Chengdu is building a lot of these).
Perhaps what is happening in Chengdu is just a localised version of what you can find across the country. When people mention China – it’s quite hard to put your finger on what is China? We operate in 3 different cities and the marketing, local culture and treasures for each are very different. From Spicy Chuan Chuan in Chengdu, to Beer Bags in Qingdao and Dim Sum in Zhuhai – each part of China is unique and more importantly worthy of visiting if you can.
To provide a more personal example of how life can differ in China I want to give you an example of how my life has changed in China. I have lived in rural China for a while before moving to the big city of Chengdu.
Mile County, Yunnan (about 2 hours from Kunming) pop. 500,000
A typical day is….(and there never was)
- Wake up to beautiful sunshine (Yunnan is VERY sunny) and mountain scenery.
- Walk to town along a dusty path, past the odd horse and cart and buses of people – all dressed in minority clothing who are on their way to the downtown market.
- Pose for several photographs, whilst shouts of “hello” and “laowai” are whispered follow me around the shops which sell everything apart from anything I really recognise.
- Observe people cooking tea eggs, smelly tofu, steamed buns and other unrecognisable dishes.
- Eat at a fine Chinese restaurant for less than a beer in Chengdu and walk home with the sun setting
Chengdu China population 15 million
A typical day is…(and there never is)
- Wake up in my high rise apartment (42 floors) look out at the expanding CBD district as another floor of a Skycraper goes up.
- Walk to a spotless subway station past Starbucks, H&M, 7/11, a funky new Art exhibition as well as the familiar morning street food like pancakes jian bing and bao zi. As I reach the station a chorus of “Modi Modi!” rings out – these guys are basically trying to get you to go on the back of their motorbike taxi across the city at lightening speed.
- Take a busy subway with fashionable businessmen and women rushing to work whilst carrying the latest iPhones and designer bags
- Conduct business, meet clients and talk to companies who are designing computer games, marketing events for high end clients or designing the latest luxury shopping mall
- Dinner at either a local favourite or numerous western restaurants; Japanese, Cuban, Belgian, Indian it’s all here as well as the latest fashionable imports from Shanghai and Beijing such as Element Fresh and Blue frog.
- Home and I can finally relax above a city which is still not sleeping.
Clearly Chengdu has woken up from being a sleepy city and now is the centre of West China’s still double digit growth. New developments are everywhere come and see it for yourself! This weekend I might take a taxi to one of the parks and maybe eat some BBQ but similarily I could take a UBER Audi A6 to a new shopping district.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, the most liveable city in West China and the fourth most liveable city in China. Located in the heart of the country it is the gate for travelers to Tibet in the West, Xi’an in the North and Kunming in the South. Chengdu’s history stretches back over 4000 years. Since the Chinese government started to promote the “Go West” campaign, hundreds of big international companies have moved their production to Chengdu and Chongqing. Check out our infographic below:
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Hard plastic chairs which were made to urge the customers to eat fast,a simple setting that might attract only kids and bored teens. These are the characteristics of most McDonald branches in the West, but in China the McDonald’s experience is taking a big turn. Unlike the west, where McDonald’s is regarded as a cheap meal, in China, as there are much cheaper dining options, McDonald’s has attracted mostly middle-class customers. Moreover, as a symbol of American culture, in food, design and dining style, many Chinese enjoy sensing this western-American-‘modern’ ambiance and choose a McDonalds’ meal. This could be said about other fast-food chains as well, for example Pizza Hut.
Like KFC, the spine of its menu is built from the classics. Cheeseburgers, Fries. McNuggets. But come 5PM, when the special dinner options kick in, something happens. Let me introduce you to the “Beef Rice Bowl”.
McDonald’s launched rice dishes last summer as part of their China push, which has seen those open hundreds of restaurants in the country in the past three years. That the amount of these dishes available has dwindled in the short time since seems to indicate that maybe Chinese people aren’t looking for Chinese-style meals when they come to American-style food venues.
A unique feature of Chinese McDonald’s locations is the “McExpress” walk-up window, which sells a small range of drinks and ice cream desserts. Most McExpress windows are attached to restaurants, but in some cases, they can be physically independent, typically in locations such as shopping malls, department stores and subway stations. Most major urban locations offer delivery for an extra fee. Deliveries are usually made by electrically powered scooters, although in several cities where motorcycle bans are in place, a conventional courier bicycle is used. The food is normally carried in a large insulated backpack.
Some things you need to know about 麦当劳:
In China, Chicken McNuggets can come with the barbecue, sweet and sour, honey and hot mustard, or chili garlic sauce. Chinese menus also include crispy Buffalo chicken wings, called McWings. All chicken burgers offered in Chinese McDonald’s use thigh fillet (e.g., Premium Grilled Thigh Fillet Burger, Hot and Spicy Grilled Thigh Fillet Burger), rather than breast meat. The Big ‘n’ Tasty is sold as the Big ‘n’ Beefy in the Chinese market, and is topped with cheese, cucumber, and mildly spicy Thousand Island dressing. Pies come in two standard flavors: pineapple or taro, although special flavors including chocolate and banana have also been offered on a limited basis. There is also a seasonal “Chinese meals” available, including the Grilled Chicken Burger and curly fries, with a horoscope of the twelve zodiac animals of Chinese astrology and traditional red envelope.
Want to enjoy the tasty treats McDonald’s offers or prefer the Chinese local food – Apply here for a great internship and culinary adventure.
In China, it is usual to see some folk artists producing sugar paintings with liquid sugar along the streets, in the parks, and touristic areas.
The artist sits before a wooden stand where there is a polished slab of marble in the middle. On the side of the stand is a bamboo arrow and a wooden plate painted with various patterns in a circle such as a 龙 (Chinese dragon), bird, dog, or a flower basket.
Children especially usually select a figure by spinning the arrow on a wheel which will randomly land on such popular figures as a dragon, fish, monkey, dog, bird, or flower basket.
Sugar painting is very different from normal painting and was originated from the Ming Dynasty when sugar animals and figures were made in molds as part of a sacrifice in religious rituals. In the Qing Dynasty, sugar painting gained more popularity. At that time, many people made a living by sugar painting, shouldering a carrying pole and setting up stalls in crowded streets, in front of theatres and busy public places.
There are two main categories: plane painting and solid painting. For the plane painting (which is the easier one), the painter uses the brown sugar or white sugar as the raw material, the bronze spoon and a shovel as the tool, and the slab of marble as the “paper”. To acquire liquid sugar, the artist has to cook the solid sugar in a pot before painting. Since the hot liquid sugar could freeze solid if it cools, the artist has to produce his work very quickly.
Using a small spoon to scoop the syrup which looks like silk and thread, the handi-craftsman concentrates his strength on the wrist and takes the spoon as a brush pen, rising and pausing strokes, up and down, left and right. Soon a sugar painting of an animal, flower or a bike is finished, and the painter separates the painting from the marble with a shovel, puts a bamboo slice on the painting or wraps it with a transparent plastic bag.
If you have a sweet tooth or an eye for art – apply now to enjoy the Chinese culture and everything it has to offer.
It has been just over one month now, since I packed up my life again and stepped onto the plane headed for Qingdao. Before that, I had spent six months in Chengdu – a fiery city, full of exciting opportunities, impressive architecture and racing development.
Since I’ve now lived in both Chengdu and Qingdao, I think it’s time I put into words how I felt the two cities compare and differ, what I miss and welcome.
Firstly, let’s talk about food. Qingdao has a delicious variety of seafood – clams in particular are my favourite, as well as other great dishes such as aubergine with potato and peppers (Di san xian), or something akin to sweet and sour pork (tangsu liji), which are always a favourite at our Thursday dinners. The food is mild, although there are spicy dishes too of course, and the street barbecue is a highlight after every night out. Other than that, you also get beer in a bag… what else can I say?
All this is great, but honestly speaking, I do actually miss the spicy kick the Chengdu food offers. Paul (Office Manager Chengdu) probably won’t believe me when I say this though, since I’ve only ever complained about the spice while I was there… Sorry Paul, looks like I developed a love for spice only after I left! Key ingredients to Chengdu food are a lot of chillies and the famous Sichuan pepper (Huajiao) which creates a peculiar numbing feeling in your mouth when you bite it. These two (and quite a few more spices) create a culinary experience that you will most definitely never forget, and although it takes some getting used to, the Sichuan food is bursting with vibrant colours and flavours. When you visit Chengdu, make sure to try the renowned hot pot. It might look daunting at first, with a chilli-red soup that is filled to the brim with Sichuan peppers, but trust me, you’ll love it!
So, in my book the food point goes to Chengdu, I think.
Next up, scenery. This is a difficult one, because both cities have their own character and particularities. Chengdu is a fast-developing and growing city. Home to the immense global centre, impressive malls and striking roadwork, Chengdu’s cityscape is an awe-inspiring sight. Travel a little further out of the city however, and you’ll encounter beautiful mountains, hot springs and little villages. I particularly recommend climbing Emei Mountain and visiting the Giant Buddha at Leshan when you get the chance. And of course we cannot forget the Giant Panda Research Base. A must-see for cute and cuddly fans, and apart from watching the lazy giants munching away at bamboo, it’s also nice to simply stroll through the vast park of bamboo forests, lakes and gardens.
Qingdao on the other hand boasts long, sandy beaches, a beautiful sea side promenade, mountains in the middle of the city and captivating architecture both old and new. Admittedly, I haven’t explored Qingdao as much as Chengdu, but I look forward to discovering the city, the mountains and the seaside. Particularly the Old Town, in the West of Qingdao, is an area I would like to see more of. I have visited the old church and seen some of the German architecture, but I think it’s not something you can do in one afternoon.
So overall, both cities have a lot to offer from fantastic scenery to amazing food and rich culture. I miss Chengdu’s lifestyle and hope to return soon, but I am also loving my new life by the sea and beaches!
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Last week, the Qingdao InternChina team went out for lunch together in the Marina city in Qingdao. We feasted on noodles, rice, eggplant, spicy soup and only 27RMB per person (3 Euros). Full after the delicious meal, we went to McDonald’s for an unnecessary ice cream. It got me thinking how much western food chains have adapted to the Chinese market –when did they arrive here and what do they do differently?Firstly, western fast foods are still on the increase and the 2014 statistic that McDonald’s opens eight new restaurants a week in China says it all. In fact it is quite scary. Actually the growth rate of fast food in China has been growing more than 6.5% every year since 2010 – Imagine how many chicken nuggets are being consumed every day in a population of one billion…
The first time I arrived in Qingdao, I was craving a good coffee to wake me up for work at InternChina and when my colleague Becky mentioned that there was Starbucks, I grasped the opportunity during my first week. In most western places in China you always see western faces. Many come first and foremost for the atmosphere and to use the Internet and just to relax. For me, although I love my cafes and Frappuccinos, since I have been year for almost two months it’s hard to justify the 30RMB (3.50 Euros) price tag when you are paying less for a main meal for lunch or dinner Nowadays I go to Lomoka (a Chinese coffee place) It has lovely pastries a third of the price and the coffee is still delicious. It is nice also to support a Chinese brand instead!
KFC in China is pretty much Chinese through and through and has been very successful over here. In fact it is the most successful international brand of fast food in China. I personally love the popcorn chicken here as it is a little bit spicy. You would also be pleasantly surprised that they also do delivery here – great news if you are lazy like me! The main reason that KFC has become so popular in China is because the firm has fully embraced the Chinese concept of the commercial-public space.
In contrast to KFC’s more adaptive approach, McDonald’s has long sought to change and adapt the Chinese food culture into something something more similar as the thousands of restaurants they have in Europe and the U.S.A . An earlier adopter into the Chinese market, over time McDonald’s has succeeded in making its mark as a representative American institution but is not as successful in KFC and it will almost be impossible to catch up with them. Yes you can buy a simple hamburgers there, but you can also by rice dishes, wraps with rice, and a bannana pie – instead on the apple pie we have in the UK. Similary you can have normal ice cream but green tea ice cream which is also very delicious. With KFC and McDonald’s the price of meals are a lot less expensive than back home. China ranks around 15th as the cheapest country on the Big Mac Index – so for a meal we are looking around 18RMB (2 Euros); Eat your heart out!
Papa John’s is also very popular here, and I personally really enjoy having pizza once in a while here. Whilst researching the whereabouts in Qingdao, I found a review from a westerner living here. They were obviously unimpressed with the Chinese changes of the ‘mayonnaise’ Some tourists get very disheartened by slight edits in taste to their favorite brands back home. Don’t let this put you off but – expect some slightly”Chinesified” changes to your big brands as they do need to cater to their market here in China.
In addition there is also so much more fast food places that we know commonly in Europe and North America – subway, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee etc so when you come to visit China, have a look around. To conclude, the western fast food chain has made a massive impact on daily lives in China and is becoming more common place every day. As a foreigner visitor, it may be a comfort to know to your Big Mac and fries are waiting for you but it’s also refreshing that you can go and get some chicken feet from a supermarket 2 minutes away. I would recommend trying as much Chinese food and local dishes as possible, but if you are craving a burger or some sort of pizza sauce there is always something for you.
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If you are interested in China, your friends may have asked you all kinds of strange questions but without fail the conversation always turns to “Do they eat dogs and cats?”.
The answer is: Eating dogs and cats is becoming unpopular.
Having the second largest economy and some of the most developed cities; in China people are starting to prefer to keep cats and dogs as pets. There may be some restaurants selling dog meat, but if you ask local Chinese people where to get dog meat, they may be surprised or offended.
The Chinese government and also several animal rights activists as well as animal rescue teams are trying to ban the dog meat festival held in China.
I’ve often heard about foreigners who were, so to say, pressured by their Chinese host family, coworkers or friends to eat a lot and to try lots of different dishes.
BUT what you need to know about Chinese culture is…
No matter how much they may be eager to accept food, drink or gifts, proper Chinese etiquette prevents them from doing anything that makes them appear greedy or overly eager to receive them, so if you should politely refuse a couple of times before taking it. The same goes for compliments.
The next step is to never drink alcohol without offering a toast! This not only shows your gratitude toward the host and your regard for the other guests, but it also prevents you from drinking too much too quickly. If someone toasts you with a Ganbei be sure to watch out, Chinese know how to put a foreigner under the table in no time.
Also don’t worry about accessing your favourite websites here in China, as you can always rely on a VPN to surf the net.
When you arrive at the airport in China, don’t be surprised because you won’t necessarily be the tallest person in the room. Chinese people are getting quite tall these days, due to diet and advances in nutrition.
And last but not least: Do you REALLY think every Chinese person do these sorts of Kung Fu moves?
Trust me, this kind of thing does not happen (often).
But I’m sure you will enjoy your stay in China as much as I am!!!
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Last Friday we visited one our interns at work – we went to the “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair”. It is the largest fair of its kind in China and brings together hundreds of different wine dealers, beer/spirit companies and food chains here in Chengdu. It was also a very good opportunity for Western beer and spirits companies to enhance their visibility on the Chinese market. The fair was really, really big and for us, from the Chengdu office, it felt that something was definitely going down in the city. The streets were much busier than usual.
Luckily, Niels invited us to his company’s stall at the “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair”. Niels comes from the Netherlands and he is currently doing an internship with a German wine producer, selling German wine in Chengdu. He’s obviously learnt a lot during his internship as he could explain to us what kind of wine we were drinking, how it was produced, and why it was special and so on. So here we are in front of his company’s stand.
Having tasted some really enjoyable wines with Niels, we decided to walk around the fair. There were quite a few different foreign wine and beer companies from France and Germany. Although the beer they offered was rather standard, we were able to have a sip of each beer at mostly every stall we passed, so it was quite a pleasant visit!
The most interesting part for us was checking out the Chinese companies and how their alcohols differed from European wines and spirits. At one stand, there was a company that sold rice wine which tasted of cheese (well, it reminded us of cheese anyway). So that was actually a rather strange experience…. In yet another hall there were only baijiu companies. From my experience, I only know people who love baijiu or plainly hate the stuff. I am actually from the minority of (young Western) people who enjoy drinking baijiu whilst having Chinese dishes in the evening. So I had a decent sip of Moutai, which is considered to be one of the best baijius of China.
Finally, we let Niels continue with work at the wine stand and headed back home. It was a really nice experience to see both “Western” spirits as well as Chinese drinks all in one place, and to see the differences between them – both in terms of presentation and taste. The next “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair” is held in spring next year – so if you are interested in doing an internship with a company that is also joining “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair”, we are happy to arrange an internship for you! Apply Now!