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Chinese Festivals, Cultural

The Winter Solstice

Do you know the Winter Solstice? Have you heard of solar term?

The Winter Solstice in China

There are 24 solar terms in a year in Chinese calendar, such as Spring begins, Great heat – The Winter Solstice is the 22nd solar term in a year, most times it’s on 22nd Dec (sometimes on 21st or 23rd) and it is the day that the sun radiates the earth on the tropic of Capricorn directly, so the daytime is shortest and the night is the longest in the Northern Hemisphere during the whole year. In ancient China, people thought the day was important, it was worth being celebrated.

The way to celebrate
The history of celebrating the Winter Solstice can be tracked back to Han Dynasty, but the way to celebrate is different from today, it was more grand in ancient times. Almost all the emperors paid attention to the Winter Solstice, even the emperors in Qing Dynasty attended the ceremony every year to celebrate.

InternChina – We Make Dumplings

Nowadays in northern China, people always make and eat dumplings with the family to celebrate. Why do people eat dumplings on the Winter Solstice? Because there is a story: if you don’t eat dumplings on the Winter Solstice, your ears will be frozen off in winter! Of course it’s fake. People made up the story to let all people eat dumplings and drink the soup of dumplings to keep warm in cold winter and to keep the memory of Chinese Medicine holy.
People in southern China eat glue pudding and something else instead of dumplings to celebrate, such as red bean rice in Jiangnan area, rice balls in some other areas in southern China.

Is there any tradition in your country to celebrate the Winter Solstice? Please share with us! Come to China, live in a host family and learn more about Chinese culture: or check out our website

By Amber
How-to Guides

The InternChina Chopsticks Guide

…a how-to behave in a Chinese restaurant

We Westerners are used to a quite strict etiquette, especially when dining is concerned (don’t put your elbows on the table, don’t smack, don’t …), so when foreigners go to a Chinese restaurant for the first time, it often seems like there are no rules at all.

I asked my Chinese colleague Xavier if there are any criteria on how to use chopsticks and he immediately created a little guide for us, with all the rules he learned from his grandparents.
Behold, there are quite a few things to remember when using chopsticks!

1) Don’t dig in the food on a plate, just get the piece which you want to eat.
2) Don’t pick one piece, then drop it back on the plate and change to another piece.
3) Don’t let your chopsticks be covered with oil, just try to keep them as clean as possible.
4) Don’t use your chopsticks to make noise (like pretending to be a drummer using the bowls on the table).
5) Don’t wave your chopsticks.
6) Don’t use chopsticks like a fork.
7) Don’t use your chopsticks as toothpicks.
8) Don’t lick or suck on your chopsticks.
9) Don’t put chopsticks vertically in any ricebowl since it resembles the incense sticks for the dead.

Remeber this guideline and you will never have any problems in a Chinese restaurant! 🙂

Come to China to try out your chopstick knowledge: Apply now via email or through our website!

Qingdao Eating Out Guide

Pursuit of Delicacy in Qingdao

InternChina – Stir-Fried Clam in Hot Pepper

When talking about China, what kind of stereotype-images do people usually have? Food! Of course! In our history of over 5000 years, eating is never the second most important issue. There is a proverb in China: Food is the paramount necessity of the people. The Chinese consider food as some kind of sacred existence; therefore it is blasphemy to make food which tastes bad. In that case, Chinese food is considered to be one of the most delicious and the third healthiest food in the world.
Ok, this article is not about giving a history lesson or bragging about food of my motherland, but to give some hints or advice about finding the most yummy food in Qingdao, so let’s get to POINT!
First of all, I want introduce some of our local specialty to you: Clams, Beer and street BBQ!
Qingdao is a coastal city, so seafood is the most important part of our daily dishes. Among them, clam is a Qingdaoers’ favorite.
Stir-fried Clam in Hot Pepper(辣炒蛤蜊), the typical Qingdao-style.

InternChina – Qingdao Beer

The brewery in Qingdao is inheritance of German Colony, best beer in China and contains only one-third of alcohol compared to Western beer. I’m not a drinker so I don’t know how to describe the tastes of it, best to find out yourself!. 😉

InternChina – Street BBQ

Almost every summer evening, you can see people drinking beer along with Clams in biergarten, sometimes also with BBQ. Our BBQ is kind of like Greek kebab, with stick. So far the street BBQ received the best comments from our Interns and students, and they come for a reason!

There are so many places where you can have this marvelous combination. Meidaer(美达尔)is one of the top ten local restaurants in Qingdao, and it’s also a chain store, so there should be no problems finding. Also, the street BBQs near Qingdao-University are also worth a visit.

Then, some Korean and Japanese restaurants.
As a matter of its QTH, there are plenty Japanese and Korean living in Qingdao, so restaurants of theirs are not rare to see, however the good ones are.
Speaking of Japanese food, the first impression would be Sushi and Sashimi. Actually there are more not only delicious but also artistic dishes in Japanese food. A Japanese Buffet named DoZo(Japanese: Please) Food Galley is a good choice. They provide both traditional Japanese dishes like sashimi , sushi and Tempura, and some creative new dishes, which can offer a whole new experience. There are two here, one in Hisense-Platz and the other in Polar Ocean World.

InternChina – Vegetables

InternChina – Korean BBQ Done
InternChina – Korean BBQ

And for Korean food, it’s not proper to comment without knowing enough of it, what I can say about it is their BBQ are great!

Also, the way of eating is interesting. You need to put the roasted meat in a slice of salad(or other leaf shape vegetables), and then add some specially-made BBQ sauce, paprika and garlic slice on it. Hmm~ So yummy~

InternChina – Dumplings
InternChina – Mutton Soup

And at last, some “old-school-style” Chinese food.
Nowadays, traditional Chinese food has encountered challenges from foreign food and fast-food. So they changed a lot to adopt the new situation, which causes what we eat now to taste quite different from before. So I am gonna introduce some places where you can have the real original Chinese food.
The first one is a mutton soup restaurant “羊香斋” located in No.1 Mai Dao Road. Mutton soup is one of the traditional foods in North China. They offer the best and most traditional mutton soup(which might be a little oily) you can find in Qingdao, along with mutton soup-dumplings(only available at noon, they get sold out very soon) and sesame bread(烧饼)

InternChina – Hot Fried Chicken
InternChina – Beef Filet with Hang-Pepper
InternChina – Tomato Oxtail Soup

And the other restaurant provides foods which is more south-China style. The Little Kirin Private Cuisine(小麒麟私房菜), located in No. 175, Hai Kou Road, offers wonderful Clay-Pot soup, the tastes and aroma of which are much more smooth and foreigner-friendly, and south-China dishes such like Sautéed Beef Filet with Hot Green Pepper. They mark their best dishes in red, so it won’t be too hard for you to make an order.

At last, I wish you luck and good appetite in the pursuit of real Delicacy.