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Nightlife In Saigon
Daily Life in Vietnam

Nightlife in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City is also known as Saigon. It is definitely a party city with a variety of bars and clubs to choose from. Of course, Saigon parties to late, and it seems like the perfect place to spend your time is around the Pham Ngu Lao district area. Due to its popularity among foreigners, it is usually called the backpacker district, right in the heart of the city. The Pham Ngu Lao area is made up of two parallel streets, the Bui Vien Street and the Pham Ngu Lao street. In between, there are small alleys connecting them.

The streets are full of light and people. Small shops tend to set up tables and chairs on the street and offer drinks. Pham Ngu Lao is where the expats and the locals come together to eat and drink. The most popular places to go around the area are the Go2 Bar, Allez Boo Bar, Crazy Buffalo Bar and The View Rooftop Bar at Duc Vuong Hotel Saigon, where, rumor has it, you can find beer for US$1!

Because they are the perfect place to enjoy the sunset, rooftops bars are really a thing in Saigon.  Enjoy the sunsets in one of the most exclusive rooftop bars in HCMC, Chill Skybar on the 26th floor of the AB Tower. If you can afford it and if you can get past the strict door policy, it is the place for a classy drink or a date. Glow Skybar and MGallery are favourite among expats and tourists.

Rooftop Bar

In case what you are looking for is to dance all night long, then Lush is your place.  It is probably the most famous nightclub in the city, especially among foreigners. Ladies’ Night is every Tuesday!

Live Music

Saigon has something for everyone. In some places in the city you can find good coffee shops with live music. Whether you are into rock or jazz or anything in between, you can go to Abracadabra Café, House 7 Café, Yen Café, Cúcuta Café, and others.

Live Music

Quiet Nights in Saigon

If all of this sounds like too much for you, there are some quiet activities you can do. Good for a quiet night out, the Bonsai Dinner Cruise takes you to a  journey down the Saigon River with live jazz music and traditional Vietnamese dance. Or enjoy a play, opera or even ballet shows at the Saigon Opera House.

Cruise

Nguyen Hue Walking Street is the place you wouldn’t want to miss. It is the perfect place for a night walk through the city. The visitors, the performers and the local shops create an upbeat atmosphere.

People say “Saigon never sleeps”. Well…there’s only one way to find out. Explore Saigon with us and Apply Now!

Internship Experience, Learn about China

Christmas in China

Christmas in China was very different from myself and the other interns are used to. After a few discussions about the differences in an Irish, Spanish and German Christmas, we ended up thinking about the very obvious differences we were going to experience in China.

InternChina-Merry-Christmas
InternChina- Merry Christmas

The first huge difference is that sadly Christmas isn’t a holiday in China, however the period is still full of the usual craziness I have come to expect from Qingdao. Hong Kong and Macau however do celebrate Christmas on the 25th December with a public holiday!

Christmas Eve, a quiet night in with family for me at home and the day of the main event for the Spanish and German interns, sees apples sold in brightly coloured paper because the Chinese for Christmas Eve, “Ping An Ye” (meaning quiet or silent night) sounds similar to the Chinese for apple, “Ping Guo”. Secondly, in the food court beside the Qingdao office it would seem that unfortunately, Jingle Bells is the only Christmas carol known.

InternChina- Wrapped-apples
InternChina- Wrapped Apples

While Christmas isn’t widely celebrated across China, it is becoming more well known and in the cities which are aware of the holiday the decorations are big and beautiful. There is certainly very little evidence of the religious aspects of the holiday, however the traditional icons such as trees, lights, snowmen and reindeer appear everywhere. Some Chinese people know the Christmas tree as a “Tree of Light”, and they are often decorated with paper chains, flowers and lanterns, rather than the usual baubles, angels and tinsel.

Christmas for many in the West is an obvious religious holiday as well as being a time to spend with family and friends, but for those in China who do choose to celebrate, it is a time for family and friends with very few people actually being aware that Christmas is a religious holiday. I was invited by a Chinese friend to attend church on Christmas Eve though which I found surprising!

One major concern for us was the lack of Christmas markets, but luckily for Qingdao we had our very own traditional German market to attend… complete with glühwein, a nativity scene, a huge Christmas tree and ” weckmännchen” (think of a fat gingerbread man, made of bread, complete with a small clay pipe.)

Our weekly Thursday dinner was spent trying to find a suitable substitute for a traditional Christmas dinner… but of course, what was traditional for each of the interns was very different. There were an abundance of both Chinese and Western restaurants offering Christmas dinner and buffets, so we were spoiled for choice either way. In Qingdao and Zhuhai we were lucky enough to have a traditional home cooked Christmas dinner, and Chengdu were treated to a Christmas buffet, so the Chinese food didn’t disappoint on this occasion!

Some of the Qingdao interns also took a trip to Harbin over the Christmas weekend to visit the Ice Festival, while Zhuhai spent the weekend practicing their archery… so none of us had a “traditional” Christmas, but we had fun experiencing something new! Among the crazy decorations, continuously amazing Chinese food and good company, Christmas in China was another fantastic experience for all of us.

Now to see how New Year’s Eve is celebrated!

Chengdu Business, China Business Blogs, Events in Chengdu

Russian – Chinese New Year Party

If you get the chance to attend a business event in China, you may find that it is quite different from what we’re used to back home. As most Chinese traditions revolve around food, many business meetings are also held at lunches or dinners, varying from small meals to extravagant banquets. A few of our InternChina Chengdu team had the pleasure of attending one of our partner companies’ events this week.
Not really knowing what to expect, Trainee office manager Paul, Chengdu office intern Helen, and myself, made our way to the venue in the South of Chengdu. We were greeted at the reception with our name tags and were asked to leave behind a name card. Then we were presented with a little gift-bag each (small presents from the host are not uncommon in China) and shown to our table. The venue was impressive – large round tables crowded the room, with screens along the walls and a stage at one end. The theme was ‘Russian-Chinese New Year Party’, and Russian folk music was straining the speakers.

Throughout the meal (which was exquisite) there were speeches, short performances and presenting of awards.

Even one of the interns who we had placed with the company, performed a short sketch in Chinese!

InternChina – Caspar performing his sketch

Our name cards were used to select the winner for an ‘apple note book’ – 苹果牌笔记本 pingguo pai bijiben – but what they actually received was an apple, a pack of cards and a paper note book!*

To our pleasant surprise, Paul was also called on stage to receive an award for ‘Best Strategic Partner 2013’! It was an honour to receive an award from our partner company, especially as we have only been in Chengdu for less than a year. We look forward to a continued successful partnership with them and we will strive to send more interns there in the future!

InternChina – Paul on stage for his award

It was a very enjoyable gathering, with fantastic networking opportunities and just overall a lot of fun!

Apply for an internship now and experience a business event for yourself!

*苹果牌笔记本 actually means Apple Notebook, however 牌, which means brand, is also the word for ‘cards’, hence when one separates the words you get apple, cards, and notebook.

 

Cultural, Events in Qingdao, How-to Guides, Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao InternChina Events

How to make home-made dumplings

Hi guys, this is Stephan from InternChina. As this is my last week in China before heading back to Germany for Christmas, this will be my last blog for you. In this one I will explain to you how to make dumplings on your own at home.
Last Saturday we met in our apartment with a group of friends to have a farewell dinner along with some home-made dumplings. As Leo and Amber are masters in the art of making dumplings, they were the ones teaching us. And it turned out to be a real fun night.

 

making chinese dumplings
making dumplings

The Chinese name for dumplings is Jiǎo Zi. In China making and eating dumplings together is an important, traditional activity. Dumplings are made with a wrapper and a filling. The wrapper is made from flour and water, the fillings on the other hand can vary a lot.

We created 3 different fillings, one consisting of eggs and vegetables and the other two being a mixture of pork and various vegetables. So let me break down for you on how to make dumplings step by step.

dumpling meat Fillings
Preparing the Fillings

Step 1: Get the wrappers. You can choose to either make them on your own or you buy some that are already prepared. We decided to get prepared wrappers and focus on the fillings.

Step 2: Prepare the fillings. Clean the meat and vegetables and cut them into small pieces. Prepare different bowls for the different fillings. If you do an egg filling, cook the eggs in advance. Then start mixing things up the way you want it to be.

Egg filling for home-made Dumplings
Egg filling for home-made Dumplings

Step 3: Add things like cooking wine, soy sauce, ginger, onions, salt and different spices to get the typical Chinese taste of dumplings. Don’t be shy with adding a lot of these ingredients!

making jiaozi
making jiaozi

Here comes the fun part. Now it is time to get the filling in the wrapper. There are various techniques to do it.

Step 4 Beginners: Put the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold and pinch the wrapper in the middle first and then work the right and left side. At the beginning you might find it hard to do but with each one you will get better.

Step 4 Advanced: If the usual way of putting dumplings together gets boring, you can live out your whole creativity and find new forms to make some nice Jiǎo Zi.

dumpling shapes
dumpling shapes

Step 5: The final step is to get your prepared dumplings ready and cook them for around 7 minutes in boiling water. After this, get together with your friends to enjoy your hard work.

Personal Tip: Snicker-Dumplings – this is by no way a traditional Chinese dumpling, but you should still do it. Buy some snickers, cut it into pieces and get it into the wrappers. Then cook it the usual way and enjoy it as a dessert.

snickers dumplings
snickers dumplings

If you would like to do an internship with us and learn how to cook some traditional Chinese food, apply now!

Cultural, Eating Out in Chengdu, Eating out in Zhuhai, Qingdao Eating Out Guide

How to say Bon Appétit in Chinese

In the UK, USA, Germany, France and lots of other Western countries, it is customary to say something like “bon appétit” or “Guten Appetit” to each other before starting a meal. Many of InternChina’s interns, especially the ones living with a Chinese host family, have this question:  how do you say “bon appétit” in Chinese?  When my Chinese friends and I heard this question we were stumped for an answer.

My answer is: we don’t say it normally.

How to say Bon Appetit

If you say it according to your translation software or dictionary it would be something like “zhù nǐ wèi kǒu hǎo” 祝你胃口好! Chinese people will either not understand it or think you are being funny. We don’t say it this way.
But, in some cases we use some similar words to express our friendship and thanks. However, these will usually be said by the hosts, and if used in the wrong way, or said by the wrong people, it may seem awkward and strange.

internchina gan bei
internchina gan bei

So what can you say??
 

1. “chī hǎo hē hǎo” 吃好喝好

Which literally translates as “eat well and drink well”. It actually means “enjoy your meal”, however, and is said by the host. At larger events, with more than one table such as birthdays, weddings and business events, the host or representative will usually come over to each table to great the guests.

2. “màn màn chī” 慢慢吃

This literally means “eat slow”.
This saying has the same meaning as “chī hǎo hē hǎo” .  Or you are really eating too fast, and people are trying to warn you to as it’s bad for your health.  🙂

3. “qǐng màn yòng” 请慢用

Literally means “please have it slow”, but a more correct translation is “here is your meal/drink, enjoy it”, and is used by waiters/waitresses in restaurants/bars only.
Similar words like “màn zǒu”慢走 on the surface means “walk slow” its real meaning is “take care on the way”.

internchina dinner qingdao
internchina dinner qingdao

4. “chī chī chī” 吃吃吃

Literally means “eat, eat, eat”, though it can be translated as “let’s start to eat and enjoy the meal”.
Again said by the host, it is normally only used when there is a small group of close friends or family members at the table. This phrase is very popular and if you live with a host family you will hear this a lot. It’s important for you to know the actual meaning of the phrase, otherwise it could seem like they are being very rude in ordering to eat a lot.
Some Chinese people like to say kāi chī  开吃 (start eating), kāi dòng  开动 (start), dòng kuài zi  动筷子 (start) …. Of course the expressions can vary  in different dialects in China, but if you follow my phrases then you will get by just fine!

Would you like to enjoy a delicious meal in China? Then join us for an intership in Chengdu, Qingdao or Zhuhai!

Cultural

Chris learns to make jiao zi

Coming home from a long day at work in the InternChina Chengdu office, I was surprised to find my host family’s grandmother cooking in the kitchen. Being the courteous young man I am, I immediately dropped my things and went in to investigate, only to discover her chopping furiously away at a couple of poor cabbages. With my limited Mandarin skills, I managed to figure out she was preparing the ingredients needed for jiao zi (饺子, also known as dumplings), a well-known staple of Chinese cuisine.
With a huge butcher cleaver in my hand, I went to work on the cabbages and proceeded to shred them as finely as possible. Mixing in a series of green onions, ginger, and spices into the minced pork meat, the filling was relatively easy to get done.  The REAL challenge came with the skins.

As she proceeded to deftly roll out the jiao zi skins one by one I struggled for a good five minutes on mine, ending with this result. Hardly round and not even symmetrical, I had to restart and practice on this one many times!

But after a few more tries, I think I got the hang of it.

Afterwards the jiao zi were filled and nicely folded (at least 姥姥’s were). Mine continue to be a work in progress!

There are various ways to cook jiao zi, including steaming them, cooking them in soup, and frying them.

Overall a pretty interesting experience, considering how easy it is to eat a jiao zi compared to the effort needed to make it. After making them for about three hours, we have enough to last us the month!

Some history on jiao zi: Originally called “tender ears”, jiao zi were used to treat frost-bitten ears in the north of China. No longer restricted to the north, jiao zi are as versatile as they come.  Eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and served as entrees, appetizers, and main meals, the jiao zi is the jack of all trades for Chinese cuisine. Never out of place at any time of the day, there are no limits on how and when these delicious dumplings can be eaten!

Would you like to learn all the secrets of traditional Chinese cuisine? Apply now for an internship or send us an email for more information.

Homestay Experience

Meeting a new host family

On Monday, Sunny, our Customer Relations Manager in Zhuhai, asked me if I would like to come with her and visit a new homestay family. My Chinese is still very basic and I was afraid that not being able to communicate with them would make things awkward, but of course I was excited to meet a family that could potentially become one of our interns’ host family!
After a few minutes of asking around to find the right building, we arrived at the apartment. They opened up and quickly welcomed us inside. First we met the host dad, host mum and their 11-year-old son. They were very nice and accommodating, even though I could understand very little of what they said.

Sunny is an expert in finding great host families for our interns!

Then they gave us a tour of the apartment. It was a very nice, clean and cozy home, with a few bedrooms and even a studio full of books! In the son’s bedroom we met the grandparents, who were also really friendly and sweet. We went back into the living room and there Sunny began talking to the mum and dad about Intern China and the students that come do internships and live in homestays. Meanwhile, I had a very pleasant chat with their son, who was very keen on practising his English and I was more than happy to help! As it turns out, he loves basketball and is an avid drummer.

Even though we were only planning a short visit, they invited us for dinner and the food smelled so yummy we couldn’t refuse. It was a very nice meal with lots of vegetables, rice and some lamb. I was reminded of my own childhood when the host mum gave her son a small plate with ketchup on it, so that he would eat all his food!

After dinner we went back to the living room for some tea, chatted for a few more minutes and then took our leave. With lots of smiles and “thank yous”, we said our goodbyes and left. It was a great experience for me, to be welcomed so warmly into someone’s home, by a family who is very excited about the prospect of providing a home away from home to one of our future interns.

Our homestay families are always very warm and welcoming with guests

Find out more about our Intern China homestay programme! Apply now or email us for more information.

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.

Internship Experience

Hi I am Balthasar

Hello, I’m Balthasar Liu and I’m a newly-graduated student from college of foreign languages, University-Qingdao. I am major in intercultural German study, and have spent half a year in Bayreuth, Bavaria as exchange-student, where I became a rather good cook (courtesy of studying abroad). Once I made pizza (from dough kneading to baking) for my classmates there, and two whole pizza disappeared in less than 5 minutes.I was supposed to(and of course would gladly) continue my study next year in Jena or Nurnberg, Germany, which means I have a nice and long vacation till then. But who would spend such precious time just sitting at home doing nothing meaningful? Not for me! So I decide to experience the life that normal salarymen have: working from 9am-5pm and making money for housekeeping.
My first “job” was in a marine manufacturing company doing some translating and making contact with foreign clients. It’s quite a long way from where I live to where I work, I need to wake up at 6:30 am everyday for the time spent on road was about one hour. The work was rather interesting but I couldn’t learn more other than yachts and boats. Then one of my mother’s associate recommended me going to Internchina, said it could greatly improve my communication competence. And now, here I am, in Internchina, and I must say, it feels great!!! I can find almost everything I once dreamt of from work: free and relaxed office-atmosphere, kind colleagues and considerate boss. My daily work is to help the foreign students who come to China find accommodation such as homestay family or apartment, provide necessary help if anything goes wrong and offer them internship opportunities. I study intercultural communication in university so this is the best place for me to do what I’m taught for. When I was alone in Germany I can find many cultural shocks and stereotypes locals hold for us Chinese, and I’m sure same could happen here. And it will be my job to prevent cultural shock turning into misunderstanding. Feels like a lot of responsibilities and I’m ready for it!

Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao InternChina Events, Things To Do in Qingdao

Beach Volleyball

It has been awhile since my last blog post and a lot of things have happened since then. Last Sunday, Intern China organized beach volleyball at Shi Lao Ren beach for all the interns and Intern China staff. The weather was good and we all ended up having a great time! After the beach volleyball, me and some other interns went to have dinner at Carnegie’s. I truly recommend Carnegie’s because the food there is really good.
Today, our office manager in Qingdao finally came back from her university tour in Germany. Welcome back Jenny! We’ve missed you! As we have many new interns this week, we thought it would be a great idea to bring all interns together for dinner this Friday night. I will make sure to update information about our coming Friday dinner!