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Questions about China

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by nineartgocurlecheile, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. shakes1616

    shakes1616 Occasional commenter

    What's wrong with Chinese people and wacky food they eat? Don't they like western food? Ditto Korea and Japan.
  2. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    Certainly do not imagine that a city with a high population will mean a commensurate number of amenities. If you are below a second tier city, then you are not going to have a huge expat population, but it will be there.

    I took umbrage above at the idea that Shanghai was the only nice place to live in Shanghai. Having spent years living in Chengdu in the past, and having been to other cities that I prefer to Shanghai, it is not the be all and end all.

    If you cannot cook, or restaurants and Kate and Kimi delivery are the only ways that you can survive, then by all means stick to the tier one cities.

    Places not having exactly the same as home does not make them hardship postings.
  3. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I just wish there was a restaurant called the the Bamboo Temple in Shanghai like the one from my home town. If you go to a Chinese restaurant here in China you can't order Sweet and Sour pork or even Stir Fry Chicken, the waiter has no idea what you are talking about. The same issue I had in Madras trying to order a Chicken Vindaloo. Then all the Chicken dishes come complete with feet, heads,every single bone in the chickens skeleton and absolutely no meat! Its a question I would like to find an answer to, where does all the meat go to in China? All the meat dishes you order will come with the amount of meat you need a microscope to see but plentiful skin and bones!

    It generally the small things that get you down in China and gradually build up to frustration overload. One of these is the drudgery of the weekly shop. Here in Shanghai I can complete the weekly grocery shop in 15min on a Monday evening. If need its a 200m walk from Carrefour to the expensive expat store that sells Marmite, Bisto and Hot Madras curry powder. Shanghai likes sweet food and they even add sugar to the bread!

    Its nice to visit rural undeveloped China for a few days but eventually I do like to sit down when I go to the toilet!
  4. Bill8899

    Bill8899 New commenter

    That's the annoying thing about China. They don't have the fake 'Chinese' restaurants like my hometown. And where are the fortune cookies? I really like fortune cookies.

    And no Chinatowns? Goodness gracious China is definitely different. Anyway you can get almost any food stuff delivered. Ask your friends when you arrive.
  5. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Perhaps you need to ask a Chinese person for help?
    I had sweet and sour pork, noodles and some lovely stir fried vegetables for dinner yesterday. Even had the pineapple in it just like home. And the 4 dishes for 2 people with drinks came to under £9 (it was a nice restaurant).
    That food was Cantonese.

    I hate food with bones in so don't order it. You buy the 10rmb dish, you're going to not have the great cuts (but still lots of flavour). If you spent 25rmb, you're going to get the nicer cuts of meat.

    They're chickens aren't fattened up like English ones as they don't really do a roast with them (but I did used to go to a beautiful roast chicken shop before moving house).

    The bread is super sweet...i just buy the unsweetened bread from the supermarket. Its only about 5.5rmb and normal tasting.

    I've yet to order any meat or pies or dishes made by expats. I occasionally do fancy them. They are more expensive. Around 40rmb for 6 Lincolnshire sausages (as an example). But that's delivered to your door and they are tasty. Many friends buy them a regular treats.

    I do admit to having a friend bring Marmite during their last trip home (and I once took some from a hotel breakfast buffet) but other than that you can get pretty much anything.

    Taobao is unrivalled compared to ordering online in UK.
  6. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The food served in Chinese restaurants in the UK is based on Cantonese food from Hong Kong. A great chain of restaurants in Shanghai is the Hong Kong Cafe that serves Chinese food as we Brits know it.

    Some great food is served in a series of restaurants attached to shopping malls usually under the title of Megabytes. A good bowl of beef noodles and a beer can be yours for less than 2.50GBP.

    But once you are living in a 3rd or 4th tier city the food will be bones with everything. If you are in Sichuan province you may get 3rd degree burns from the food dishes served, even for breafast the hot spicy noodles are dangerous.

    There is a large difference living in a 1st, 2nd tier city compared to the rest of China. Don't let the silky tongue recruitment agent fool you into life been easy out in the provinces.

    Just check the city has an IKEA, Carrefour and High Speed Train Station before accepting any jobs out in the sticks.(sometimes the highspeed train station is the only place in a city of 5million people where you can find a Starbucks and a McDonald's)
  7. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Really febster what planet have you been on for the last fifty years!! The whole thing about Westerners changing foreign food to suit their own palate has been done to death!!!! From Chop Suey being an American invention or to make Chicken Tikka Masala just add a can of Heinz tomato soup to Butter Chicken!!! And as for buying food from a furniture shop!! Time to phone the men in white coats :rolleyes:
    TeacherMan19 likes this.
  8. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Don't mock IKEA until you have been in China as long as I have dear Mak.

    My entire kitchen utensil from IKEA. My entire bed linen and quilts from IKEA. My entire towel collection from IKEA. My entire apartment is illuminated from IKEA. The imported food section in IKEA has just been quadrupled in size due to popular demand.

    If IKEA did condoms.....
  9. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter


    PS: at the IKEA in GZ the biggest seller is the 1 yuan ice cream cone.
  10. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    Honestly. It is really strange how my experience bears no resemblance to yours whatsoever. I started in a 4th tier city in China, and still dream about the food there. We will be going back on a holiday this year expressly for the purpose of eating the amazing food, both in fancy restaurants, but more likely in delicious local noodle places that cost considerably less that 20 Yuan for a bowl, and little dish restaurants that slay most chinese restaurants in Shanghai with ease, despite costing less than half.

    Knock many things about living in smaller cities, but like as not, the local food will be pretty awesome.
  11. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    As much as I am usually in agreement with @february31st on China matters, my experience was that once you left Shanghai you could get some amazing Chinese food.

    I really didn’t rate much of the Chinese food in Shanghai and in particular Shanghaiese local cuisine.
  12. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Before you go eating 5rmb noodles from street vendors,I would check you medical insurance. Don't even think about asking what animal the meat comes from, but it probably was called "Fluffy Paws".

    I would start in the high end restaurants first and after a year move down a level, it takes 2 or 3 years of "bacterial" exposure to build up your intestinal fortitude for on the street eating.

    But if you are interested in eating roast snake on a stick(you pay more if its a poisonous variety )or scorpion soup, there is plenty on offer around China.
  13. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    Agree with the totality of that statement. Feb 31 is on of my go to posters for talking sense about China, but even the Shanghainese do not pretend to be able to hold a candle to food from places even as close as Hangzhou.

    I find that it is always a search to find which imported Chinese cuisine outlets in Shanghai are the most authentic to what you can get in the real place.

    Go Chongqing!
  14. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    China is like every other country in the world as it has great places to visit, but i wouldn't necessarily want to live in these places long term.(Pandas are great to see in the zoo occasionally,but the truth is they smell,extremely aggresive,don't do anything interesting and how can a city make an industry out of Panda breeding )

    When deciding to "work abroad" long term in a foreign destination you need to make sure your destination has the following in no particular order.

    Grocery shopping
    Doctors/medical services
    International banking
    Decathlon (good clothing,winter coats)
    High Speed Internet
    International Airport
    Postal Service
    Decent Accommodation
    Bar/Restaurants for socializing
    Weekend getaways
    Transportation links
    Local Driving Licence

    If you have children the list would be far far far longer.

    If you are considering China do it now before the new Tax regulations kick off in 18 months.
    mermy likes this.
  15. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    I lived in Guilin in 1998 and even then there were 10 foreigners living in a city of 1,000,000. So the chances of third and fourth tier cities (whatever that really means) having zero foreigners in 2020 is very hard to believe.

    I'm of an age where I appreciate a few comforts and prefer to live in a more cosmopolitan city. But when I was young my ideal location would have been a hostel between Lhasa and Everest.

    What I'm saying is, there are awesome experiences to be had all over China. There's no part of China that isn't the real China, but Shanghai is the most sterilised version (and maybe Shenzhen and Guangzhou). China is so much more than that. I started travelling in China in 1997 when I travelled from Pakistan into Xinjiang. I've lived in six cities in (greater) China. Each of them were unique and each of them had their strengths and weaknesses.

    A big salary and a percentage of foreigners in your school isn't the be all and end all. In fact. Higher wages can be found in more remote provinces too.

    What experience do you want?
    skvo likes this.
  16. snowflakesfalling

    snowflakesfalling Occasional commenter

    What does 3rd tier/4th tier city mean?
  17. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Tier 1st cities where the original self governing areas of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen and the like, provincial capitals. Tier 2nd are the likes of Hangzhou and Nangjing. If the city doesn't have an IKEA its definitely 3rd or 4th.

    But it originally comes down to an old government development plan where there was a list of 1st cities to be developed followed by a 2nd,3rd and 4th list to be built up.
  18. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

  19. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    Interesting to compare the lists -



    The cities in each level are certainly not equal.

    Also confirms my confusion at giving Suzhou such a hard time. It is a nice place! Try living in Zhengzhou on for size.
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I only went to the IKEA in Shenzhen a couple of times. It was not an enjoyable experience. First of all, the store always seemed to be PACKED and the Chinese have a strange attitude to IKEA. They think that it is some sort of giant playroom or party venue. There were people siting or lying down on the beds, with lots of children jumping up and down and generally making chaos. Some shoppers were even sitting down and having a picnic. Bizarre.
    kpjf likes this.

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