The best China travel stories from around the net

by James Weir
Posted: December 19th, 2011 | Updated: January 11th, 2012 | Comments
China travel features_china travel news_china travel blogs_china travel stories Meat in China We read a lot about travel over the course of one week and, after much sifting and sorting, we've rounded up a few of our favorites. From news and reviews to great blog posts, unusual destinations and travel stories, read on for our picks. >>> For the relocated foreigner or the temporary tourist, the question of food origin (and safety) is a common one. Concerns about the cleanliness of the tap water are omnipresent in discussions with those preparing to travel to China, and for those limited by a lack of Chinese language skills, the big question posed in many a hole-in-the-wall joint is this: what is that thing? Well, the basic answers are: no, as a general rule you should not drink the tap water, and for question number two, the most likely answer is meat, and it will be delicious. But as any foreigner who has tried to buy bacon or a rib-eye steak at a wet market here knows, the cuts of meat common among Chinese butchers bear little resemblance to what we would recognize in the West. So a couple of foreigners in Kunming decided to take matters into their own hands, butchered a pig themselves and shared the tale on Go Kunming. They purchased an organic wild boar from a farm outside of the city, had it butchered by the farmhands (they don't go into the specifics, but I will say this: the one experience I had with butchering a pig in Vermont involved a 9mm handgun, a jackknife, buckets of blood and a two-handled saw—it is not for the faint of heart, to be sure) and went to work turning it into a medley of saliva-inducing delights. So go ahead and tuck into some prosciutto, sausage and bacon hand-made in China, among other things I'm too hungry to delve into here. (More after the jump... )
  • Before we move on from food, I'd like to direct you all to this post about Dongbei (Dōngběi, 东北), or northeastern Chinese, restaurant in London. Written by Fuchsia Dunlop, an expert on Chinese cuisine, it gives hope to all of us who wish to continue our love affair with Mainland cuisine long after we depart China, and who will never be able to go back to enjoying westernized Chinese food.
  • What is a Chinese banquet without baijiu (báijiǔ, 百酒)? Other than a more pleasant experience, I'm not really sure. The grain based distilled liquor is strong, to say the least, and has caused much pain to those who weren't prepared for the shock of imbibing the stuff. One foreigner is blogging about his experience as he tries to adapt to the troublesome spirit. Some have argued that it takes 300 glasses of baijiu before it becomes enjoyable, so that is what he plans to do, whatever the cost. Check out the inaugural VPN or proxy in China to get around the Great Firewall).
  • Living and working in China, I'm often talking and reading about the shock of living in a place so very different from what I've always known. So I was particularly interested to stumble across this account of a Chinese student living and studying in America on The Atlantic, and was delighted to find it engaging, thoughtful, interesting and familiar through and through. We may have different customs, eating habits and political structures, but the sense of feeling displaced and the bafflement over the strangeness of what we don't know is comfortingly recognizable.
  • This is over a year old, but it's super awesome and deserves to be seen, so I've included it in this week's links. It's a series of photographs, taken by Jonah Kessel, of Rooftop of the World.
  • And finally, some culture to round things out. Our pals over at Chengdu Living are continuing their series on art in China, this time with a profile of He Duoling. It's the second installment in the series, and like the first part, it makes me excited to read the next story.
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