Balanced Subtleties of a Chinese Banquet

Writing by: Chris

Editing by: Lance Crayon

I recently went to a party, well, it was more like a house warming event of sorts, that turned into a marathon drinking session.

My third uncle on my father’s had driven back from Nanjing with his wife and mother (my grandmother).

Zhigong (Strive for Achievements) invited our family to his son Dale’s (Big Happiness) newly decorated home located at Hongze county.

We – my mother, wife, daughter and me drove to the party held at the county from Huai’an city, but missed the first procedure for such a celebration – seeing the new house. Read more

Omtitolt: a disease suffered by many Chinese people

After a careful inspection for about half an hour, the only staff of this mobile phone repair store, who is also its boss and in his early 30s, told me to come back the next afternoon. He said he would need a part which is at his home, to make my phone detect SIM cards.

This is the only mobile phone repair store on the bustling street of Huai’an I live by, and on its wall hanging a notice, saying “even if you choose to not repair your phone, you should pay 10 yuan for disassembling it.” The handwriting is crooked, just like the face of the boss, and on the opposite wall there is a calligraphy, which writes “天道酬勤” – “God rewards the diligent” and is just as awkward.

Anyhow, we’ve made a deal that the repair fee is 90 yuan. Read more

Experience the Harmony of Liyun River Park

Tramcar in Huai’an

The delicate jingle-jangle sounds of small bells ringing in the air harkens back to the days of a Shanghai Bund depicted in television historical dramas. But as your eyes open, you discover it’s not the past you’ve been standing in, but rather a present-day Huai’an in the middle of what is arguably the city’s finest outdoor setting, the Liyun River Park.

Beside the park, visitors can ride in a tramcar that runs alongside the Liyun River (its Chinese name “里运河” means “Inner Great Canal” literally), a sight similar to Shanghai’s Huangpu River.

Trestle along Liyun River

The Liyun River Park was established in 2012 and is a narrow stretch of land that runs into the river. One has to remind themselves that they’re actually in a park.

There’s a sculpture on display and a small plaza complete with a lawn ideal for small children who enjoy running on grass. Wooden benches and pavilions are available for those who have food and desire a place to enjoy a meal with friends and family. Maidenhair trees, willows, and a wooden trestle run along the riverbank’s edge. Read more

Living in the throes of development

“These are the throes of a developing city,” read a message on a local online forum. Many citizens of Huai’an are having a hard time sleeping at night with the sounds of jackhammers and cranes running in the background. If modernization has a sound, then this is it.

In July, massive construction projects began inside the city’s Economic Development Zone (EDZ). Prior to this the sites under development had been deserted for years.

Supposedly, the development is meant to ease pressure on the local housing market. Last year many older homes in Huai’an were demolished. And although the people who lost their homes were financially compensated, they were still without a place to live. Without much to choose from, many of them turned to the EDZ to buy a new home, with their new money.

Huai’an Ecological New City

The EDZ is a relatively new district. It sits close to the Ecological New City, an area where the new municipal government building and other so-called modern architectural wonders sit.

The migration of the municipal government brought superior medical and educational resources, and in turn, increased housing prices. Read more

Huai’an: Behavior warp in the modern era

When it comes to e-commerce, China is the undisputed leader. In small cities like Huai’an, WeChat and Alipay have become so ingrained in everyday life that if one of those platforms crashed, widespread chaos would erupt.

Anyway, a few odd customs and traditions remain in today’s modern era, and they can be a little surprising. Last week my wife purchased some milk powder at a local store. After close inspection I discovered that it was from a factory in Heilongjiang Province. For those of you unaware, it’s an area of the country not exactly known for its green pastures and lush vegetation.

When taking into account the potential risks involved with giving a baby milk powder made in China, I felt it best to see if I could go back to the store where it was purchased and exchange it for something a little safer.

milk powder store

I voiced my concerns to the store owner, and he said I could exchange it, but that I would have to come back in the afternoon. He said exchanges were only conducted in the afternoons, and that’s where his explanation ended. Read more

Huai’an effort falls short once again

Huai’an did not make it past the 5th round of the country’s “National Civilized Cities” competition. The unfortunate news, delivered on September 14 by the National Central Civilization Office, made it official that the city had failed once again to achieve its overall goal.

A poster for the “Building a National Civilized City” on Huai’an street has served as an indicator on how long the city has entertained the idea of winning the national title.

The “National Civilized Cities” title is the most difficult to obtain within the arena of establishing the image of a city. It is the highest form of recognition a city can receive in China. The process involves an analysis of a wide range of factors related to a city’s economy and environment, along with sanitation facilities, citizen behavior and overall satisfaction with the quality of life that comes with living in such a place. Read more

Unparalleled pot-stewed foods in Huai’an

Although intake of too much nitrite is unhealthy, moderate quantity of pot-stewed foods are enjoyable, especially in Huai’an.

People in Huai’an do have a talent in making pot-stewed foods. Soybean paste made by my grandma is unbelievably better than those sold in supermarkets, various self-made pickled vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, radish, etc.) in my hometown are also very delicious, not inferior in any respect than products of those famous pickle factories. Read more

Impression of places to eat in Huai’an

Compared to bigger cities like Nanjing and Suzhou, foods in Huai’an is much less diversified, but still some local and exotic restaurants are worth trying.

When I came back to Huai’an after about four years, I was very eager to go back to some eateries I favored. But unfortunately, some are nowhere to find now.

Slided Noodles in Huai'an City

One of my favorites is a sliced noodles restaurant opened by a family from Shaanxi province, which was named “Shaanxi Sliced Noodles Restaurant”. Providing sliced noodles at prices of only 6 to 8 yuan, the eatery enjoyed full house every night. Read more

Nanjing-Huai’an Intercity Railway to be constructed: less than 1 hour’s nobreak ride

There isn’t any nobreak railway between Nanjing and Huai’an right now, but an intercity railway is being planned and designed, and hopefully its construction will start in 2018.

This railway will be about 200 kilometers long and the designed speed is 350 kilometers per hour, which means only less than an hour will be needed from Nanjing to Huai’an. Read more

Huai’an: a city with more human touch than big cities

After years of living in Nanjing, I get very surprised and even unadaptable to some actions of Huai’an people.

For example, when I went to a toilet in Wanda Plaza yesterday, I was very embarrassed to see an elder female cleaner in it. She smiled very friendly at me, asking me to go upstairs or downstairs for another washroom as she was doing the cleaning, and then she even patted on my back.

I was used to see indifferent cleaners in big cities, who just follow their procedures – putting a warning sign outside the washroom when they are cleaning, and asking if there is anyone in the washroom before they enter. They wouldn’t say an extra word to you, not to mention smiling at you or patting your back. Read more