Huai’an is a prefecture-level city in Jiangsu province of China, more accurately in Northern Jiangsu (苏北), of which the economy is known poorer than Southern Jiangsu (苏南).
As a result, many people from Huai’an have more connections with bigger Jiangsu cities like Nanjing and Suzhou than their hometown city.
As for me, I only came to Huai’an City for once before my graduation from university. And before that, I never regarded myself a Huaianese, I’d like to call myself a Hongze person – a county under Huai’an (now upgraded to a district, but is much farther from downtown than other districts).
Talking about Huai’an, people would say Huai’an is famous for its featured dishes – Huaiyang Dishes, which is said to be one of the five most influential styles of cooking in China.
Huaiyang dishes are of course also famous in Huai’an, but just like other places in China, other dishes also take a place here, especially Sichuan Dishes, and I like the latter much better. Compared to the light and slightly sweet taste of Huaiyang Dishes, heavy and acrid taste of Sichuan Dishes seem to fit local people better.
Huai’an doesn’t have many foreigners living here, and it’s only a tier-3 or even tier-4 city in China. Most foreigners in Huai’an either teach here or are employees of some foreign-invested plants or companies.
Despite of the current situation, Huai’an does have a much brighter future, as five high-speed rails are reported to join in Huai’an in several years, making the city a transportation hub. And the most talked-about one is the rail connecting Huai’an and Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu. The latter is only about 200 kilometers south of Huai’an, but there is even no railway between them.
One major reason why Huai’an is becoming a traffic hub is that the provincial government has positioned Huai’an as an “important center of Northern Jiangsu”.
Besides, since the nation has just approved Jiangbei (North of Yangtze River) of Nanjing as a state-level new zone, which is nearer to Huai’an and will be connected to Huai’an via high-speed railway by 2019, Huai’an seems more promising.
With such prospect, Huai’an has been speeding up its urban construction in recent years, and I have to say the changes are huge. Even in my hometown county Hongze, the city’s appearance is much better – it does look like a small city now.