Ni hao Miami!
I finally hit the two-week mark here in Tianjin and must say that everything here from the people, food, and environment have been amazing! Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely a period of not knowing how to get by on a day-to-day basis for the first couple of days here, but the Chinese students have been so helpful and welcoming towards our group.
After the first week, the Chinese students held a dumpling making workshop for us, and wow, are they hard. In my mind, it looked like folding empanadas but it’s even harder since it’s much smaller. My dumpling making group won the “Strangest Dumpling” award and I was so proud of that honor. (:
After getting a hang of the taxi system here, I’ve slowly been exploring Tianjin just to see what’s in my surroundings. The malls here are GINORMOUS with most of them having 6 floors of shops and restaurants. I recently went with my roommate to the Ancient Culture Street in Tianjin flooded with shops, vendors, temples, and food; and wow was it a sight to see! Pictures can’t justify how magnificent the place was, but it was so exciting to partake in my first Chinese marketplace outing (Also, the blog isn’t able to upload any of my pics from there since they’re THAT breathtaking). At the Ancient Culture Street, we also visited the Queen of Heaven Palace, a Hindu temple, and it was fascinating to see the place was still actively used for prayer.
The biggest culture shock for me has been the Chinese fascination for name-brand fast-food restaurants. When I think of McDonald’s or KFC, I think of the mediocre food and broken-down ice cream machines back in the U.S. It’s a different case here, on multiple levels.
- KFC is literal gold here and is considered somewhat of a food delicacy. They’re the #1 fast food destination here in China, AHEAD of McDonald’s. There are no words to explain how fresh and crispy the fried chicken is here and how the seasonings differ from the U.S. They take their chicken pretty serious here.
- KFC has their own dessert shop, where they have amazing sweets, especially their ice cream. My favorite is their matcha ice-cream on a cone, and it honestly was one of the best ice creams I’ve had. YES, I’M TALKING ABOUT KFC.
- McDonald’s is super fresh here and you can taste it in their Big Macs. I’m not a huge fan of their food back in the U.S., but I was impressed with the quality of their food.
In a week, the adventure continues on to Shanghai for our two-week Spring Festival break for the Chinese New Year, and I can’t wait to explore more of this country.
See ya’ll later!