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Best of China Travel: Unmissable Food in Xi’an

Explore a Unique Cuisine Travelling to Xi’an is an amazing experience for so many reasons, and when it comes to eating, Xi’an boasts a unique and diverse cuisine that will provide you with plenty of mouthwatering options. Xi’an people are passionate about their food and it shines through in the multitude of delicious dishes you can try. Most of these...

The Three Body Problem: Introducing Chinese Science Fiction to the Western World

Written by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu. “In science fiction, humanity is often described as a collective. In this book, a man named ‘humanity’ confronts a disaster, and everything he demonstrates in the face of existence and annihilation undoubtedly has sources in the reality that I experienced.”  – Cixin Liu, author’s note, The Three Body Problem The Three...

Why you Should Read Yiyun Li’s ‘Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life’

  In an interview with fivebooks.com, Yiyun Li discussed the concept of the ‘anti-memoir’. This term came around because, as Li put it in the interview, “[…] there has to be a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ – an epiphany. But to me, all these things are artificial. Life is lived in a much messier way.” This rather perfectly encapsulates the issue that Li, and many...

How Jung Chang’s Wild Swans Made Me A Better Laowai

Before I lived in Tokyo and Seoul, I lived in Shanghai. Expats and locals alike in Tokyo and Seoul have joked with me more than once about the harshness of Chinese culture and the unpleasantness of life there; jokes such as: ‘On the Seoul subway, keep your voice down. You don’t want to be a Chinese tourist!’ and ‘I know I could save more money living in China, but...

Finding Home Comforts in Shanghai – An Expat Guide

We move away from home for any number of reasons. Some of us want to learn about a different culture or try a new cuisine or language. Many of us have to work. But for all of the new, there’s always at least some old, some home comforts, that we often crave. These are different for everyone, but here I’ve compiled a list of home comforts that can be found in Shanghai...

Five Best Book Cafes around East Asia

I like nothing better than sitting in a cafe with a book, and one of the first things I do in a new city is scope out the best and most unique cafes to visit. From quirky to stylish, snug to spacious, I love them all. Here are a few special ones I’ve found so far on my travels. Tranquil Books, Hanoi This is a fantastic little place in Hanoi. Towards the end of...

Mourning and Celebrating Nanjing’s Past: Visiting the Nanjing Massacre and Zheng He Memorials

Where is Nanjing? Nanjing is home to more than 7 million people, a modest population by Chinese standards. But with its proximity to the mountains and the Yangtze river, the city can feel like a cozy town compared to the all-pervasive presence of people and concrete in Shanghai. Which is ridiculous, because “cozy town” has never been an accurate way to describe...

How China Got Me Interested in North Korea

Living in China started my North Korea fascination. The title of this article may lead you to believe that I hold fascist sympathies and have perfected my goose step, but that’s certainly not the case. What has developed in me, however, is a morbid fascination with the ‘communist’ leaders in Asia, which is certainly something that I didn’t possess when I moved to...

3 Days in Moganshan: Where Stressed Shanghai-Dwellers Can Find Peace

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee My birthday wish this year was simple: to escape the suffocating crowds of Shanghai and bask in the fresh air, blue skies and wide-open spaces of the Chinese countryside. Fortunately for me, my birthday wish came true. Like so many expats...