Qingdao Blogs

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Niamh with her work colleagues
Cultural, Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs

Niamh’s China Chronicles – Internship in Qingdao Experience and Cultural Norms

My internship experience was with a Chinese logistics company. They are responsible for the organisation of shipping hundreds of tons of cargo every year. Work life there is certainly different from the UK way of working.

Every Monday, everyone in the office received a free snack after lunch. One week we got cake, another week a smoothie. A different company would have supplied the food each week. They brought in the food and distributed it in the conference room. My boss told me it was to praise the office for their hard work.

Working Culture

The work hours were 08:30 to 11:30 then a two-hour lunch break, resuming from 13:30 to 17:30. I found myself starting to get a little bored during the lunch break because it was so long. Closer to the end of my stay, I would take the bus to another part of the city or go to the gym during lunch, as I found the lunch break quite long.

On my first day in the office at around 12:45, the office suddenly became very quiet and I looked around and everyone was sleeping! They had brought in small pillows and used these to nap at their desks.

My colleagues were very helpful and mindful of me. If there was anything I didn’t understand, at least three people would appear and rush to help me. When I could not get my laptop charger plug into the socket, a girl two desks away ran over and helped me. And the same when I couldn’t use the kettle (as everything is in Chinese),  two people came running over again.

Most employees (male and female) at my company had teddy bears at their desks and would hold them from time to time.

One thing I noticed during my internship is that people in my office audibly, dramatically, loudly and randomly sighed. I had no idea what about though. Also, when I asked my boss why everyone in the office was speaking so loudly on the office phones, he did not know what I was talking about. It seemed like people were very noisy, but it is not seen as impolite.

I was on the 23rd floor of a 26 storey building. Each floor can hold up to 80 people and everyone started around 08:30 in the morning. This means a lot of waiting for the elevators in the morning. There are so many people at this time that the building employs people just for the early morning rush to help load people into the elevators. If you arrived at the wrong time, you could wait up to 15 minutes just to get to your floor.

Niamh with her work colleagues
Niamh with her work colleagues

Culture Outside of Work

In the evenings after my internship, I would often see old retired Chinese folk “people watching”. They liked to hang around outside and would pull up a chair and sit on the footpath watching people passing by. Many also used to meet their friends on street corners to play “Chinese Chess” or gamble.

Older Chinese people are really into socialising and movement. Every morning I used to see a few people in my apartment complex doing Tai Chi or walking around slapping themselves all over their body. Apparently this is to help increase blood flow.

Many people would meet in the evenings to dance, exercise and stretch together. They would usually play traditional Chinese music or modern remixes of old classics. And you can definitely hear them before you see them!

Cultural Norms that Surprised Me

If you haven’t heard by now, spitting is very common in China. You can find people spitting pretty close to your shoes on the streets. Not intentionally, of course.

There is also a phenomenon called the ‘Beijing Bikini’, where middle-aged men roll up their T-shirt to expose their bellies on hot days. It is considered more polite than removing their entire T-shirt. There is no shame, only pride.

I feel China is a very tactile country. Lots of young girls will hold hands or link arms while walking and I have even seen some old men holding hands too.

Sometimes queuing is non-existent in China, and one of the things I will never fully understand as a Brit. Every time someone jumps in front of me, I try to be chill. In the UK, as a child, you learn to contribute to the greater good of the team. In China though, it seems like every man for himself and children are raised not to cooperate but to compete. The only way to a better life is by defeating other people.

One of the other things that surprised me was people taking pictures. I think I had seen at least 10 people taking pictures of me in the streets. They also tend to stare for a while. But it’s great because at least there is an element of cultural exchange there.

Foreigners standing out in a crowd
Foreigners standing out in a crowd
Niamh in Qingdao
Cultural, Qingdao Blogs

Niamh’s China Chronicles – Living in Qingdao as a Foreigner

Learning About Qingdao

Ever wondered what it is like to live in China as a foreigner? Niamh spent two months in Qingdao on a Generation UK funded programme last year. Here is her story.

Qingdao (formerly known as Tsingtao) is a beautiful city located on the North Eastern coast of China, close to North and South Korea. As the largest city in the Shandong province, it has a population of about 9 million people. That makes it slightly larger than London.

Qingdao is known to many as the home of Tsingtao Beer, which is served on draft, in a bottle or a bag, and is the most consumed beer in Asia. If drinking from a bag, you can use a straw or cut the corner, pour in to your mouth and hope for the best!The German Imperial government planned and built the first streets and institutions of the city that can still be seen today. They also brought beer with them, forming the world-famous Tsingtao Brewery. The buildings that still stand from this time period are built in an area known as ‘Old Town’. This is a well-visited area for travellers due to the interesting European style buildings which differ a lot from the skyscrapers which can be found in every Chinese city.

Every night between 8:00pm and 9:00pm, the buildings on the seafront will light up together and images can be displayed moving across many buildings. It is absolutely beautiful!

First Impressions

On my first day in Qingdao, I was trying to find a shop that looked like it sold food. In my many attempts of sticking my head through the blinds of many boutiques, pharmacies and clothing stores, I finally found a convenience store and bought a very questionable breakfast.

It quickly became evident that I was the only non-Chinese person out walking the streets that day. People would stop, do double takes and take pictures of me.

Later while I was walking along the seafront beside May Fourth Square, I asked a couple if they knew where I could get food, and they invited me back to their apartment to dine with them. And that was the moment I was adopted by them.

They quickly referred to me as their daughter, and I referred to them as “Chinese mother and Chinese father”. I had a small photo shoot where we posed like a family, dog included.

Family Life in China

The family invited me back to their apartment another time to watch the Qingdao skylights. They also wanted me to meet their friends for a lavish fresh seafood dinner including sea cucumber, sea urchin, clams and oysters.

One of the cultural things I learned very quickly was that the word for ‘cheers’ in China is ‘Gānbēi’. This meant that everyone involved in the Gānbēi must down their drink. There was, however, the complicating factor of respect.

If two people Gānbēi, the height at which you touch glasses represents the level of respect. A boss in China will usually Gānbēi higher than his colleagues as his colleagues respect him more.

The night of the lavish dinner, there was a Gānbēi every five minutes

Day-to-Day Life in China

Before travelling to China, I presumed many people could speak English, but, not so much. The language barrier has been interesting when trying to communicate outside of routine transactions and dining situations.

Some of the cultural differences in China were also interesting to learn, particularly the laws of the road, or lack of.

Drivers in Qingdao drive with one hand constantly on the horn it seems, waiting patiently to use it. Many people ride mopeds as it is easy to weave through the traffic. You will often see pedestrians running across zebra crossings even when the green man is showing, as cars rarely stop for them.

Taxis in China are extremely cheap and easy to flag down. A 45-minute journey only cost 70RMB (£8). Yet in the UK, this same journey could cost £50 plus.

I have also seen interesting ‘Chinglish’ signs everywhere – where there are often questionable translations of signs from Chinese to English. And one of the biggest cultural shocks here was having people take pictures of me because I am a foreigner. What way do I deal with this? Take pictures back. Everyone gets a good laugh!

Another big difference is the number of street cleaners picking up litter and tidying the place up. The cleaners are usually elderly and the local council pay them to do this. In Chinese media, street cleaners are often known as “angels of the road” (马路天使).

Currently in China, many Chinese retirees have very small pensions and many farmers and rural workers have no pensions at all or lack the means to pay into them. Older people resort to picking up litter for very little money.

Getting a Hair-Cut

Even getting a hair cut doesn’t cost much. I decided to get my hair cut at a local salon and my boss supplied his discount card. The price should have been 38RMB but was 19RMB – just over £2. The people working at the hairdressers all wore military pilot uniforms with stars on their shoulder patches and walkie-talkies with earpieces.

The entire process lasted 80 minutes just for a trim. The actual haircut itself took only 10 minutes. The rest of the process consists of shampooing (while sitting in your chair), a head massage, conditioning (while at the basin), a neck massage, arm and hand massage. But there is a lot more smacking involved than I thought.

To hear more about Niamh’s internship, look out for the next excerpt.

Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs

University of Notre Dame: Charlie and Adelle’s Internship at Redstar

– By Charlie Smith and Adelle Offerman

Arrival in Qingdao

We knew we were coming to China four our internship in the middle of winter… And we knew to bring our warmest of clothes… But there’s not much you can do to prepare a group of Australians for the sub-zero temperatures when they step off a plane in Qingdao!

The Qingdao winter breeze was living up to its name, our fingers were beyond numb, and it wasn’t long before we invested in some gloves.

Despite the temperatures, it was a very warm welcome in the city we would call home for the next five weeks.

We were so lucky to have a lot of help from our friends at InternChina. Without any Chinese language skills, we would have been pretty lost – we wouldn’t have known what to eat, how to order or even how to get around!

They passed on a lot of essential local knowledge – like to look for a red light when hailing a taxi, and the fact you can’t really trust the green man when crossing the road. Some other things we learnt the hard way like most public toilets don’t have toilet paper – safe to say, we now always BYO!

The Internship at REDSTAR

We feel we got really lucky with our internship placement at REDSTAR – a Qingdao-based magazine for expats and visitors to the area. We get to see some of the best spots in the city to write reviews and create content for the magazine. So far, we have had the chance to write articles for the upcoming issue learning about Chinese culture and in particular the upcoming Spring Festival.

Our supervisor has not just been there to oversee our writing, but has also been an incredible tour guide to some of the best local lunch spots, including fried dumplings, Chinese savoury pancakes, and lamb soup. We are so grateful to have had him!

REDSTAR - Reading the Qingdao based magazine !
REDSTAR – Reading the Qingdao based magazine !

Traditional Hot Pot experience !

One thing we weren’t so sure about was the traditional Hot Pot, which we agreed to try for work. Luckily, we weren’t told what the “delicacies” were until after we had tried it… pig’s esophagus, goose intestines and cow penis were just a few. It was a memorable experience to say the least and we would it is a must try when in Qingdao… We are told you can have less scary delicacies when at the hot pot, which we are looking forward to trying at our next InternChina Thursday dinner (a great way to meet up with other interns and the InternChina team every week).

Traditionnal Hot Pot Experience !
Traditionnal Hot Pot Experience !

Conclusion of this experience…

Our work has been busy but has been so diverse that it hasn’t felt like work, and our weekends have been even better with the InternChina sightseeing trips.

So far we have snapped the views, walked the pier and enjoyed the coffee street in the Old City, and hiked the incredibly beautiful Fushan Mountain in the heart of the city.

Qingdao is a city that is growing so quickly, and our first two weeks have gone by so quickly too! We looking forward to telling you about the rest of our internship and adventure in Qingdao!

All You Need to Know, Discover Chinese culture, Events in Qingdao, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao InternChina Events, Things To Do in Qingdao, Weekend Trips

More Than Just an Internship – What We Do in Qingdao!

InternChina – More than just an internship!

But what does this really mean in Qingdao? It means weekly dinners, activities and 24/7 support!

I’ve been an office intern for about 3 months now, so I hope I can explain this for you!

During your programme, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to do an internship in China, but that’s not the only think you’ll experience during your time in Qingdao! The InternChina team will organise lots of dinners and activities for you. This is so we can get to know you better, make you feel comfortable in this new country, and give you a chance to meet amazing people! And if you love travelling, there are plenty of great destinations we can help you visit that aren’t too far from Qingdao!

As a Qingdao office intern, I have the opportunity to organise the dinners and trips for our participants. I’ll tell you more about it, so you’ll have an idea of the amazing things you may get the chance to do, and you can discover more about Qingdao.

If you have anything you want to do around Qingdao, just let a member of InternChina know and we can try our best to organise this for you!

Food

Every week we organise one of our famous “Thursday Dinners.”

This is a social event, to share a group meal, discover new Asian cuisine and talk about our week! We understand that you are students, so don’t worry- we try to make these dinners affordable! Usually, we try to avoid expensive restaurants, but they are always tasty. We usually stick to a budget of 50RMB per person, and sometimes this is even less.

How do we organise these dinners? Usually we make a post on our official Qingdao InternChina WeChat account, or we post in our IC Qingdao group chat.

We’ll give you some more details about the restaurant, the cuisine, the food, the time and the location of the dinner. If you’re interested in coming along, then simply join the dinner group by scanning the QR code we’ll provide! This helps us know how many people want to come along, so we can book a table. During the summer, we can have more than 30 people for dinner!

But it’s our job to organise this- all you need to do is scan the QR code and join! How easy is that?

Activities

After a week of working hard during your internship, we’re sure you’ll look forward to exploring Qingdao at the weekend! There is so much to do and discover in Qingdao, and we understand that you want to get out there, so we organise lots of activities and trips for you!

We try to organise a new activity every weekend, and just like the dinners, we try to make sure these activities are all affordable so you can take part in as much as you can.

What can Qingdao offer you? There are lots of fun tourist activities,such as the Tsingtao Beer Museum, the TV Tower, the zoo, the aquarium, the Huadong Vineyard. However, we also want to make sure you see the natural beauty in Qingdao! Outdoor activities such as hiking Fushan or Laoshan with our guide Green Tea, bouldering, archery, go karting are always popular, especially during the summer.

We also want you to learn about the Chinese culture while you are here, so we organise cultural activities such as calligraphy classes, Chinese cooking lessons, tea ceremonies, or even Kung Fu lessons!

There are different things to do during different seasons, so you may also get to attend the German Christmas Market, or some opening ceremonies!

You will definitely never be bored, with plenty of activities available for you to explore the city, have fun, and network!

Trips

We also try to organise some weekend trips for you to discover other cities in China.

Recently, we organised a weekend trip to Beijing- after all, it would be a shame to come to China and not visit the Great Wall! In the past we have also organised trips to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Qufu… the possibilities are endless!

For any weekend trips we organise, we will provide you with a detailed schedule so you can make the most of your time in each city! We will also let you know how much each trip will cost, and this will include your transport, accommodation and activities for the weekend. It will cost more than a regular Saturday Event, but it is definitely worth going and exploring more of China!

 

Support

The InternChina team offer you 24/7 support while you are on place, and we are also here for you before and after your time in China!

When you arrive, we will pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your accommodation, whether is an apartment or a homestay. We’ll also give you an orientation to help you understand Chinese culture, and give you some advice about living in Qingdao.

You will receive a welcome pack, which includes a SIM card, travel card, map of the city, and address card and some InternChina goodies!

We are here for you whenever you need us!

Moreover, our team on place is also always here to support you! When you arrive we will give you an orientation, in order to make you understand Chinese culture, and give you lots of advice! If you feel sick, we will come with you to the hospital! If you have any other issues, we are here to help if we can!

InternChina’s Favourite Places 

When you are new to Qingdao, and don’t know where to go or what to see, we’re here to tell you where to go! Below is a list of my favourite places- you can even impress your colleagues with your Qingdao knowledge and invite them along!

Magic Eggplant – or the best Chinese restaurant ever! 美达尔大尧三路店 – Dayao San Road

ChunChuan Iron Plate – best Korean restaurant! 青岛市崂山区苗岭路  瑞纳花园内 Miao Ling Road

Huadong Winery – a beautiful vineyard, where you can visit the museum,the caves and try some wine at the end! 南龙口崂山Nanlong Kou, Lao Shan

ZhongShan Park – an amazing park where you can easily walk around for hours! The zoo is right next to it if you want to see a panda! 市南区文登路28号 Wen Deng Road

I hope these details and pictures convinced you that InternChina has so much more than just an internship to offer you! You’ll never feel alone, and this experience will be unforgettable!

The easiest way to join us is to apply now!

 

Cultural, Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao Eating Out Guide, Things To Do in Qingdao

Qingdao’s Huangxian Lu

It’s Sunday in Qingdao and the winter months are here, which means only one thing, coffee shops!
Take your book, your laptop, your friends with you and head to the old town where Huangxian Lu lies filled with many niche cafes, museums, crafts and micro breweries.

As an avid supporter (some may say dependent) of the caffeinated drink, I have made it my duty to try a new coffee shop every Sunday.

By Chinese standards this street is ‘hipster’, many young Chinese will dress up for the occasion and ultimately a photo shoot in the colourfully decorated street. Take some time to browse the little shops dotted in between the cafés which sell bits of art décor as well as (you guessed it) old vinyls!

Below are just a few cafes I have stumbled upon, but go and explore yourself and discover your own favourite spot!

The Cat Café.

Address: 48 Daxue Rd

Yes, there are cats! And lots of them too! The coffee and chocolate cake are not bad either. Very cosy set-up with many feline friends to cuddle up too. A great place to go if you’re missing your pet back at home!

The Giraffe Café.

Address: On the Corner of Huangxian Lu/Daxue Lu

The giraffe-patterned pole outside gives it it’s status and has been the subject of many Instagram Posts. Very sweet décor inside, clean and the coffee is good!

The Witch Café.

Next to the Giraffe coffee lies a café filled with lamps, European-style paintings and old-fashioned furniture. The 4 small rooms, 2 up, 2 down decorated with pumpkins and Halloween references, gives the café a charismatic vibe. With free wifi and friendly staff, it is a great place to sit down and work.

The Old Cinema Café.

Address: 14 Huangxian Lu

A little bit bigger than the other cafes which makes it great for social study groups. Otherwise, just take a coffee and enjoy watching the silent films.

There are more than coffee shops around!

The Residence of Lao She.

Address: 12 Huangxian Lu

Lao She, a famous author lived on this street where he wrote some of China’s most famous literature, such as Camel Xiangzi. His house has been opened as a quaint museum and I would recommend having a look (It’s free ;))!  The residents of Qingdao are very proud!

YOWO – The Leather Shop.

Address: 35 Huangxian Lu

This is a very cute workshop, where you can learn how to work with leather and make homemade gifts for yourself or family. Really interesting experience especially if you are one for design and crafts.

Strong Ale Works – Brewery.

Address: 12 Daxue Lu

This micro brewery is friendly, cozy, has a lovely ambiance, and most of all, beers are, though not exactly cheap by Chinese standards, amazing! A beer-lover’s must-see!

Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs, Sport, Things To Do in Qingdao, Travel, Weekend Trips

Rock Climbing and Bouldering in Qingdao

This is a blog for all you rock climbers out there! If you are heading to Qingdao, then you are in luck! The Shandong province has some of the best boulders in China. The rock in and around Qingdao is a type of granite similar to Yosemite, which means you don’t need to travel far to find good boulders with interesting features. Fushan ‘Qingdao’s back garden’ has many different rocks to climb, from boulders to trad routes.

For those who haven’t get tried bouldering, when in Qingdao you should give it a go! It is a very unique, interesting, and social sport which attracts all sorts of characters! It is also one of those rare sports where men and women have an equal ability! Don’t be afraid if you have never climbed before, unlike the GYM, no one judges! No matter the grade you climb, it is your sweat and determination that is celebrated. Indoor bouldering is a great introduction to the world of climbing as it is the safer way to enjoy this very fun and dynamic sport!

 

Indoor Bouldering and Climbing

Bouldering Centre

There is a great indoor bouldering in the center of Qingdao. The climber who runs the place is very friendly and takes delight in showing you new moves and positions to improve your balance and strength. When you go, check out his wall of fame, he has even met Shauna Coxey!

Address: 菁英攀岩俱乐部 Jīngyīng pānyán jùlèbù

东路 136 叁陆城二楼 Shāndōng Lù 136 hào Yīsān Lùchéng Èr Lóu (2F)

Price: 30 Yuan (student) for the whole day and includes shoe rental.

Climbing Centre

If you fancy higher walls then head to Chengyang, which is north of Qingdao and takes around 45-60mins to get there by public transport. Here you can use a harness and belay.

Address: 岛城阳区黑龙江中路28号天泰运动工场2

Price: 100 Yuan for the day and includes shoes and harness.

Outdoor Climbing

The official (also the best) time to climb outside is from March to November. Bamboo is a rock climbing legend who can speak a little English, he runs the rock climbing official accounts on WeChat. He and a local group of climber’s head to the rocks most weekend. WeChat ID: QingdaoClimbing

Qingdao Laoshan Mountain 青岛崂山

Laoshan Mountain climbing site has been popular among rock climbers in recent years. There are around 150 climbing routes to meet your needs, Monkey Crag is a popular site.

If you visit Laoshan Mountain in winter, you can try an ice climbing. It is really an interesting and unforgettable journey in the Laoshan Mountain Scenic Area in winter.

Location: Liuqinghe, Laoshan District, Qingdao, Shandong Province

Key Words

Rock climbing: Pānyán 攀岩

Muscle fever: Jīròu suāntòng 肌肉酸痛

 

 Useful Websites:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos/Sport/CLIMBING_IN_QINGDAO_96564.html

 

Internship Experience, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Understanding Business in China, Understanding Chinese culture

A search for Innovation in Qingdao!

Hello! I’m Tamara 叶清影, the new business development intern in the Qingdao Office. I am very excited for this opportunity to experience innovation in Qingdao and to establish Guanxi.

Guanxithe system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings. 

I am a Product Design graduate from Loughborough University who is fascinated by Chinese Culture and their ambition to grow and innovate. As the term ‘innovation’ was constantly drilled into me at university, it seemed logical to go to China, a country that has been in the spotlight in the global innovation system for many years.

Although I have been intrigued by China and its unique culture, the only knowledge I had was taken from a few history lessons and books. Therefore, I prepared myself with an open mind, low expectations and ni hao!

Without a doubt Qingdao is beautiful! There is so much to explore, the beaches, the mountains, the culture and food and beer! If you are a sport lover, then this is the place to be! The air quality here is much cleaner compared to the rest of China, which make it’s a great place to exercise.  There are also many spectacle routes to run along the sea promenade, around the university tracks and up Fushan.

Qingdao has the most laid-back vibe; the Chinese seem quite content with life and are very welcoming to foreigners. On occasion, I have been invited to birthday celebrations where the whole family have taken turns to take pictures with me!

Innovation

With regards to its innovation, Qingdao is still evolving. Although, the start-up culture isn’t as pronounced as in Zhuhai and Chengdu, there are huge developments occurring in Qingdao’s International Economic Cooperation Zone.  Work has begun on a Sino-German Ecopark and a China-Britain Innovation Industry Park. The latter consequent of a collaboration between the city of Liverpool and Qingdao. Not only will this further strengthen Sino-UK relations but will open-up vast opportunities for British firms. When in Qingdao I would also recommend checking out the Creative100 park, the Robotic Centre and Graphene Innovation Centre.

Sino-UK Innovation Talks
Sino-UK Innovation Talks

The thing that struck me the most with China, considering its size, is its efficiency, especially with its transport. In just 15 years China had drawn up and built a high-speed railway network covering 14,000 miles. (Bear in mind it has taken 8 years for the UK Government just to agree on HS2). With respect to innovative technology, I believe that en masse, China is winning. For example, the app WeChat not only allows you to chat, but you can also transfer money, contact and follow people.

The Internship

Working at InternChina, has both been busy and rewarding right from the start! There is never a dull moment in the office! From graphic design, to networking, to organising activities and trips for the interns.

Hopefully, during my time here, I will try to master the basics of Mandarin and build friendships in this wonderful, rapidly evolving, innovative country!

If you want to experience China and establish your Guanxi, then apply now!

Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao Eating Out Guide, Things To Do in Qingdao

Tips and Tricks for Qingdao Street Food

While eating street food here, you might think that eating the street food in China is a bad idea and say, “Never will I eat that!” However, I can tell you that soon you’ll be saying “Daily!”

Spit it Out, This Isn’t Food!

At least that is what the small Western voice in your head is saying, annoying you while you are chewing on things that you never would have dreamed of eating before coming to China.

Sadly, you won’t see me eating a scorpion on a stick. If I dared to eat that, I would be grinning in the camera saying “yes, I am a badass!”

I also don’t want to tell you about what you should or shouldn’t try, but I will give advice to help prepare you for the wonders of Chinese street food- especially in Qingdao.

Jian Bing being prepared by a street food vendor in Qingdao

One of the best “pancakes” (jiānbǐng) in Qingdao in process

First Things First

If you want a nice tidy kitchen, then you better stay at home where you will not have to look at messy street food stalls- but you also will miss some of the best food out there. I had my first encounter with street food on the street right behind the University.

Variety of Food

The difference between Chinese and Western street food, that I have seen, is obviously the variety and amount of food offered.

On one stand you will find a type of  pancake, “jiānbǐng” (煎饼), which can be filled with vegetables, crispy wonton or meat.

The always grinning guy from the other stand will give you some spicy chicken meat in a tasty sauce on potatoes, and with an even broader grin he will ask if you want an egg with it.

Ro jia mo is prepared for me
Propably the best “ro jie mo” in Qingdao

You will also find the so called Chinese hamburger, or “rou jia mo” (肉夹馍), so called because they both have meat and bread! You will find a guy using a scraper, normally used for plaster, to create flatbread. You will see another guy, with his mouth covered by a mask, mixing the cold ingredients you choose by yourself, such as peanuts, noodles, peppers, ginger, salad, tofu, seaweed and so on, in a bowl, and he will then give you your food directly in a plastic bag.

Street food stalls behind Qingdao University
Normal group of street food stalls (not crowded)

You will have the agile couple trying to break a record in preparing your meal as fast as possible. Him, hammering around like a lunatic on his iron hot plate, her, throwing the ingredients for fried noodles directly in front of his constantly moving spatula. You will find a competing couple selling chicken kebab with rice. Their arms and hands, heads, legs, knees and toes will be covered, to prevent them getting brown skin from the sun, while you will stand there, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, sweating.

But If you are hungry after a long day of travelling or sightseeing, no need to worry. Qingdao can help you out with BBQ on the streets, so search for what you want, sit down and wait for your meal to be prepared over charcoal fire.

Long story short, it is crazy the variety you have with street food, and you can go every day and eat something different. And the best thing is, as far as I got to know, it is the same everywhere! The people and ingredients may vary but the system is the same.

One of the best things to add, street food is there for you night and day!

BBQ grilled over charcoal
Different examples of street BBQ

 

What Street Food to Eat

So, what should you pay attention to?

First, you should apply one rule to all the food you eat, if you eat it and it tastes bad or unusual in a way, then follow your inner voice- spit it out! This may sound hard but believe me, if you don’t want to know what “la duzi” is, follow this advice! You wouldn’t eat bad food at home, so don’t do it in China.

Don’t hesitate to push your way to the front- “active-queuing” is a very popular sport in China! Be prepared to stand your ground and be firm, or you may lose your spot to an old lady who took advantage of the space you left.

When you find yourself standing in front of a vendor, you’ll be asked, “What? How much? Spicy?” You will have a hard time answering in English, but if you have an index-finger attached to your arm you will get what you want with pointing. Nodding and shaking your head is also optional!

Last but not least, for your own health follow some simple rules; go to the stalls that have people queuing up, and to those who are there every day. You can be sure their food is good!