As is often the case during the transition of relocating abroad, one of the most daunting factors within this process can be the change in diet. Coming towards the end of my second month here in Chengdu and third year collectively in China I can safely say that it is indeed that little bit of comfort in the form of a meal that offers that much needed taste of home. Therefore, as a self-confessed ‘foodie’ to make life a little easier I am going to layout where I feel are the best places to go, how to get there and how they compare in terms of price and quality:
Peter’s Tex Mex
Although this is possibly the oldest and one of the most well-known western food chains in Chengdu as well as Beijing, do not be fooled by the fact that there are several locations across the city. This was in fact the first place I visited for a western meal and I can honestly say that I left needing to be carried home bearing a full smile which is a rarity. From nachos, to pizza, to Mexican food and even all things sweet I was very impressed with the quality and variety of food here which came to roughly 400 RMB between me and a friend allowing us to have a nice banquet. If you are keen on a tipple, there are also some western lagers and the freshly made margaritas pack a real punch!
12 East Tongzilin Rd/桐梓林东路12号
To say these burgers are good is an understatement. Out of my three years in China, the burger selection is definitely one of the best I have ever had. Redbeard (an American expat) sources high quality ingredients (Aussie beef namely) for his seriously decadent menu that plates up everything from gargantuan buffalo burgers to classic beef delights layered in different kinds of cheese. He also offers seriously decadent smothered fries and you can wash them down with craft beers.
I find it hard to pick a favourite (although the ‘mutton chops’ comes close) and I’ve tried a fair few. The burgers are definitely on the pricy side but you really know where your money goes – servings are huge and quality is outstanding. They are also now available for delivery !
29 Zijing Donglu, Chengdu/成都紫荆东路29号
Although this is quite a popular chain across China, I feel that avocado and brunch is continuing to prosper amongst us and it is on that basis that Wagas deserves a try as well as the reasonable prices. To put it simply, the elegance and nostalgia associated with a poached egg done properly when thousands of miles away from home really is a welcomed luxury over here, especially when factored in with the ‘lighter’ choices including kale, feta, and so on for the more health conscious.
Located in the scenic area of TaiKoo Li, Wagas offers the chance to sit back, relax and take in the wonderful surroundings with the outside seating area and a wide selection of juices to compliment it !
TaiKoo Li Chengdu, L1/ 1345 中纱帽街8号成都远洋太古里L1 – 1345
Mike’s Pizza Kitchen
No matter where you are from and where you may be in the world, I think it is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of us all speak the language of ‘pizza’ due to the liberty of adding your own personal touch. At Mike’s, not only do you get the option of base, toppings, sauce and so on but every single element is of the highest quality.
The quality is in fact so good that you will be unable to eat here without a prior reservation and can only order delivery at an allocated time relative to your location. Nevertheless, when in Chengdu if you’re talking pizza then you must be talking Mike’s because I am yet to have tried one as good in the UK, let alone China.
4 Tongzilin Lu Ste. 7/桐梓林路4号附7号 – Just look for the Big, Blue “M”
“From the Heart of Tuscany to the tastebuds of Chengdu” is a perfect fit for the motto of this wonderful restaurant as you are taken on a culinary journey from the southwest to the more hills of Tuscany. This is nicely complimented by an array of stunning Italian wines that also reside there in the form of Bucciano’s own “The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne” brand.
As I’m sure you can imagine, although the choice of food and wine is endless rest assured that the majority of dishes are served with a generous lashing of Tuscany’s finest extra virgin olive oil coupled with traditional bread and vegetables to tick you over while you take in the ambience. From pizza to pasta, meat or seafood- you will not be disappointed !
314 Block 3, Building B, Poly Center, 1 Jinxiu Road, Wuhou District ( Near to the Ping’an Bank, Yulin, North Kehua Road)/ 锦绣路1号保利中心B座3楼314室(玉林、桐梓林、科华北路、武侯区、平安银行附近)
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Being a Vegetarian in China can sometimes be a daunting “task”. You’re living in a country where there is meat in almost every dish and people are normally not too understanding about not eating meat. But you are also in the country that invented tofu, the country that has fresh vegetables in most dishes AND a variety of dishes which seems to be incomparable to what we have in Europe!
I have been a vegetarian for more than 13 years now, including not eating any seafood, fish and hardly any eggs, and I have travelled to China quite often as well. If you don’t speak any Chinese, it might be difficult for you to make yourself understood about your wishes. So in the following weeks, I want to share some of my tips and tricks on how to get around as a vegetarian without having to abandon too many of your principles and still being able to go out with your internship company colleagues, with us for our weekly Intern China dinners, with friends and of course with your host family. 🙂
Today I want to introduce the easiest way for having a really nice dinner in Qingdao: We have a Vegetarian restaurant called “Crystal Lotus Vegetarian Diet & Tea House, 清水连素膳茗坊” (No. 6 Yan’erdaolu, 燕尔岛路6号 ).
“Crystal Lotus” is definitely not one of the cheapest restaurants, I have to admit. But it’s located in central Qingdao, easy to find, really good looking cosy furniture and an amazing service. The first time I went there, I waited outside for a friend and they asked me to come inside, have some tea and warm up. They are really nice and welcoming; as soon as my friend came they brought us to a free table. The menu is great, a lot of pictures (if you can’t read any Chinese), you get everything from starters over mock-meat Beijing duck to soup and “dessert”. The waitress was very kind and attentive, and also asked if we can eat onions, garlic, coriander and ginger.
If you are still new to Qingdao, this should be one of the first places to go, since you won’t have any unpleasant surprises here!
The easiest and best way to eat some fresh seafood in Zhuhai is to go the seafood street. You can select your own live seafood and just bring it to one of the restaurants on the other side of the street.
At Wanzai Seafood Street, at the Xianggang District in Zhuhai you’ll find all different kinds of crabs, oysters, prawns and fishes that you can imagine.
Just go to there, choose everything you want to have, pay a little money, walk around on that unbelievable long road full of fish with some plastic bags with live seafood in it and then choose one of the restaurants on the other side of the street and they will be prepared for your dining pleasure.
In February 2013 we will open our new office in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, China. Not only is it one of the fastest growing cities in the world, but it is also China in a nutshell.
Here you can find hundreds of Chinese minorities, Han-Chinese and foreigners from all over the world peacefully living together. Chengdu is famous for its spicy hot-pot but being the host for the world-biggest research base for Pandas, too. A mix of different cultural influences, the laid-back lifestyle of the locals and the enormous pace of growth make Chengdu a fascinating city!
Not only the city itself but also its beautiful surrounding make Chengdu a wonderful place to explore: Mountains and rivers, Buddhistic sites and temples, Nature reservation parks and the Tibetan Plateau not far are teasing everyone who wants to escape the busy metropolis.
Last Tuesday my colleague Leo and me went on a first exploration trip to Chengdu in order to meet partner companies, host-families and to search for suitable office locations and a language school partner. The positive response that we received was overwhelming and just confirmed our decision: InternChina goes West!
The first interns in Chengdu can start beginning of March 2013, we can receive applications from now on. First internship positions and information about Chengdu can be found on our website www.internchina.com. Keep your eyes open, we are planning to offer a discount for those who book early for Chengdu.
To give you a first impression about Chengdu, please see the pictures below!