As you may know, in China food is one of the most important things! Indeed, sharing a meal is a social opportunity that is loved across China. However, reading a Chinese menu can seem intimidating.
At InternChina we love food too – check out this blog in order to know more about how we help you to explore Chinese cuisine. If you have never tried Chinese food before, don’t worry, you’ll definitely experience this soon enough!
And fear not, this article is here to hopefully help you understand a Chinese menu, so you can order yourself and impress your Chinese colleagues and friends!
The Chinese language may appear to be the most difficult language in the world at first, as we are not used to the Chinese characters. But don’t be intimidated! This ancient language is following a certain logic – as soon as you understand the logic, you’ll be able to read a Chinese menu without a doubt!
To avoid giving you a long history lesson, let’s just say that originally all Chinese characters were created using pictures, and were developed into the calligraphic style that we see today through several different steps.
History of Chinese Characters
Let me show you the evolution of the Chinese character for “horse” – if you don’t want to order this kind of dish, just look for it in a Chinese menu!
Now that you can understand how the Chinese characters work, just use your imagination and it will be way easier to read a menu! Let me show you some examples of the main ingredients you’ll find in a Chinese menu.
Meat on the Menu
These are basically the most common kinds of meat you’ll find on a menu in China. While horse meat isn’t that popular, in some places donkey meat is! Therefore, for donkey meat dishes you will have the character for horse, and one other symbol that looks similar to the tall ears of the donkey! So a donkey is a horse with tall ears, easy to remember- right? Can you find two more very similar characters? When you understand that the Chinese language is logic, it seems less and less hard, right?
After most of those characters in a Chinese menu you’ll see “肉-rou” that means “meat”.
Vegetables on the Menu
Obviously, the Chinese language can’t always be explained by pictures, but you can still see the logic behind the characters.
Let’s look at “potato” as an example. “Tu” means “earth“, and “dou” means “bean“. A potato is a bean that comes from the earth – easy!
Another interesting story can be found with “tomato.” Tomatoes weren’t originally found in China, they were imported. So in the Chinese name for tomato we have: “Xi” meaning “West“, “Hong” meaning “Red“, and “Shi” meaning “Persimmons“. Can you guess why? Because a tomato looks like a “red-persimmon imported from the West”! Clever, right?
“Bai” means “white” and “Cai” means vegetable, so the white vegetable is also know as the delicious Chinese cabbage! The easiest way to remember a Chinese character is to make a story from the shape of the character, or ask your Chinese friends to explain the character to you!
These are the main characters you’ll see in the dishes, so you’ll see if you are going to eat soup or some noodles.
Just one thing to remember about rice, restaurants commonly use “米饭” or just “饭” – character FAN– for rice. And a funny tip about “egg”- “dan” means egg, but in Chinese you’ll always call it a “Chicken egg”.
For the soup “tang” can you see the three dots on the left hand-side ? Looks like drops of water, right? Exactly! That’s the way of describing an object or dish with water inside, so now you all know that there is water in the soup now!
Our Favourite Dishes
Now that we’ve showed you the main characters you’ll see in a Chinese menu, let’s give you some more tips and the names of our favourite dishes!
These might take some more imagination to remember, as it won’t be as easy as the characters for various animals which were very close to the actual picture of the animal. However, these cards will be super useful while reading a Chinese menu. And, you can also show them in the restaurants if you can’t find them on the Chinese menu!
Don’t hesitate to choose those dishes if you see them on a Chinese menu, they’re delicious!
You can find the two first ones in every Halal restaurant, also known in Chinese as “Lanzhou Lamian, “and you can recognise these restaurants by the characters on the outside door: ‘兰州拉面‘. And the other dishes are found in any typical Chinese restaurant!
- XiHongshi Chao Jidan: Egg and tomato with rice.
- Jidan Chao Dao Xiao Mian: Fried egg, vegetables and cut noodles (this might be little spicy in some places!)
- Feng Wei Qie Zi : Fried aubergines.
- Tang Cu li Ji: Sweet and sour pork.
- Gan bian Da tou Cai : “Big head vegetable!” This will be some delicious Chinese cabbage and spicy sauce.
- Gong Bao Ji Ding : Chicken, peanuts and veggies, with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Please Don’t Forget!
Here some tips, that may save you one day – who knows!
- If a character has 月 on the left-hand side it is likely to be some sort of guts/intestines/belly/insides, i.e. run in the opposite direction!
- Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Then always avoid meals with this character “肉“, as this is “rou“, which means “meat.”
- Allergic to peanuts? This is the character you need to avoid : “花生“, pronounced “huasheng.”
- If you can’t eat spicy food, avoid this red one! “La” “辣” means spicy.
There is different kind of spicy food that our interns in Chengdu will be pleased to try! When you see those characters : 麻辣 be ready to experience some tingling and numbing sensation.
Don’t hesitate to ask our staff members on place to help you out with the pronunciation, or if you need any help ordering your food!
Did this help to convince you that living in China isn’t that difficult? Well then, you just need to apply now!
by Nick Goldstein
Two Week PMSA Language and Culture Programme
I’m not a very good writer, but when asked to write a piece on my first two weeks in Zhuhai as part of the PMSA Programme I volunteered. Not only because I want to get better, but because coming here under InternChina’s culture and internship program taught me the value of doing things you are scared of. That’s why I ended up here writing about InternChina’s program, having already wasted the first 60 words.
The first two weeks were packed! My personal highlights were tea making, calligraphy and Tai Chi classes. Although lots of fun, I also learned a lot. Much like learning about the history of your country helps you understand it today, learning about the details of Chinese culture helped me understand the big picture (it’s a really big picture!)
During this time, we visited two companies operating in the free trade zone. In the same way as our cultural activities, learning about the companies taught me not only about the company itself, its processes and operations, but also the way western firms interact with Chinese. I saw two models, although on the surface very similar, in practice very different, and I felt the difference. If I were to set up an operation in China, I know what I would do differently.
Part of the program was two weeks of intensive language classes. 3 hours a day in a room with other kiwis trying to learn Chinese was invaluable, and although my Chinese is not comprehensive, it is enough to make a contribution to the language gap. In China, at least where I am, the effort is more appreciated than required.
The third part of the program was the homestay experience. Make no mistake this was an experience, living with my own family was difficult enough, someone else’s is downright terrifying. Despite this, however, the most valuable aspect of the course was the homestay. Visiting companies and learning about culture is useful, but you only learn so much by teaching. Living in a homestay opened me up to the culture, exposing me to the intricacies.
Examples of what I have learnt are 1. That, at least in my family, no matter how loud your child’s friend is screaming, you don’t tell them off and 2. People really don’t like it when you wear shoes in the house, like REALLY don’t like it!
What I’ve Learnt
Jokes aside, I learned about the details of the culture, and I have made friends that I will take back to New Zealand. Reflecting on the past fortnight I think the most valuable thing I have learnt are soft skills. Cultural appreciation, empathy, an understanding of the Chinese approach, and an ability to work in Chinese culture, as well as, I believe, an improved ability to work with any culture. I think the friends, contacts and memories I have made are all important. Overwhelmingly, however, participating in this program has been mostly beneficial to my appreciation of different cultures, expanding my mindset.
InternChina – More than just an internship!
You all know our slogan, but what does it really means and implies for you? Weekly dinners, activities and 24/7 support are part of the answer !
I’ve been interning at InternChina for almost 2 months now, so I’ll make things more clear for you !
Not only you’ll have the chance to experience China and its business environment during your programme here, but you’ll be able to experience numerous and unique things in Zhuhai. Our InternChina team organise dinners and activities every week for your well being and entertainment ! Also it enables us to know you on a deeper level, know your preferences, make your stay in this new country as comfortable as possible and give you the opportunity to meet lovely people from all other the world ! If you wish to travel, we have a lot of amazing destinations we can help you visit that aren’t too far from Zhuhai.
Organizing dinners, activities and trips for our participants is part of my job as a Zhuhai office intern.
Read this blog and you’ll know what you can expect from our team, what you can do and explore in the city. By the end of it, you’ll feel like a Zhuhai local.
Of course if you have any suggestions of activities or trips around Zhuhai, let one of our InternChina team know about it ! We’ll do our best to fulfill your wishes !
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 Zhuhai InternChina WeChat account, or we post in our IC Zhuhai 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 provided! This helps us know how many people want to come along, so we can book a table accordingly. During the summer, we can have more than 30 people for dinner!
This is our job to organise this, all you need to do is scan the QR code and join! Couldn’t be easier !
After a week hard work during your internship, we know that you’ll totally want to enjoy some fun activities and trips during the weekend. With all the possibilities that the city offers, you’ll never get bored in Zhuhai. IC also organize a lot of activities and trips around Zhuhai as we know that exploring China and its culture elsewhere than Zhuhai is a must.
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 has Zhuhai to offer ? There are lots of fun tourist activities,such as the Lover’s Road, the Fisher girl, Jida Beach, the Chimelong aquarium, the Opera, the Gongbei underground market and the numerous temples. We also want to make sure you see the natural beauty in Zhuhai! Outdoor activities such as exploring Zhuhai’s islands, hiking to a waterfall, archery, paint-balling 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 Tai Chi lessons!
Following seasons, you may also get to attend the Cixi Festival in August, 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!
We also try to organise some weekend trips for you to discover other cities in China.
Recently, we organised a weekend trip to Tangkou- listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites ! In the past we have also organised trips to Beijing, Hezhou, Shanghai, and Yangshuo… 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!
Our IC team offers 24/7 support while you are on place, and we are here at every stage of your stay in China – before, during and after !
Upon your arrival, we will pick you up from the airport or ferry port and take you to your accommodation (apartment or a homestay). We’ll also provide you with an orientation to help you understand Chinese culture, and give you some advices about life in Zhuhai.
Your welcome pack will be awaiting you ! It includes a SIM card, travel card, map of the city, and address card and some InternChina goodies! Everything you need to have for your for your debut in China.
Whenever you need us, don’t hesitate to let us know, we’d be happy to help!
Our team on place is also always here to support you! We’ll always have a lot of advices and information to share with you. Moreover, if you feel sick, we will accompany 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 Zhuhai, and don’t know where to go or what to see, we’re here to propose you some places to go to! Below is a list of our favourite places- you can even impress your colleagues with your Zhuhai knowledge and invite them along!
HuoGongDian 伙工殿 – Try some Hunan food from the North of China ! The Hong Shao Rou (红烧肉) is supposedly Chairman Mao’s favourite dish. This place is a crowd favourite, the food is awesome. Address: 珠海市香洲区石花西路62号(近白莲洞公园) or get off the bus at 伙工殿大厦 (huo gong dian da sha).
The London Lounge – Very popular bar amongst expats. Their Chinese as well as Western staff are always ready to crack a joke and also the Open-Mic sessions every second Thursday are worth checking out! Location: East Coast, Jida
FBB Fresh Burger Bar – A German bar and restaurant located in Jida. Here you can get many Western (especially German) food and drinks ! There’s a wide range of german beer available ! Get off the bus at 水湾头”Shuǐ wān tóu” or just say it to the taxi driver !
GongBei Underground Market – For all of the shopaholics, there is an underground market in 拱北 (Gongbei) where you can get all your branded designer wear for suspiciously cheap prices, as well as a handful of more western companies (H&M, Vera Moda, Only, etc.) in the shopping malls.
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!
by Kim Whitwell
For the first weekend in December, 19 InternChina staff and interns travelled overland to the rural area of Kaiping, China to experience the rural offerings of historic diaolou country.
Setting off from Zhuhai, we all made our introductions and settled into getting to know each other. It was the first group trip the PMSA Kiwi students were involved in since landing a week earlier, so friendships were formed pretty early on.
Met by our tour guide Peter, and newly opened hostel owner Rocky in Tangkou, the group arrived just in time for a cooked lunch made with local produce from the area. Bellies full, and smiles on our faces for the blue skies and green scenery Kaiping was providing for us, we jumped on our bikes and followed Peter for the first of our diaolou tours.
Diaolous are fortified watchtowers built by the overseas Chinese in order to protect their rural home towns. To ensure their families were safe during mass emigration in the 20th century, overseas Chinese sent money back from afar to build them.
Displayed to the public, the presence of dialous are a marker of Chinese history and heritage. It reflects the rich culture and influences from both immigration (styles of décor in the diaolous show western influence) and emigration.
We wove in and out of rice fields all at the many different stages of cropping. Peter provided the knowledge and the various rural communities provided the photo opportunities. We all soaked in the authentic appearance and operations of the locals who went about their daily business with little more than a “ni hao!” in response to ours. We saw drying bok choy, rice husking, traditional instrument playing and oxen all within an hour.
On return to the hostel, we settled into the night on the roof top area watching the last of the sunlight fade. The hostel kitchen provided another extremely delicious meal, which some interns helped prepare. After, Peter captivated us with more of his extensive and passionate knowledge of diaolou country.
More chat, more beers and more laughter followed well into the night with a great time had by all . The immaculate hostel providing the most comfortable place to lay our heads for the night.
Day two arose with breakfast (a personal highlight) of both Chinese and Western cuisine (peanut butter on toast)! Then onto the bus we hopped to travel to some unique UNESCO sites in the local areas.
Bamboo forests and a local wedding greeted us at our first stop. Peter continued his extensive commentary on the history and significance of diaolous, mansions and operations in the local villages. Stop number two provided the Instagram opportunities! Lunch back at the hostel concluded our weekend in Kaiping. Bellies full once more, smiles a plenty and memories made, we filed back onto the bus and travelled a fairly sleepy and quiet journey home.
Kaiping is an authentic display of Chinese rural life that draws you into a time machine back 30 years. The attractions aren’t crowded or over commercialised so the experiences you have are very much genuine. Peter’s knowledge of the area and history behind it was captivating. He helped bring to life a part of the world not well known or considered in the tourism industry. Rocky has created an accommodation space that also feels genuine and homely. Utilising the infrastructure provided by history within the area the place is quirky and unique. If you are looking for a relaxing, yet interesting, time out from city life, this trip is for you.
Charity Promotion Association of Zhuhai
We are delighted to be partnered with an organisation that is passionate about what they do. The Charity Promotion Association of Zhuhai, also known as CPAZ, work with vulnerable sectors of the community by promoting social activism and public welfare. This is seen across many different projects they operate, including the annual Come Together fundraiser.
CPAZ is an official civil society organisation, and they are currently working on providing sponsorship for students in the local area. This sponsorship helps to provide students who have lost their parents and are struggling to stay in education, with tuition fees, books, and uniforms- all the necessary equipment required for basic education.
The organisation was established in 2005 and legalised as a registered charity in 2010. The charity has both a local and global vision for the future, and now has over 2000 registered volunteers, 250 members, and over 20 member units. With each project, they envision better development of public and social welfare throughout China, which includes assisting the establishment of social equality in Zhuhai.
What InternChina Do
Every year, InternChina help raise money for CPAZ by hosting a bar at the annual Come Together festival. We are partners in the CTC community, and the ultimate goal is to bring people together from all cultures and walks of life to celebrate music! We raise money for great charities with 100% transparency, and we are very proud to be involved with such a brilliant cause!
InternChina étant une organisation axée sur les étudiants, lorsque l’un de nos candidats confirme sa place sur notre programme, InternChina est en mesure d’offrir des options de paiement flexibles pour rendre cette partie du processus le plus simple possible.
Tous les participants auront la possibilité de payer leurs frais de programme dans les 30 jours suivant la confirmation de leur participation au programme en signant leur formulaire de réservation.
L’autre option consistera pour nos participants à effectuer le plus petit paiement de 20% de leurs frais de programme dans les 30 jours suivant la confirmation de leur participation au programme et les 80% finaux au moins 30 jours avant leur arrivée en Chine.
Cela permet à nos participants de confirmer leur place sur le programme le plus tôt possible pour s’assurer qu’ils peuvent réserver les vols les moins chers possibles et se réjouir d’une expérience incroyable, dans certaines des villes les plus étonnantes que la Chine a à offrir !
Merci de nous communiquer votre choix d’option de paiement par mail afin que nous puissions prendre les mesures nécessaires.
Pour les paiements internationaux nous vous recommandons d’utiliser TransferWise – plus d’infos ici.
InternChina est fier d’être le fournisseur de stage en Chine possédant une approche à la fois éthique et transparente dans le but d’organiser des stages de qualité, et ce dans une grande variété de secteurs.
Le facteur le plus distinctif de notre processus de candidature consiste dans le fait que vous êtes en mesure de discuter et de confirmer votre stage avec l’entreprise d’accueil de votre choix avant de vous engager dans le programme ou d’effectuer un quelconque paiement.
Vous trouverez ci-dessous une brève explication concernant chaque étape du processus et de quelle manière InternChina vous guide tout au long de ce dernier tout en mêlant rapidité et efficacité.
1. Exprimer votre intérêt pour les programmes en soumettant vos coordonnées via le formulaire de candidature ci-dessous.
2. Un membre de l’équipe européenne d’InternChina vous répondra dans les plus brefs délais avec des suggestions de stage qui vous permettront de jeter un coup d’œil et de juger votre niveau d’intérêt pour ces dernières. Ces suggestions seront basées sur la candidature que vous aurez soumise.
3. Vous devez ensuite indiquer au membre de l’équipe InternChina les entreprises et les stages pour lesquels vous souhaitez postuler, votre préférence pour la date de début du stage, la durée du séjour en Chine ainsi que l’hébergement et les préférences générales du programme.
4. Votre demande sera ensuite transmise à l’un des membres du personnel basé en Chine. Ce dernier vous fournira plus de détails sur les postes pour lesquels vous avez montré de l’intérêt ainsi que sur la destination. Ce sera également l’occasion de vous présenter au superviseur de stage dans les sociétés d’accueil pour lesquels vous souhaitez être considéré(e).
5. Une interview sur Skype est généralement organisée et effectuée entre vous et la société d’accueil pour que vous puissiez en savoir plus sur l’entreprise, vos tâches et le projet sur lequel vous travaillerez. La société qui vous accueillera profitera également de cette opportunité pour décider si elle souhaite ou non vous accepter pour le poste.
6. Le membre du personnel d’InternChina supervisant la candidature recueillera alors auprès de vous et de la société hôte la confirmation que les deux parties sont prêtes à participer et à fournir le stage.
7. Si l’entreprise ne convient pas, InternChina a des centaines d’entreprises et de postes intéressants pour lesquels postuler. InternChina peut également suggérer des stages alternatifs auxquels postuler. Si la société d’accueil est heureuse de vous accepter et que vous êtes heureux d’accepter leur offre, InternChina vous accueillera !
8. Un membre de l’équipe InternChina basé dans la ville où vous vous rendez ou de l’une de nos équipes européennes sera alors en mesure de passer par toutes les étapes requises avant le départ et vous aidera à vous préparer pour un moment inoubliable et déterminant en Chine.
Congratulations! You have acquired an internship in China! By now, you must have researched all about how to successfully communicate and work with your soon to be Chinese co-workers. Through the research you have gathered, you must have read about “face’’ and “guanxi’’ a lot. Well, here’s a bit more, with tips and advice from two of our partnered companies here in China!
What is Guanxi or Mianzi?
Here is a quick introduction for those that don’t know these two concepts. Guanxi, or “relationships,” is used to describe relationships in their many forms. These can be between friends, families, or businesses.
You can read more about the concept of guanxi from James here, but it is absolutely essential to conducting business and succeeding in China.
Mianzi or “face”, explained here, is so important in Chinese social, political, and business circles that it can literally make or break a deal! It can be translated as “honour”, “reputation” and “respect,” and the concepts are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture.
So how do you achieve Guanxi and Mianzi??
There are a few ways you can better your guanxi and gain some mianzi- read some comments from our partnered companies on how best to do it!
“Be open-minded, curious, and prepared!” – Marketing firm
The lifestyle and the business environment in China is different than it is in the West, so have an open mind for your new lifestyle here in China. You need to try being patient and understanding of your new cultural surroundings and work with potential language barriers.
Ask lots of questions while you are at your internship! Don’t worry about bothering your new co-workers, they want to help you, so ask away!
You should also engage in conversations while you are at social events, such as dinners, with your coworkers- this a great way of building your “guanxi!” However, you should remember to keep your questions reasonable and appropriate for the situation. You don’t want to ask any questions which might embarrass or cause your coworkers to lose face themselves.
Even though you might not know much about China in general, the city you are in, or the language, you can always do a bit of research to show you care enough to learn. This might mean doing some research before you visit, and continuing to ask questions and engage while you are there.
“Offer to buy dinner or go out to eat, and asking for help with and opinions on your work.” – Education company
But this doesn’t need to be anything fancy! Even something simple such as grabbing some nice dumplings or noodles at lunch can do the trick. Spending some quality time with your co-workers will be good for your guanxi and networking, and for your daily working life! If your coworkers ask you out for dinner after a long day of work, take the chance and enjoy a good meal and conversations- you will build your guanxi, mianzi and social circle!
Finally, ask for help when you need it. This is still an internship! You aren’t expected to know everything, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you don’t know something. Asking a colleague will show you are engaged and interested in the work, and they will appreciate sharing their knowledge of the task with you and gain face. It’s as great to earn as it is to give face!
Feeling ready for that internship now? Best of luck and enjoy your time in China!
Don’t have an internship yet? Check out 5 reasons why you should get one in China!