Food experience in Shanghai

31 08 2010

Like last time, visiting my dear friend Ulrich, I had a great food experience, even not considering the good time at beer festival and eating teppan yaki:

A glorious breakfast with bread and croissant from the local French bakeri
Food experience

with also real Italian mozzarella and German sausages
Food experience

and super tasty coffee freshly ground from beans
Food experience

enjoyed with a good friend, Ulrich
Food experience

..and some extra goodies took to Hefei, Italian and French food
Food experience


Teppan yaki buffet

31 08 2010

Beef and Chicken Teppan YakiAnd I thought that after Mikado in Stavanger I could not have satisfactory teppan yaki experiences any more! OK, with Norwegian Aikido friends we had teppan in Nagoya, Japan, good, and expensive, as it was in Norway. But still Mikado presentation and cooking performances were actually better than the Japanese chef!!

Chinese teppan yaki buffet @ TaiRyoSo Saturday evening, in Shanghai, I proposed to Wenhui and Ulrich to eat Japanese.. and they took me to a restaurant chain, called TaiRyo, specialized in teppan yaki where for .. 150 RMB you can eat and drink as much as you want!!!! Yes, I am serious, no kidding!!! Drinking beer, Japanese draft Kirin and eat whatever you want, from teppan lamb, beef, to prawns and shells, to fruit or vegetables, eel, sushi, sashimi, all included!!! Unfortunately the chain has not reached Hefei yet….

Chinese teppan yaki buffetI think we just paid little extra for the sake, to have the full immersion experience into Japanese style! And after a couple of servings of a delicious beef, eel, and a few different other dishes I have to admit that I was full.. full, extremely full!!!

The restaurant presented several tables of about 10 seats each, every table provided of its own iron plate and chef. Chinese cooking is usualyl more about efficiency than European, and the time for enjoying one dish was always enough for the chef to produce the following one.

Big Bamboo beautyTo help digestion we went for a walk in a nice open area with several bars, among which one I already knew the name: Big Bamboo, recommended by some email-MSN contact from my past.. We were looking for live music, but the show had already ended (yeah, before 9pm as mentioned before!!). In Chinese bars anyway, at least for my eyes, the “show” always finds alternatives, as the picture of this gorgeous waitress proves. I am easy to satisfy!! 😀 (the picture is not good.. cheap piece of junk of a camera..)

A great evening in Hefei

30 08 2010


I hadn’t heard from Veronika (Pan Lei, 潘蕾) from.. the night I met her, dancing in Madison at the music of the American dj, that I thought it was her boyfriend. So, for once, I had decided to not bother and canceled her mobile number..

..and today she sms’ed me, and we decided to meet, resulting in a great evening. We had a Chinese dinner in a local restaurant in Ming Zhu square, not far from both our places.. before we actually realized that her school campus and my home are even closer to each other than Ming Zhu area! 🙂

A very nice Monday morning, after a great weekend in Shanghai, and soon it’s time to go to sleep.. right after this post! And the pics 😉

A good thing that with her, being a student here, I can hope to have a good time longer than just for one week.. 😉 But this time no hurry.. She is still at the second year and she practices fencing. I hope I’ll have a chance to see her doing that!! Or just see her again soon 😉

mushroom paradise

Kunshan beer festival

30 08 2010

A 10 days long beer festival, organized in an extremely nice way, in a city less than 1 hour driving from Shanghai, well connect by train and buses (a spectacular train station!!).  Visiting Kunshan, 昆山, beer festival was a good experience!

I just got a little taste of the festival and of the beer because of a typical Chinese behavior: the party for them is over around 21-22 o’clock!! Since I arrived at Kunshan around 23, I noticed that I was the only person entering the festival area, while there was already a continue stream of Chinese people walking outside!

Kunshan beer festivalTrue that most of the areas were still counting several foreigners, but my friend was together with Chinese people as well, so we did not stay long.   In the short time I manage thought to taste good original German beer (my German friend had a table in the German tent!), had a couple of apple liquor shots, dance German music (played by German band directly from Baviera) with happy Chinese business men and pretty waitresses and exchange contacts for future connections.  

Also, we went home with “a few” of the typical beer mugs from the festival. Ulrich, my friend, extended his collection (now he got around 10 different every year!) and I started mine, hoping to get new ones next year!!

Kunshan beer festival

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – One very important aspect of Chinese life is:  

guān xì relations
relation / relationship / to concern / to affect / to have to do with / relations / guanxi

The relationship intended as with people of any kind, from friendship to business, but important always is to eastablish a connection, even with people just met. That is why it is so important in China to have business or name cards. And I got them now (I’ll write soon about it as well 😉 ).

Shanghai and Kunshan

27 08 2010

Weekend in Shanghai: tonight I will leave the rainy weather of Hefei for getting some rain in Shanghai 🙂

The weather is very weird over here. I was afraid of the terrible Chinese summer, but except for maybe 10-15 days, I haven’t really suffered much. I suffer more for the boring rain! And in the rain it is so difficult to get a taxi, even more difficult from down South wher eI work, for going North East, at the train station. And I do not have so much time (1.5 hours is not much time for the distance!). Hope for the best!

Tonight I should meet my friend Ulrich in Kunshan, a small town just before Shanghai, where my German friend is attending the local version of the Oktober fest, the German beer festival! I’ll be there quite late, maybe able to taste only 1 beer.. better than Chinese beer, therefore worth!

Another special rasons for this weekend is that a Swedish Aikido girl will arrive in Shanghai for one year of Chinese language studies. She is a friend of Svein, Aikido Norwegian friend, and her two teachers are extremely good, one being one of my favorite instructors ever, Jorma Lyly. She is from Noboko dojo in Södertälje, not far from Stockholm. Ands she will practice in my favorite Shanghai Aikido club, so maybe I’ll have a chance to meet her on the mats already Sunday!

Let’s see this time how bad is my condition.. I went for jogging a couple of days ago and my legs have been killing me since!! 😦

First of all, let’s if I manage to take the train I have the ticket for, otherwise I will sneak and stand on the next one..

5 good reasons to learn Chinese

26 08 2010

After 5 months here, I can think about 5 “reasons”..

Xiao Jie and me
Xiao Jie

Meng MengMeng Meng

Sun PeiSun Pei

Wang Xian Lan and me
Wang Xian Lan

Sha Sha and Wei Li
Sha Sha (on the left)

Yes, they are all over 18 😉 they are only friends; except 2 they speak almost only Chinese; I do not meet them socially very often if at all (at least not in date form)..

Still, my Chinese is very yi dian dian.. little little understanding, in my case, zero!!

blabla Andy blabla

25 08 2010

Trondheim - Nidaros domine cathedralMany years ago, 15 to be precise, I arrived in Trondheim, Norway and after about one month there I experienced quite a few times the situation of having people at my side talking in Norwegian and suddenly mentioning my name. Since I started learning Norwegian only many months later, every time I did hear my name in conversation where I did not understand anything I always got very aware and tried to capture some words, maybe get a feeling of what the people was saying.

It is very weird if you hear your name suddenly followed maybe by laugh.. never particularly enjoyed, specially when all the rest except my name and the laughes was like whitenoise! 🙂

hefei - 6amNow, many years and many kilometers later, I find myself in the same situation: many many times, especially when out with colleagues, I hear them mentioning my name when talking Chinese (OK, my “English” name, Andy.. Andrea is far too difficult!). My reaction though is completely different: since I would not understand anyway a single word even being 1000% aware to the conversation, I basically do not mind or care or react or anything until they decide to include me and they clearly openly say something to me in English or basic Chinese. Most of the time anyway they would not be able to explain in English what they were talking about, as I experienced.

So to avoid to embarrass them or, sometimes worse, getting a non-sensical English explanation, I prefer to wait and see where the talk goes. Most of the time it goes no where, since most of colleagues or girls with limited (if any) English are too shy or careful to even try to speak to me..

I am a scary dude with such a lovely name though…