Life on Nanchang Lu, Shanghai – Interview with Fiona Reilly

Interview with Fiona Reilly

Today I’ve the honor to interview Fiona, the soul of Life on Nanchang Lu, the place where you shall go if you want to learn more about food – especially street food, – in Shanghai.


Fiona, you define yourself as a Foodie, Writer, Photographer and Expert dumpling taster. I want to start with the most important question: What is, in your opinion, the best dumpling’s fanguanr of Shanghai?

I have a soft spot for The Humble Room at 601 Nanchang Lu. Now it’s opposite the bright and shiny IAPM Mall so it looks even more humble, but it has some of the very tastiest (and cheapest) xiaolongbao in the city.

In your series about Shanghai Street Food, you list 36 different kind of street foods. Let’s say I’m in Shanghai only for a day and my goal is to learn as much as I can about the topic. Where should I go and what would you suggest me to taste?

The great thing about street food is that you can begin your education at any time of day! [Read more…]

Travel to North Korea: The Guide

travel to north korea

This guide contains almost all the information you need to prepare your trip to North Korea. Below, you’ll find all of the subjects which we cover in this guide. You can click on them to skip directly to the sections you’re interested in.

Can I travel to North Korea?

Yes, traveling to North Korea is possible, regardless of your nationality (unless you’re South Korean). However, just like with Tibet, unless you hold a Chinese passport, you will need to contract a tour agency to visit North Korea.

Keep in mind that on some occasions, there may be further restrictions for visitors from certain countries (normally Americans, Israelis and Japanese people).

[Read more…]

This is not your grandmother’s Tai Chi – A trip to deepest China in search of the original Taiji Quan

Taijiquan in Chenjiagou

This article was written by Luca Magnabosco who, with a degree in sociology from Trento, lives and works in the remote province of Vicenza. His interests are Chinese culture, folklore, martial arts and social sciences, sometimes simultaneously. When time and money permit, he reads and travels. On his blog, Cambaluq, among other things you will find a more detailed version of his adventures in China.

Once upon a time in China

Take a group of old people, the sleepiest you can find, bring them to a public park and make them do exercises of, um, synchronized gymnastics or something of that sort. I recommend: sloooow! This is the image of Tai Chi popular in the west, where it has been widespread now for decades. Some will tell you it is similar to Yoga, others that it is a form of meditation, the rashest that it is an exotic form of dance.

This is because Tai Chi is the victim of a long series of misunderstandings, starting with its name itself: the most correct transcription would be “Taiji Quan”, generally translated as ”boxing of extreme polarity”. The most important word in this translation is actually Quan, which reminds us how Taiji Quan might be considered a martial art and have self-defense among its original principal purposes, the modern and politically correct way of defining the ability to give somebody a beating. Those elegant circles your grandmother traces in the air with her hands while she’s trying to keep up with the rhythm of her Tai Chi group? It’s really a series of hooks, leverages, thrusts, and blows to the throat and scrotum. [Read more…]

10 things that you should avoid doing in Beijing

shouldn't do in beijing

Today I am continuing with my series of articles dedicated to Beijing, my “second home.” As opposed to my last article, in this article, I want to list the things that you should avoid doing in Beijing.

For those of you who know the city a little, many of these things may seem obvious to you (or maybe not so much). For those of you who are visiting the city for the first time, I recommend that you read this article thoroughly.

That’s enough rambling for now, so, here’s WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO IN BEIJING: [Read more…]

Driving in China: How can I get my license?

drive in china get license

In this article you will find a summary of all the information you need to be able to drive in mainland China. You can click on the links below to skip directly to the section you’re interested in.

Getting a temporary permit in mainland China (maximum 3 months)

Getting a Chinese driver’s license if you already have one from another country

Getting a driver’s license for the first time

Web pages and apps to study for the written test

But before starting, here are some general things to consider…

  • This article is based on the laws of the province of Beijing, and as usually is the case in China, the requirements may vary slightly depending on the city in which they apply.
  • Written exams can be done in English or Chinese. Nonetheless, in some small cities, you may be forced to do them in Chinese (sometimes they may authorize you to bring a translator). On the other hand, in some of the main cities of the country, you may even find exams in other languages (such as Spanish, French, German or Arabic).

[Read more…]

The top 20 tourist attractions of Hong Kong


In view of the success of our “Complete guide for traveling in China“, I thought I’d write a similar guide about traveling to Hong Kong (visas, transport, hotels, etc).

But then I thought of how, before arriving in Hong Kong for the first time, I didn’t even know what there was to see. So I decided to publish, first of all, an article introducing the main attractions of Hong Kong. Enjoy!

p.s. The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) is Hong Kong’s subway system. Click here for an interactive map.

Hong Kong Island

1. Watch the show “A Symphony of Lights” on the Avenue of Stars

We’re not just talking about any light show: A Symphony of Lights is entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest permanent light show on the planet. In fact, 45 buildings along the Skyline of Hong Kong Island “shoot” laser lights toward Victoria Harbor in time to music. [Read more…]

Journalism Internship in Shanghai: Interview with Anna

journalism internship shanghaiAnna at  Di Jing’An Temple

Today we’re speaking with Anna Pisaniello, who at the moment is in Shanghai for a journalism internship with the magazine Imetro.

How to find an internship in China

Anna, how and when did you manage to find an internship as a journalist with Imetro, a Shanghai magazine?

I was wandering around on the internet and I found the site Projects Abroad. When I discovered that through them I could do an internship with a Chinese newspaper, I decided to go. I wound up at Imetro, in reality without any choice. I simply sent a resume and test article in English to Projects Abroad. The partner companies make the selections, based on experience and qualifications. [Read more…]

What to see and do in Beijing: 10 alternative plans

things to do in beijing

I have been living in Beijing for more than four years and aside from articles on how to rent an apartment, study Chinese and the city’s best hotels, I have written practically nothing on the city which has been my home for such a long time. In this first article on the subject, I am going to suggest ten alternative plans for Beijing to you.

Today I’m not going to talk about the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the other typical places in the city. They are obligatory visits if it’s your first time in Beijing. At that moment if you want to read about this places you can just read the Lonely Planet which give a fare and detailed information.

Today, I want to share with you a little bit of the “wisdom” which I have been accumulating during these years. This article is dedicated to those people who are looking for something more in their visit to Beijing or those who have been in the city for a while and are looking for something to do in their free time. [Read more…]

To spend or not to spend? How much and when to pay for an app dedicated to the study of Chinese

when to pay for a chinese app

As a student of Chinese at the end of my three year course, I’ve spent many – too many – nights in the books or, worse still, seeing characters flutter before me until I finally went to bed. My Chinese books have notes in every free corner, and are worn out. I’ve used a disproportionate number of exercise books and pictures books, often with kittens or cartoons on the cover.

And the dictionary… Here’s where things get interesting. Just before officially enrolling and registering for a Chinese course, I bought a dictionary. A lovely green and white brick that for me represented the solution to all my problems, the source of all possible knowledge. However I barely used that dictionary, thanks to Pleco.

If you study Chinese and you don’t know Pleco, know that this free little app without advertising banners will be your salvation. And just as Pleco perfectly replaced the brick I revered with a bit of trepidation, and has been most useful, there are many other apps that constitute a valid support for the study of Chinese. [Read more…]

8 great dishes from Sichuan that you can find in a restaurant

Sichuan food

This article was written by Elaine Luo, the writer, photographer and cook of China Sichuan Food.

Sichuan cuisine is my favorite cuisine out of the eight ones of China not only because of my childhood but also because of the great taste and imagination. There is a famous description about Sichuan food: “one hundred dishes, one hundred flavors.” Sichuan cuisine is featured by its unique cooking methods, adaption of spices and seasonings including fresh ones, pickled vegetables and dried goods. Now Sichuan dishes are enjoyed across the world. Today I’m going to introduce eight of the best dishes from Sichuan you can usually find in a real Sichuan style restaurant. [Read more…]