Surrounded by the seas and enclosed by rugged mountains, the island of Taiwan has captured the imagination of people for generations; from Portuguese explorers who labelled the island Ilha Formosa (the beautiful isle) to present day tourists from around the world. Today, travelers continue to be impressed by all that the small island offers them, most notably the famous night markets that decorate the city streets every night. The sights and smells that permeate these food stalls are guaranteed to make your mouth water. At the market you’ll find delicious classics like bubble milk tea |珍珠奶茶 | zhēnzhū nǎichá , braised pork on rice | 滷肉飯 | lǔ ròu fàn, steamed pork belly buns | 割包 | guàbāo, and beef noodle soup | 牛肉麵 | niúròu miàn, as well as more adventurous selections like pig’s blood cake | 豬血糕 | zhūxiě gao, thin noodles with intestine | 大腸麵線 | Dàcháng miàn xiàn, and stinky tofu | 臭豆腐 | chòu dòufu (I guarantee, it tastes better than it smells). The list goes on and on; there’s no shortage of food to try. Strolling the many night markets is one of the best ways to define the term active eating; testing your patience as you wait in line for the most popular food stalls, just as the locals do, is truly a cultural experience. Read more to find out why a trip to Taiwan should be about more than just its night markets snacks, popularly termed “xiǎochī | 小吃”. Read More
If you’ve ever read or been a part of a forum on the subject, you know that it has been decided that using 你好| nǐ hǎo isn’t a very native way to greet someone in Chinese. But relaaaaax — if you have been strictly using Ni Hao, it’s no big deal. But if you really want to sound more native, read more for our list of useful greetings that are great to have in your arsenal.
Qing Ming Jie or Tomb Sweeping Day is upon us (it takes place on April 4th this year). This festival is meant to venerate your dearly departed. The original tradition was to burn stacks of paper printed with currency symbols called 冥纸 | Míng zhǐ . This money would then be accessible to your ancestors to spend in their afterlife. As the years went by, this tradition slowly transformed from burning stacks of paper to burning paper models of pretty much anything you can think of that would make your ancestors happy.
The reasoning behind this is whatever you burn, your ancestors will be able to use in their new life (or death). Have an ancestor who was a mechanic? Burn a paper Auto Repair Shop. Have an ancestor who loves fast food? Burn them a paper McDonald’s. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination… most places where you order these models will take custom requests. Read more for 22 items you can purchase (and consequently burn) for Qing Ming Jie.
The third tone in Mandarin: the sound that gets learners bobbing their heads up and down like bulldogs in a car. That wily 全上 | Quán shàng | dip of the head. That dreaded downwards arrow. It is taught as a down-up sound that you are supposed mirror by moving your head down and up along with the sound. Consequently, you feel like a fool dipping your head up and down everytime attempt to speak it out loud. The biggest nuisance of all? No native actually sounds like this when they speak naturally, and you’re going to sound really over the top by doing it. and no native will understand what it is you are saying when you make this exaggerated sound.
Alas! There is a hack. One that is going to blow your mind, and possibly make you roll your eyes. The secret to sounding native when speaking the third tone? Speak it like a Kardashian. Read more to see what on earth I could possibly be talking about.
Springtime is on it’s way! The snow is starting to melt, the flowers are blooming, and temperatures are on the rise. Even if you’re in one of China’s big cities, don’t’ fret: there’s an escape from the hustle and bustle where you can experience Spring in all it’s glory. Pack your bag, throw on your sneakers, and check out some of the amazing Springtime destinations in China. Read More