Month: November 2017

Angkor Wat Sunrise

Angkor Wat Sunrise

We just got back from an amazing vacation in Cambodia and Singapore last night, so this is the start of probably quite a few posts.

In Cambodia we stayed in Siem Reap to visit the Angkor temples, something that has been on my travel bucket list for ages. One of the main attractions at Angkor Wat is to see the sunrise, so I’m starting with a post about that. On our second day of temple touring we got up super early to experience it. After not being able to see the sunset the day before because it was too cloudy we were happy to see the sky was pretty clear when we arrived. The first picture was taken at 5:33, the last at 6:38.

The main two things I read about the sunrise is that it is very crowded and very stunning. Both were true. There were a lot of people but it was very beautiful and I’m glad I got to see it. And I’m a sucker for classic tourist shots, see below 🙂

Random facts: how much can you fit on a bike?

Random facts: how much can you fit on a bike?

Level 1: Beginner

Nice effort but I assume this is just the start of collection round.

Level 2: Advanced

This is some pretty impressive stacking.

Level 3: Absolute Pro

You know you’ve piled it to maximum height when you can just barely fit under the power lines 🙂

Happy Singles’ Day! 

Happy Singles’ Day! 

Today is Singles’ Day in China, and that means online shopping! 

It was started around 25 years ago by university students to celebrate being single, sort of an anti Valentine’s Day. The date 11/11 was chosen because of the many ones which represents a single individual. 

Alibaba, the biggest retailer in China has managed to turn it into a huge shopping holiday. If you’re single, you can just buy yourself lots of presents 🙂 That’s pretty clever marketing. Now it’s the biggest online shopping day in the world, bigger than Black Friday. Last year people spent around 18 BILLION US Dollars. 

There are lots of events, deals and advertisements everywhere (for example all over our metro station) and you can get great discounts at many stores. I don’t really need anything but that has never stopped me before 😉 Since Thorben is on a business trip again I might have to buy myself some presents and start getting things for Christmas. 

Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast Foodie Tour

Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast Foodie Tour

After the delicious foodie tour in Hong Kong, I looked up what UnTour Food Tours offers in Shanghai. One, because it was fun and delicious and two, because the flyer I got in Hong Kong included a 10% off voucher 🙂 The one that spoke to me was the Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast so that’s what Ellie and I did on Sunday morning. Unfortunately the 9am tour was already fully booked, so I dragged myself out of bed for the 8am one. Spoiler: It was worth it.

We started at Xiangyang Park where we got a good glimpse of typical morning park activities: Water calligraphy, group sword swinging, Tai Chi and dancing. Our first stop was a street corner with a few different stalls. We tried jianbing (Shanghai pancake), fried dough sticks (kind of like unsweetened churros) dipped in fresh soy milk, savory and sweet baozi (buns), fried dumplings and potstickers with pork filling. My favorite was the jianbing and watching the lady whip them up in record time. Luckily, our apartment is only a couple blocks away so I’ll be back to this magical place soon.

Next, we stopped at a little cafe for some drinks and then wandered through some alleyways. Our destination was a shop which served hand-pulled noodles in scallion oil and soy sauce – yum! Watching the guy pulling the noodles was an attraction by himself. He was so fast I’m half convinced he just had the thin noodles up his sleeve before he started. Our guide Christina risked her life for us by cutting up the noodles with scissors to divide them (bad luck, because long noodles = long life!) 🙂 We also had bamboo tofu with green peppers which was good and spicy.

After a little trip through the wet market, we went to a dumpling shop and had delicious xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) and wonton soup. After that I was convinced I could not eat anything more but there’s always room for dessert 🙂 We got bubble waffles which were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, so just perfect.

Overall it was a fantastic tour with a great guide. Christina, a Canadian/Cantonese who has been living in China for 8 years, was really nice, told us lots of interesting stories and pointed out buildings I have walked by lots of times without noticing. Of course I may have also liked her because she fed us a lot and wore an awesome shirt.

It’s Hairy Crab season!

It’s Hairy Crab season!

There are many things in the Chinese cuisine that are a little weird. One thing are the hairy crabs. It is hairy crab season now and everyone is very excited. I finally tried them yesterday.

Similar to lobsters, they used to be considered pests and only became a delicacy pretty recently. Here in China that started with the big famines in the middle of the last century: people had to eat everything to survive. Leaves, bark, and well, hairy crabs, the pest in rivers and lakes.

Now everyone eats hairy crabs at least once a year in the fall, when they are in season. They are steamed (alive?) and taste … okay. The meat in the legs is pretty good but I didn’t care much about the yellow stuff on the inside that is supposed to be the best part. It tasted a little like egg yolk. Also, they really are hairy, see for yourself.

I read an article that the hairy crabs are migrating to European and North American waters and are a threat to local wildlife. So … start eating hairy crabs, people!

I had them during our department workshop, which was more about the crabs than the workshop. We went to an island in Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou. It was a great location – accessible only with a water taxi.

Everything we ate was locally grown – the snails, the vegetables, the hairy crabs. They even grow their own soybeans and rice.