Tag: Suzhou

12 weeks in Suzhou

12 weeks in Suzhou

It looks like summer is officially over in Shanghai. This week, temperatures dropped below 30 degrees, even below 20 yesterday, so it’s time to catch up on all of the things that happened in summer over here. Soon, it will be Golden Week / October Holiday here so I’ll try to finish before then.

A lot of my summer was spent in Suzhou. I had a project there from late May to mid August, which meant that I was away every week Monday – Thursday. Suzhou is about 100 km west of Shanghai and easily reachable by high speed train. It is famous for its canals, watertowns, gardens and silk. People from Shanghai like to call it small given that it only has a population of 11 million 😉

Somehow, we never managed to find a weekend to stay in Suzhou and properly visit all the tourist things. Between birthdays, cooking classes, dinners, GGI events, a bachelorette party and a wedding, Shanghai just kept us too busy and entertained all summer. That means I have yet to see the gardens and watertowns, but I at least managed some walks on the shore of Jinji lake and along some canals.

During my last week, we had a nice team building event and dinner together. This is my attempt at making a bowl – turns out, I am not very talented at pottery. Eating is still more my thing and the local Suzhou fish, noodles and other food is really tasty.

Overall, Suzhou looks like quite a nice place to live with all the comforts and services we have in Shanghai. Also, it’s cheaper and people seem much nicer. Still, my heart belongs to Shanghai and I was always excited to get on the train back home on Thursdays 🙂

Now, I have started my next project, which is in Wuxi. Hopefully, I will manage to see more there in the coming 3 months.

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.