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Archived Posts from “China”

Beijing-The Northern Capital

04

June

Beijing (also known as Peking), which literally translates to “Northern capital,” is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Beijing will be the home of the Summer Olympics in 2008. As the name suggests, BeijingBeijing is located in the northern section of China. It is a fairly mountainous area with rivers running through it. Monsoons affect the climate there. Summers in Beijing are hot and humid while its winters are very cold and dry with strong winds. Three quarters of the rainfall takes place in the summer months. Beijing also experiences frequent dust storms due to the erosion of the deserts. At times, rain is unnaturally induced by the Beijing Weather Modification Office to lessen the effects and aftereffects of said storms. The best time hands-down to visit Beijing is in the fall as that is when the weather is at its best, or as a second place option, during the spring. The weather is also favourable, but the dust storms can be impeding. If you can handle the harshness of China’s winters, the snow does wonders to brighten the beauty of the city. Try to avoid traveling there during peak vacation times for China as traffic becomes heavily congested.

Beijing’s modes of transportation of course include air travel and roads that accommodate both cars and buses. In addition, the city has a five-line subway system. Two of the lines are run on land and three run underground. Several more are under way. There are also railways, the two main train stations being the Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station. Taxi services are of course available, as well.

Yi He Yuan Summer PalaceBeijing is home to countless incredibly beautiful attractions, some old and some new. The Great Wall of China needs no introduction and is of course a must-see while visiting the city. One particular section of The Great Wall at Mutianyu called JianKou is what you might call wildly beautiful. It is more unkempt than many other sections, set amongst the mountains with nature abounding. Another pin in the map that absolutely should not be surpassed is the Forbidden City Imperial Palace. Built in the 1400’s, this palace is breathtakingly beautiful from the gardens up to the rooftops. Also, check out the Jingshan Park-the highest point of Beijing city, to get a view of the Forbidden City from above. Some other incredible attractions include the world’s largest town square-Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, the Ruins of The Old Summer Palace, and the Temples of Heaven, Earth, Sun, and Moon. These are only a tiny percentage of the amazing sights the city of Beijing has to offer.

The cuisine of the city has long relied greatly on mutton-be it boiled, fried, minced, or steamed. Pork is also what you might call a staple food item in Beijing. Some other favorites are fish and (of course) the Peking duck. One of the more widely used seasoning-type foods is the onion. Beijing has many fabulous restaurants to feed your appetite during your travels there. Some widely recommended examples include Fangshan, Quan Ju De, Alameda, Huang Ting, and Din Tai Fung. Beijing will be a vacation you will remember forever.


Great Wall Of China

16

November

The Great Wall of China as some believed originated as a military fortification against intrusion by tribes on the borders during the earlier Zhou Dynasty. In 770-BC-476BC, the ducal states extended the defense work, and built large structures to prevent the attacks from other states. The Great Wall of China was eventually separated during the Qin Dynasty, which preceded the Zhou Dynasty. The Zhao, Qin, and Yan kingdoms were connected to form a defensive system on the northern border of the country of Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. In 214 BC the building of the Great Wall of China was on its way. The Great Wall of China took as long as ten years to build.

The Great Wall of China took hundreds of thousands of laborers working daily beyond human limitations to construct and build. Many persons that did not work were thrown into the foundation trenches starving from hunger and exposure of the earths changing weathers. The Great Wall of China was then called The Longest Cemetery on Earth. Buried beneath its structure were more than 400,000 persons.

The Great Wall was stretched from Linzhao (eastern part of Gansu Province), in the west to Liaodong (Jilin Province) in the east. The Great Wall of China served as both a defense and symbolized the power of the emperor. The Great Wall of China was partly successful in repelling invading Mongol forces more than a century ago.

The Great Wall of China has more than 300 million trees, and its purpose was to serve as a barrier from the dust storms that swept into China from the Gobi Desert and other low-rainfall areas. The Great Wall of China was dubbed This Great Green Wall. During the 50′s, the city of Beijing was beset by 10 to 20 dust storms every spring. Visibility was only half a mile for 30 to 90 hours each month. By the 1970′s the storms had reduced resulting in greater visibility at less than ten hours per month. The reduction made work easier for the many laborers.

The Great Wall of China towered China’s mountains, plunging to the lower valleys, and marching across burning desert plains. Very cold winds coupled with snowstorms, made it very difficult for workers. At the same time raging desert sun and stinging sandstorms oppressed the workers, making their jobs difficult, and often risky

About The Author
Jeff Anderson knows about China. He knows what to look for and what pitfalls to avoid. Let him guide you to finding out more about China. Contact him at Jeff@culchina.com or visit the blog at his site www.culchina.com.


Regional Cuisines of China

16

November

It’s easily one of the world’s favorite foods. No matter where you are, someone you know is bound to suggest, “Hey, let’s do Chinese.” For decades, Chinese food meant one thing – Cantonese cuisine. It was the style of Chinese cooking with which most of the world was familiar – the appetizers and roasted meats and delicate sauces that blend vegetables and spices in a perfect marriage of flavors. But Chinese food is far more than just the Cantonese cuisine. There are four major styles of cooking across China, and several more subdivisions to divide them even further.

Cantonese is the most well-known and popular of the Chinese regional cuisine styles. Cantonese chefs specialize in delicate sauces and roasted meats, in steamed and stir-fried dishes with vegetables that are as carefully chosen for appearance and appeal to the eye as to the palate. Steamed rice is a staple of Cantonese cuisine, and is the base of most meals. Every vegetable is sliced to best show off its color and shape, even in a stir-fry or sauce. One of the more enduring and widely enjoyed traditions of Cantonese cooking is ‘dim sum’ – ‘little hearts’. In many cities, both in China and in other countries around the world, you’ll find little dim sum shops tucked beneath stairways and in storefront shops. They serve tea and the delicious savory and sweet little dim sum pastries to businessmen and afternoon shoppers.

Szechwan cuisine has grown in popularity over the last few decades. Most famous for searingly spicy foods like Kung Pao Chicken and Double Cooked Spicy Pork, Szechwan cuisine is a distinct style of cooking that is native to the landlocked mountainous center of China. The pungent flavors of ginger, fermented soybean, onions and garlic characterize much Szechwan cuisine, but there are also more subtle dishes that rely on the interweaving of texture and flavor. The typical cooking methods include frying, frying without oil, pickling and braising.

Hunan cuisine is the most well known of the several regional Chinese cuisine styles from Zheijiang region of China. It is characterized by thick, rich sauces and complex pungent flavors. Typical ingredients include scallions, chili and pepper. A popular favorite dish in the Hunan style is Pepper Chicken, with small chunks of succulent chicken quick-fried with black pepper and onions.

Shangdong cuisine is characterized by its emphasis on fresh ingredients in combinations that emphasize the flavor, aroma, color and texture of each ingredient. The Shangdong regional cuisine is known for delicate flavor combinations that are surprisingly pungent. Garlic and scallions are frequent ingredients, as are seafood, fresh vegetables and shoots. The soups are either thin and clear with a light flavor, or thick and pungent, rich with cream and spices. One of the most famous dishes from the Shangdong area, Bird’s Nest Soup, is typically served at major affairs of state.

While these are four of the main styles of Chinese regional cuisine, there are a number of others worthy of note. Fujian and Jiangsu Cuisine both focus on seafood and shellfish, accompanied by fresh vegetables. Fujian cuisine blends sweet, sour, savory and salt flavors in magical combinations. Jiangsu cuisine is light, fresh and sweet, and is characterized by its elegant presentation. More than any other style of Chinese regional cuisine, it emphasizes appearance as an important part of the appeal of a meal.

China is a complex country, with many smaller nationalities and regions within its borders. Most have typical styles of cooking that are starkly different than those of other regions around them. It is, however, a nation whose love affair with food has produced some of the most complex, rich, delicate and delicious dishes ever created

About The Author
Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit http://www.food-and-nutrition.com/ for more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.