Tuesday, December 7, 2010

China's Southern Capital

Hello there faithful readers!

Sincere apologies for the brief hiatus. We've been touring the Chinese countryside on a 24-hour train ride from Guangzhou to Nanjing, but now that we’re in 南京, China’s “Southern Capital,” we should be able to get back to our usual blogging routine.

What to say so far about Nanjing, other than we’ve been getting a healthy dose of home via our friend Hanna, who is here both studying and being generally kick-ass at The Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies.

It’s the end of a very long day so I’ll rely on photos to show you about this clearly amazing new city that we’ve just begun to explore.

Korean food, Nanjing, day 33

After meeting up with Hanna and seeing her new, non-Colby dorm, we headed over to a local Korean spot for lunch— you know, for a change of pace. Will enjoyed the bacon in lettuce cups, while Hanna and I ate mostly noodle and rice dishes. Yum.

H&M, day 33

Then the spirits smiled upon me and Hanna led us to the store that represents, at least in my opinion, the holy grail of international shopping. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about none other than H&M.

Let it be known that I adore H&M—I don't care who knows it—and I especially adore H&M when I'm abroad and clothing that is both decent quality and affordable can be hard to come by.

H&M, day 33

It was an English-speaking shoppers paradise, and I dove in like I had never left.

Also, if you’re wondering where on earth the random plaid jacket came from (Jackie, I’m looking at you), Hanna’s adorable Chinese roommate lent it to me! Nanjing, as our northern-most destination, is probably the coldest place we’ll visit, so we hadn’t exactly prepared for chilly weather.

Mall in Nanjing, day 33

The mall was covered in festive decorations, which included red and green sacks labeled “Lucky Christmas Bags” in nearly every window display. As we walked through stores that included Zara, Starbucks and Levi’s, “It’s a Wonderful World” and “Silent Night” played through the mall’s speakers.

Nanjing friends, day 33

Post-shopping afternoon, we headed to a Northeastern Chinese (“Dongbei”) restaurant near Nanjing University to get our fill of Harbin-style food. These are all of Hanna’s wonderful friends, who warmly welcomed us into their Chinese home-away-from-home.

Northen food w/ Nanjing friends, day 33

A good time was had by all, drinking Harbin beer and eating by far the most delicious food we’ve had in China.

Northern food, day 33

We had Will’s favorites of course: 地三鮮 (left) fried eggplant with peppers and potatoes and    鍋包肉 (right), deep-fried pork, sweet & sour style. Note that this is not your average sweet and sour pork— this is epic sweet and sour pork.

Northern food, day 33

We also sampled some 大煮干丝, tofu & “glass” noodles with sautéed vegetables which were surprisingly refreshing and had a great acidic bite to them. (I ate around the cilantro).

Northern food, day 33

While our old favorites hit the spot as always, the stand-out dish in the batch for me was this sweet potato number that I had never tried before. The sweet potato is coated in syrupy sugar that causes the whole thing to stick together— you then dip each piece into the water before eating to get the sugar strings to disengage. I guess it’s more of a dessert than a side dish, but it was seriously fantastic.

Tomorrow we're exploring more of the city, and we'll be sure to report back on what we find! Until then, check out my first article from abroad, which printed on Sunday in the Post-Gazette!


  1. Never got to Nanjing on my whrilwind tour. Nice. But by gar, they're Americanizing by the minute! Great food pix! Beth, I think you were Chinese in a past life....

  2. Love love the food pics! Glad you were able to get some coffee :) Also, I had no idea you were such a fan of H&M!! Seriously, it's like my fave clothing store...xoxox

  3. Of course I was wondering! Also, the food pictures make me starving, also, congrats on the article!! It was great!!

  4. Beth, we ejoyed your piece in the paper. Your food pictures are great. You could write a piece about "eating through China"! I first quickly check the NYT each morning and then your blog. Granmere and I are enjoying all that you send very much... We send our love to you and Will. Papa Richard

  5. You guys are really amazing.
    It was so moving to be able to follow along with each step of Will's quest for his ancestral roots. And the joy such unexpected success clearly has brought to the whole family. May such blessings continue to follow you both!
    These new photos of Nanjing are so different, so modern, we would think your heads would be spinning...and yet there you both are, looking cool as can be. We love you both and can't wait to see what the next adventure will be. xoxoxo

  6. P.S. Nice jacket, yes,
    but what about that sweet looking red plaid skirt with the zipper that you're wearing? Did you buy that?? Can I borrow it? xoxo

  7. It's so funny to see you back into Wintersville up there. Do they have daylight? It seems more the proper holiday weather. Holly asks did Beth leave a black t-shirt here? Now off to find a good Chinese restaurant--I'm hungry...

  8. Nice to have Beth's voice back in the blog. It was great skyping with you both. Our heads are still spinning in Durham, NC. I talked to every one in the family last weekend I think -- Prices, Riddells, and Wongs. Look what you did! Love from all.

  9. Sigh, so many comments to respond to, we love you guys!

    @ Uncle Dave Wong: I think that would explain a lot...

    @ Deb (my sis): Ha! I do love H&M in the states, but I especially love it abroad because you can count on it to be exactly what you expect. Here, the clothes are often too cheap / poor quality, versus in Paris the clothes were too expensive. H&M is always the perfect in-between!

    @ Jackie: i love you...

    @ Papa Richard: Thanks so much for checking in and for your thoughts & prayers :)

    @ Mom: Nanjing has been awesome, and actually in the photo I'm not wearing the skirt in question, but holding it. But yes of COURSE I wound up buying it, and it will almost certainly be too big on you but you're welcome to try.

    @ Bill: I did leave a black shirt in NZ, but not to worry, it wasn't anything important. Feel free to give it away or anything

    @ Deb: Great skyping with you too! Will and I have been discussing what it would take to get a bus-load of Wongs to Chang An village...

    So much love to everyone <3

  10. ohh man.. 地三鲜 and 锅包肉... I would give anything to have some. Great post from a great blog - 小潘


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