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Chinese Sandwiches E-mail
City Life - Culture
Written by Towen
Food is natural, but cookery is a human invention, a system imposed upon the raw ingredients of plant and animal that is ancient yet constantly evolving. Of course, one can just eat and enjoy, but there are so many interesting questions to ponder. For example, why does the chinese dish called "fish-scented meat strips" contain no fish? And what are the similarities and differences between chinese and western cuisine?

Being such a large country with so many different regional styles of cooking, I sometimes suspect that every cooking concept that appears elsewhere in the world, from basic methods (like deep-frying in batter) to the overall idea (like noodles in a spicy tomato-based sauce), must also appear somewhere in China. But often, although the composition is similar, the taste is quite different. The noodles I mentioned are a popular dish in Xinjiang province, but although the concept is similar to a simple Italian spaghetti pomodoro, the seasoning and method is different, and the result is a unique Xinjiang flavour.

Have you eaten yet? E-mail
City Life - Culture
Written by Bro Fan
So, I was back in China last week, and thought I’d put in a goodwill visit to the old office - you know, to say Hi, how’s it going, oh, and if you have any spare jobs going in Xi'an etc etc… A few excited faces from behind the brain-numbing draw of Excel documents and the inevitable questions about whether I had updated my digital camera and/or computer and how much it cost me - and before I knew it, we’re back to the familiar humdrum of casual office banter.

I enter my old boss' office. What’s the first thing she comments on? My beautiful golden spring tan? My sexy four-day facial growth? My impeccable dress-sense? My fearsome level of Chinese? “Leih fei-jo la!” (You’ve put on weight!) she says, without a trace of embarrassment, and beams from ear to ear, as if what she has said is one of the highest compliments that could expect to receive on a long Friday afternoon.

The Only Difference E-mail
City Life - Culture
Written by Daemon Borek
After being married to a Chinese woman for two years, I have noticed one question constantly comes up in conversations with both Chinese and Western people. “What are the differences between Chinese and Western girls?” The differences really aren’t that dramatic or unfathomable. But there is one difference that everyone who wants to date or marry a Chinese must understand. The role that our families play in our lives is very different.
Many years ago, I was having the “cultural differences” conversation with some Chinese friends. People kept bringing up the usual suspects of food, entertainment, way of life, and the rest of the trivial ones I was accustomed to hearing. The conversation was generally boring and I gave my standard tape recorder answers. Until one of the guys at the table piped up and uttered one of the most insightful things I have heard in a long time. He said: “The biggest difference between the China and the West is that in the West you marry a girl.

Shaanxi's diversity E-mail
City Life - Culture
Written by Alice Manfeng Zhao
Local Xi'anese in general naturally prefer to communicate in their own dialect (Guanzhong Hua) rather than in Mandarin. You can easily hear people bargaining in the market in Guanzhong hua, or taxi drivers, close local friends or colleagues who chat with you in their own dialect. Unlike Shanghai (the Shanghainese dialect sounds like a foreign language to most outsiders), Xi’an is a truly ancient city located in the so-called rural western part of China.

The chinese government has been strongly promoting the use of Mandarin nationwide for reasons of -for example- attracting investors to move -especially- to its developing western provinces and to ease the process and sees regional dialects and differences more or less as a disturbing element in the development process. But their efforts here seems not to work out so well.

General Culture Tips E-mail
City Life - Culture
Written by ND
The culture of Xi'an descends from one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Guanzhong Ren (关中人/關中人) culture is considered the cultural antecedent of Xi'anese; their features are satirized as the "Ten Strangenesses of Guanzhong Ren" (关中十大怪/關中十大怪). Xi'an is also known for the "Eight Great Sights of Chang'an" (长安八景/長安八景), a collection of scenic areas in the region.

Seven styles of architecture dominate urban Xi'an, the first three include the architecture of Qin and Han dynasties (秦汉风格), the architecture of Tang Dynasty (唐风) and the architecture of Ming and Qing dynasties (明清风格). These three styles are all Chinese traditional, but they may be differentiated by the colors of the roof and certain details. For Qin and Han Style, the roof is black, and no decorations are used under the roof. For Tang style, red roofs may be seen but a majority retain the use of the black or dark green roof; buildings were designed to be large and monumental. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, roofs were usually yellow and highly detailed drawings and prints were placed under the roof.

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