Hello and Welcome

As I am currently away from home for study, and as Skype has proven to be rather problematic in terms of time zones, I have decided to start a blog in an attempt to keep in touch with family and friends back in Canada.

July 26, 2011


Every day I have three meals.

Well, obviously.

Other than that I usually just have fruit or a pop-sicle when the weather is especially hot.

I've taken pictures of some of my favourite foods so that I can share them with you. =)


I often have 包子(steamed bread, the ones in the picture have porkin them, there are also veggie ones with toufu and green onion),饺子(dumplings),machou (I don't know if the characters I have for that one is right), fried rice or 面条(noodles) for breakfast.


In this lunch I had 古老肉(gulaorou) which is a specialty in Hangzhou (杭州). It's a pork dish in which the pork is covered in batter and sweet and spicy sauce, it is one of my favourites. Not to be confused with sweet and sour pork, which is another dish on the menu. =)


I have two different dinner meals photographed. The first one is from today, in which I had pork and fried shredded toufu. I only found this dish recently since there was no pinyin for it on the menu, and no picture card. I like it since it's a little less salty than other dishes I know of.

The second group of images are from a meal I shared with a friend. We ordered 马拉豆腐(tofu in chili sauce), 西红鸡蛋(egg and tomato dish) and beef and green chili peppers. The name for which I still can't remember.

There are a lot of other dishes that are good as well, but these are some of my favourites. I have tried a few of the soups, but so far they have been REALLY salty and so I haven't liked them much. The Muslim retuarant is closed for the summer, so I don't have any pictures from there yet. =)

Thanks for reading!

July 24, 2011

Camera Battery

As you know, I have not posted very many pictures of China since I left my camera charger back in Canada.

Well, this weekend one of the other girls on my floor found out that I was having troubles finding a replacement charger for my camera. I had been planning on searching the electronics market that day for one, but didn't really know where it was either.

She (Christiana from Belgium) lent me hers! It's a universal charger that she is allowing me to borrow until I can get of my own. =)

That same day, our floor on residence was having a floor BBQ, and so she invited us to help prepare and attend it as well.

Aly-Shah and I went with Christiana and a friend of hers to the Market to buy the meat and vegetables. We went by riding on their electirc bikes. On the way, one of the bike's kickstand fell off and we had to stop and ended up having to remove it all together.

When we got back, we met a lot of the other people on the floor and decided that we should have the BBQ on the floor's balcony. The 'balcony' was really just an area outside of the elevator window that overlooked the street. We were not really sure if we were allowed to go there, but it seemed unlikely that anyone would see us and it seemed fairly safe. One guy said that one time they thought about having a BBQ on the 12's floor balcony, but unlike ours, it didn't have a moat and wall before the ledge, and although no one would see them, it didn't seem very safe.

At this time, it started to rain.

However, most of us didn't think that the rain would last very long and began to move some chairs and tables out onto the balcony via Christiana's room window as it also led to the area. We covered the furniture with some bicycle covers to try to keep the water off and then we went to the kitchen to cook.

Aly-Shah and I decided to help, but we didn't know what they were cooking or how to cook any of it, besides cutting and preparing the kebabs, luckily everyone was very nice and explained it all to us. =)

I ended up cutting up the eggplant and then Aly-Shah and I deep-fryed them in a frying pan to make eggplant chips. They were covered in a flour batter and then dropped into the oil until they browned. At first I was worried that I would spill the hot oil on myself or others, until I realized that as long as I kept a lot of oil in the pan at all times, it did not splash much at all.

While cooking we were able to meet and learn about our floor mates and try some of the other foods that were being prepared. One girl was making a lemon pie mixture and let us try some.

After we finished cooking the chips, we went to the balcony into the middle of the thunder storm. During the time we had been cooking the rain had gone on and off, but had been gradually becoming worse. We had more or less ignored it as the sentiment had been that it would be better if it rained really hard for a half hour and then stopped, as it often does. However, it did not do so this time.

Aly-Shah and I climbed back into the building were we met Myung and Sean, two other members of our cohort group who had just returned from a sight-seeing trip around the West Lake. Mathew had gone with them as well, but had already gone back to his room.

We told them about the BBQ and since it was for all members of the floor they could attend as well. We chatted for a while, and then helped some others bring the food and BBQ back inside from the rain.

The BBQ was moved to the kitchen, which was not nearly as well ventilated, and quickly filled with smoke. The fan was already on, but it was not helping much.

They started to play music and we started to eat. There was a lot of food, and it was very good. =) Eggplant chips, salad, brocolli salad, kebabs, pork burgers, BBQ chicken wings, lemon pie and rice and bread.

The BBQ was a lot of fun, and I managed to get quite a few pictures of it. At one point a guy across the street in his room was watching the party for a while and due to people waving at him from the kitchen window he ended up coming over for some food as well.

After a few hours, when everyone began to disperse and go back to their rooms, me and Aly-Shah headed back as well.

Thanks for reading!


Furniture on BalconyCooking Eggplant ChipsFloormates Cooking

KitchenWindow to BalconyBBQing in Kitchen

FoodBBQ ChickenRaining

12th floor BalconyEating in Smoke Filled KitchenAly-Shah, Myung and Sean (Left to Right)

Huh.. I guess there isn't a smoke alarm...

July 21, 2011

Chinese Foods

Hello. =)

Since coming to China I've tried a lot of different foods. It's nice since it's so cheap, but also because a lot of the menus have pictures so if I don't know what something is called, I can just point. ^_^

The main restuarant I eat at is the International Student Cafeteria, and it's also one of the cheapest and safeest since it's more regulated than the street food and some restuarants.

Most of the time, I order one dish and a bowl of rice. My favourite dishes are: Mala dofu, yuxiang qiezi, egg and tomato, green chili pepper and beef, lemon pepper beef, gulaorou, sweet and sour pork... Well there are a lot. mala dofu is the cheapest one and is a plate of tofu in chili and black bean sauce, qiezi is a really nice eggplant dish and gulao rou is a specialty of Hangzhou. It's another pork dish with a sweet chili sauce. I also often order bokchoy and gailan. =D

Another restuarant I go to a lot is the Muslim restuarant, although it tends to be quite a bit saltier. It's nice since they obviously never serve pork which is good for my friend Aly-Shah due to her religion.

They serve lamb and pepper 'pizzas' there. I call them pizzas since the meat and vegetables are served on a pizza style peice of dough, though it is thicker and spiced. It's served in some sort of salty brown sauce, and there is no cheese or tomato sauce on it. They also have a lot of pasta and rice dishes which are delicious! Apart from that we usually order potato shreds and gailan, both of which are better than the foreign student cafeteria's versions.

When my group celebrates some event, we often go to the Muslim retuarant to eat. They have one dish which is a huge pile of chunks of potato and beef on a cookie pan. It's a potato curry thing on noodles, although there is SO MUCH potato topping that the first time we did not even know about the noodles because we couldn't make it through the pile of potatoes. We've never actually been able to finish it though since there is so much and we order other dishes to go with it. =P

There are some restuarants I've been to off campus as well, most of which are near the campus or Trush-mart. They are all more expensive though. The dishes rarely exceed $3 Canadian, but it seems terribly expensive by comparison so we rarely go for treats at them.

July 20, 2011


A while back I went on a trip to Shanghai along with the rest of the my group. We went with a member of one of the older DDP groups and his friend, whom guided us and helped us buy tickets for the train and get a hotel. We stayed there for one night and mostly just looked around one of the main tourist streets. We went for dinner at a nice restuarant and ordered a lot of food before going for a walk.

The next day we took a ferry across to the other side where we walked around for a while. We thought of going to the tower, however it was very expensive and we would not have been able to see much due to the fog. We also considered visiting the museum, but it was also rather expensive and we're all pretty... uh... 'frugal'.

In the end, we went to an underground tunnel at which there was a small exhibit with some fish and sea creature replicas. Afterwards, we took the tunnel back to the other side of the river.

The tunnel was rather strange. We entered small trams which then took us through the 'entertainment tunnel'. Through the entire ride, techno space music was played punctuated by occasional phrases in Mandarin and English such as 'Shine Star' and 'Dream Go'. The tunnel was lined with blinking Christmas lights and you couldn't actually see into the river, although there would not be much to see due to the polution... The tunnel was also filled with inflatable dolls of children and wacky inflatable arm flailing tube men.

Once we reached the other side, it started to rain and we decided to return to Hangzhou. Instead of taking the train we took a bus. My camera died just before this trip, so I don't have any pictures right now, I'll try to get some from everyone else though.

That's all for now! =)

July 19, 2011

First Post


I have now been in Hangzhou China for two months and have decided to start a blog in order to try to keep in touch all of you since other methods are more difficult and the different time zones make Skype an unreliable method.

So far I have mostly been going to language classes which I have every weekday. Right now they are in the mornings from 8:30-noon. On Tuesday I have a Tai-qi class in the afternoon.

Most of the time I eat my meals in the International Student Cafeteria, they have picture cards with some of the more popular dishes on them, which was really helpful when I first arrived and did not know how to order anything. =) Now however, I know the names of my favourite dishes so I am able to ask for them.

The campus is near downtown Hangzhou so exploring is relatively easy and the area is very safe. On campus there are quite a few small corner stores, drink and pastry places and fruit shops. I tend to buy a lot of mangoes and watermelon as a result, especially since they are so much cheaper than in Canada, most food is. Well, oranges and apples are very expensive. Off campus the closest shopping centre is Trust-Mart which is like Wal-mart (They copied the logo and were actually bought by Wal-mart a while back) and there are a few small specialty shops around it.

Over all, everything is a lot cheaper here. Not electronics though. I spend about 20 kuai on food a day, which works out to be about $3. =P I am going to buy a camera soon, I forgot to bring the charger to the one that I brought.

I have bought a pot and some basic cooking tools, just two days ago I bought a teapot. Last weekend I bought some really nice teas from the tea museum, I will be sending some back to you. =) I did not buy the green tea though since it was fairly expensive and I did not bring enough money.

The West Lake is nice and I have gone there a few times as it is peaceful and a lot quieter than it is on campus. The weather, however, has been extremely hot lately and so we have been staying in more during the worst of it.

We have met the older cohorts, attached is a picture of a cake we ate during a birthday celebration. The first time we met them we went for a dinner with Xie Laoshi and then to the West Lake. The second time was the birthday celebration, which we had at a BBQ and buffet restaurant at which a popular dish was ketchup, covered bananas, although I did not try one. After that we went to KTV which was fun.

I also finally figured out what the address to my building is:

Simone Payne
Room 213 Building 31
Yuquan CampusZhejiang University
310027 Zhejaing

I also found some other pictures which I have now added to the post.