Wa’s gwannin in Guangzhou…

by Khushboo on May 14, 2012

Chances are when you hear the word “China” or think of visiting, Beijing & Shanghai are the first places that come to mind.  I know that I always thought that one of those would be my destinations upon my first visit to the country.  However when Sachin & Shyamla (my brother-in-law and sister) moved to Guangzhou last year, that automatically changed.

As someone who has never visited China before, I was pleasantly surprised during my stay in Guangzhou last week.  Other than the language barrier which was extremely prominent, I really enjoyed my time there.   If you’re wondering what China is actually like as a place, here are some random tidbits which I picked up along the way:

  • If Sachin & Shyamla are anyone to go by, picking up Cantonese/Mandarin is not overly difficult.  Some words* which stuck:

*Nihao: Hello/excuse me

*Yo Bien: Right

*Jo Bien: Left

*Jigga: This

*Nagga: That

         * Shi Shi: Thank you

  • Whereas most restaurants in the West serve regular water as soon as you sit down, restaurants there  serve hot water instead.
  • I want legs like flamingos and to live a life like Pandas.  Oh and speaking of animals, elephants are freakin’ hairy:
  • There really is an app for everything…including an English to Mandarin/Cantonese translator
  • Spas are available at a dime a dozen…or should I say an RMB a dozen ;)
  • Facebook and Twitter are banned in China
  • Unlike most ‘markets’, Chinese markets aren’t based on the streets.  Consider them like American malls with a heck lot of bargaining.
  • Their use of corn is not limited to sweetcorn soup.  I kid you not when I say that corn juice is sold on the streets and…wait for it…offered as a fro yo topping (as are cherry tomatoes)
  • Guangzhou is extremely safe: over 268.000 surveillance cameras have been installed citywide in order to boost security.
  • Chinese food in China is good…really good

*My spelling of the Mandarin/Cantonese terms are purely based on how they’re pronounced*

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Parita May 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I love reading your travel recaps! Learning about different cultures is so awesome, especially when you’re able to immerse yourself for a few days.

And corn and tomatoes on fro-yo?! How did that taste?!

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Khushboo Thadani May 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I’m so glad you enjoy them- I’m the same about hearing about different cultures! I wish I could tell you how they tasted but unfortunately, I reserve them as solely salad toppers :) !

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Alexandra May 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Corn on froyo?!?! That’s hilarious! I love reading about different cultures and stuff like that, China sounds like such a neat place :)

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Khushboo Thadani May 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Haha I was blown away and by the 3rd time, I had to take a picture! And then got shoo’ed away by the server haha!

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Asmita (@FoodieAsmita) May 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Wow, looks like you had a wonderful trip!

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Khushboo Thadani May 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I did :) !

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forgottenbeast May 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Corn as a dessert? Sounds a heck of a lot like The South in the U.S., haha. Nothing like corn in every dessert/sitting in a soupy sugary syrup. And wow, all of your travels continue to make me jealous! I’ve never been anywhere in China, and I’d love to go some day, but the language barrier sort of intimidates me too.

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Khushboo Thadani May 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Between the red bean cakes, sesame ice cream, and corn in fro you, clearly there are no boundaries when it comes to dessert in China…oh and for the record, I did see celery & cucumber as a topping option on one of my fro yo trips…I wish I was kidding.

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forgottenbeast May 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Are red bean cakes related to to red bean paste? I practically lived off of red bean paste stuffed buns the last time I was in NYC and had easy access to Chinatown…so so good. Don’t know about celery on ice cream though–is that supposed to make you feel healthier about eating it? Haha

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Khushboo Thadani May 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

I think it is similar to red bean paste but there were definitely chunks of red bean too! I can imagine people enjoying them but every bite, I just kept expecting savory. As for the celery, apparently it’s a fat burner so perhaps using it as a topper cancels out the ice cream/fro yo calories…just a thinker ;) !

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Honey What's Cooking May 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

oooh, look at you speaking in Mandarin! Glad to hear you had a nice time, although I don’t think I can live without FB… I don’t think I could live in a country where everything is so controlled. The food does look good. :)

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Khushboo Thadani May 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Luckily my BIL set up an account whereby his internet server is routed directly to the US so I was able to get my FB & Twitter fix…the measures we go through for social media!

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sprint2thetable May 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm

So interesting! I have never even heard of Guangzhou before. And “Yo bien” sounds like Spanish! :)

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Khushboo Thadani May 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Haha it reminded me of French & Spanish :) !

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Nada May 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm

sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes on fro-yo, now that is…interesting? On the up-side at least they’re thinking of their 5-a-day! :) Looks such a great trip, Guangzhou sounds just as good as Shanghai or HK.

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Khushboo Thadani May 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

Haha interesting to say the least! Although in all seriousness, I was quite impressed with how healthy the food there was….they LOVE their greens- the stir fried veggie options were huge!

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onehealthymunchkin May 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I don’t know how I feel about vegetables on fro yo… I think I’ll stick to chocolate sauce and Oreo bits. ;)

And that food looks good! I bet authentic Chinese food is sooo much better than the stuff we get here!

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Khushboo Thadani May 16, 2012 at 11:10 am

Haha I’m all about the sweet & savory combo but veggies on fro yo is too much for even me to handle! I’m normally not the biggest fan of Chinese food but I was blown away there…everything tasted unreal!

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Brittany May 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Ewww ew ew ew corn on froyo!!? HAHA That sounds awful!! Otherwise China sounds like a blast!! I sort of like that FB and twitter are banned there…those sites cause too much drama anyway! And spa’s around every corner? Count me in!

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Khushboo Thadani May 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

As much as I agree about FB & Twitter, them being banned sort of got old (& annoying) after day 2 :) !

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Purvi Verma Saini (@PurviVermaSaini) May 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Looks like you had a great time :) :)

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Khushboo Thadani May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

I sure did :) !

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Tessa at Amazing Assett May 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Your travel recaps are always so fun and interesting for me to read, and sure gets me inspired to try and go on adventures myself one day! I would have gotten sick of that ban too, I am surprised they do that!

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Khushboo Thadani May 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thanks, Tess- I am glad you enjoy reading them! Fortunately my brother-in-law bought a router which connects their internet directly to the US, and hence use Twitter & Facebook freely! I’m too much of a social media nerd otherwise :) !

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Alison May 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

Corn on fro yo?! That’s just bizarre!! I was in Guangzhou for a day back in 2009. Seemed like a cool place!

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Khushboo Thadani May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am

Oh no way were you transiting?

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sassywifechronicles May 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Ni Hao! So happy you had a good time when you were. Now you have to plan a trip back sooner than later. I quite need an afternoon of sushi, foot massages and double helpings of fro yo with you.

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Khushboo Thadani May 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ohh don’t tempt me…that sounds like the ideal day :)

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