What better way to spend a week and a half than visiting family? I treasured every moment of my whirlwind trip to China visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We spent quality time catching up, sightseeing, and of course, eating. 这次回中国主要是探望爷爷奶奶，外婆外公。好开心看到他们都健康快乐的生活！９天的时间跑了上海，长沙，深圳，北京４个地方。感谢亲人们的热情款待！
Shanghai was my first stop, and I only had half a day to explore the city before heading to Changsha. One thing I have always wanted to do was to be fitted for a custom made qipao, and Shanghai is definitely the place to go for one. You can find a lot of qipao shops and tailors along Changle Road, which is in Shanghai’s French Concession. There are a few steps to ordering a custom qipao. First, I choose from a variety of colored silks and embroidered patterns. Next, I selected some sample dresses available in the shop to try on for size. From there, my initial measurements were taken. Ideally, I was supposed to come back in three days to try on the dress made from the initial measurements, from which final measurements would be made. However, due to my schedule, I had to skip the final measurement. A typical qipao takes about a month and a half to make. I am expecting mine to arrive just in time for Chinese New Year! In regards to food in the area, I highly recommend Fengyu, which serves a lot of traditional food. The pan-fried pork buns were absolutely delicious.
Changsha is the capital of Hunan province in southern China. Most of my family is from here. This region is known for its deliciously spicy food, my favorite would be the rice noodles in soup. Yuelu Mountain is popular scenic spot in Changsha. My family and I took an early morning tour of Yuelu Academy, which is known as one of the most prestigious ancient academies in China. The academy is architecturally very well-thought-out, and operates to this day. There are many good restaurants and food stands in this area serving up traditional Hunan fare. An infamously favorite one would be the stinky tofu. If you are craving something sweet, I would suggest the tang you baba, which are made of glutinous rice flour.
Shenzhen was originally a fishing village, until it was designated as a Special Economic Zone. Since then, the city has flourished to be one of China’s major cities. Happy Coast is an expansive commercial site with offers a variety of high-end shops, restaurants, and entertainment. It is very popular with the younger crowd. In terms of food, Shenzhen is known for its seafood and dim sum. I quite enjoyed the dim sum next to Asta Hotel. I am not a durian fan, but the durian puffs served there were quite exquisite in both form and taste!