Mahjong is a very popular game in China, especially amongst the older generation. Essentially, Mahjong is a game where you try to get a series of sets of three (matching tiles) or series of three (sequential numbers), similar to Gin Rummy, but you are aiming to have 14 tiles at the end, with 4 sets or series and a pair or three sets of four and a pair. The game is typically fast-paced among experienced players, and the strategies evolve as more tiles are played. The endless combinations make it a very interesting game, and there is also sometimes gambling, but I suggest avoiding that unless you’re looking to lose your money. Also, gambling is illegal in China.
It feels like almost a lifetime ago when I had moved out of my hometown to start my first year at university for my bachelor’s degree. It was during this time when I got my first portable MP3 player that could probably hold a maximum of 100 songs (if I was lucky). Due in part to the influences of my mum’s love of country music, I searched for new up and coming singers in the country genre and stumbled on this song called “Teardrops on my guitar”. A sucker for ballads and acoustic melodies, I was hooked and used every cent of my allowance to purchase what would then be her self-titled debut album..
Just a little over a year ago, I had just visited the hospital (for reasons we shall not discuss here). Long story short, the doctor told me I “needed more exercise.” I needed to do something, but the big question was: what?
One of my friends in Xi’an suggested biking, so I started riding in February of 2021. Just over a year later, I have lost more than 10kg, have completed dozens of 100km+ rides, and have conquered steep climbs around Xi’an. Just this past April, I rode my 7,000th kilometer and 45,000th meter of elevation (that’s more than 5 Mount Everests!). So how did this happen?
The ladies of Aspiring Women for Excellence (AWE) have been busy in the month of May, holding two activities, a paint and sip and monthly meeting. AWE will be hosting their one year anniversary party on June 11th, so keep an eye open for details.
On the 1st of May (Labour Day) the local Cube Shop at the Stadium organised a 24-hour distance challenge. They announced the event in the local bike community and provided a support car, rest stop, and prizes for all finishers.
Participants could choose between 300 km, 400 km and 500 km as the target to finish within 24 hours. The clock would always be ticking, so any stops or breaks would be counted into the total time. Represnting the Shaanxi Hills International Team, Marcus signed up for the 500 km goal, and Francis signed up for the 300 km goal.
When I was 3 years old, I liked a short-hair girl in my kindergarten. My feelings for girls got more intense when I was growing up. It was very confusing since everyone and everything around me told me I was supposed to like the opposite gender.
I used to wear women’s clothes when I was around 2-3 years old. As I got older I started to wear more and more masculine clothing. I think it was me unconsciously wanted to be a boy so that it would be ok for me to like girls. If I were a boy all my feelings towards girls would make sense and I wouldn’t be a freak anymore, trapped on my own isolated little island. I would be like everyone, be able to connect with the world. I could breathe freely and like girls as the way I wanted. I even considered transgender surgery for a long time, however the cost of transition proved to be prohibitively high.
Finger-licking goodness just in time for summer
If you had any doubts despite the sunshine, 30+ degree weather, and rapid proliferation of outdoor seating, let us reassure you that summer is finally here. And what better way to welcome summer than with savory finger food and cold beverages?
We are of course talking about Cajun Seafood, a new spot that opened this April. Before we get into food, we must first address the important question: what is Cajun? It is a style of cuisine originating on the
I s there anything in life better than a really good burger? Probably, but the experience of diving in to a tasty pile of meat, cheese, and bread is definitely up there. But, alas, in Xi’an it can be difficult to find a burger that really hits the spot, and often times you get a fried chicken sandwich instead of a burger when ordering a 汉堡. But, luckily we seem to be going through something of a burger revolution, as there are now numerous spots serving up burgers that are better than anything we’ve seen in recent years. One such place is a new restaurant that ranks among the best we’ve seen in a long time, Yan.
Located just inside of South Gate, close to the entrance of Shuyuan Men, Yan started serving food at the end of 2021, right before the most recent lockdown shut temporarily shut their doors for a month. However, they persisted and now are back to serving up some great food.
Have you ever wondered where the young and fashionable people are? Well, apparently they all show up to this café on Friday afternoons. Arriving at 2PM on a Friday, we found that this place was packed, with almost every available chair taken up both indoors and out. The building, converted from a monorail station, sits in the middle of the park on Yannan Second Road, and the café takes up the first floor, with the second floor being devoted to a retail shop. The café is pretty spacious, despite the crowds, and the windows open up to allow people to sit on either side of the standing tables, meaning that you have people standing and sitting both outside and in. So, what makes this place so popular amongst the in crowd? We were set to find out.
We’ve reviewed many different bars at the magazine over the years, and in doing so, we’ve discovered a trend. Bars have been getting fancier over the years, and prices across the board have been rising, to the point where a single night out is going to cost you a pretty penny if you are going to remotely approach having a good time. While in many cases, this has led to improved quality and service, it can be a bit difficult to justify a regular trips where you return home with a significant dent in your pocket. The other side of the spectrum, where cheap drinks remain, are often serve drinks so bad that many cringe at the thought of them. What’s needed is a place that strikes a happy medium, somewhere where you can have a few drinks, have a good time, and not regret (most) of your decisions the next day. A place like Moo Brewpub.
The heat of this June was brutal. While we haven’t yet been able to escape to the breezy Qingdao seaside or to the dry dunes of Dunhuang, we did find respite at the Moli Restaurant during a weekend lunch hour.
Situated deep in the Zhonglou Xiaoqu, a mixed residential-commercial area immediately southwest of the Xi’an Bell Tower roundabout, Moli is a bit difficult to find. To get there, you will need to navigate around several corners and inevitably pass numerous traditional Shaanxi snack stalls and small restaurants peddling local dishes. The searching is well worth it though – Moli is the only Western restaurant in the area, and it offers several wonderfully pleasant surprises.
Some experiences just stick with you: your first sports game; your first kiss; or maybe a trip you took years prior. For me, one that resonates with me was my time in Japan. There were so many experiences to take in, so I can think of lots of things I enjoyed, but one I carry with me was the simple pleasure of the Izakaya. By definition, an Izakaya is a type of Japanese bar in which a variety of small, – typically inexpensive – dishes and snacks are served to accompany the alcoholic drinks. And that’s exactly what I got while I was there. It was a relaxed drinking environment for the weary and hardworking. A place to gather and take in the people around you, while enjoying simple prepared food at a decent price. Oh, and of course you had to have a nice cold draft to chug while you ate. It was that charming and unpretentious dining experience that was so attractive, especially after running around the city chasing fancy cocktail bars, malls, and museums. It was so nice, and now I find myself longing for that same feeling after a busy day.
Tommune is probably familiar to many expats in Xi’an, as it is one of the more reasonably priced options when it comes to going out in Xi’an. With a massive selections of drinks and food, a lively environment, and friendly service, it is no surprise. Capitalizing on the success of their first location near West Gate, they have opened up a new venture in Qujiang near the BeiChiTou subway station. Since people have been so taken with the first location, we decided to go check out their newest venture to see how it stacks up.
Have you heard? There’s a new western restaurant in town that has been the talk of the town. Real, home-style Western food, something the community in Xi’an has been sorely missing, especially in this era of limited travel. But this is no mere substitute for tastes of home. The food here is legitimately good, and varied enough to satisfy any taste buds. Whether you want smash burgers, fish and chips, falafel, or delicious milkshakes, Mina’s Western Restaurant is sure to hit the spot..
Oh, man, is it hot! I’m scorching hot. I’m talking egg-frying, fire-starting, mind-numbingly hot! What is a simple drinker supposed to do in this whether that demands us to go outside, but at the same time is cooking us alive? There is of course a way to fight back against this heatwave. The magic of a refreshing drink can shield you from the sun’s vengeance, while making for a fun way to relax. The remedy to the summer burn is a refreshing drink. Now, as a man who knows his way around a bar, I know lots of refreshing drinks, so I won’t bore you with the list (in this article), but when I think of the summer heat and the need for something to cool me down, my mind goes back to one thing: bubbles.
Summer is a time for vacations, barbeques with friends, and enjoying the sunshine outdoors. Another thing that summer is known for is free time. Kids are out of school, teachers get a long break, and there are long stretches where there is little to do. And while you can fill your time with the activities above, you can also use your free time for volunteer work. While there are many ways to give back to society, one of the best ways to make an impact is volunteering with non-profit organizations that often have more to do than they can do alone. Anything can be done, from using your professional teaching or technical skills or even just lending a hand with distribution or chopping vegetables. All it really takes is a willing heart and an open mind to start making the world around you a slightly better place to live. If you are looking for a place to volunteer, below we have listed some of the charities that are operate in Xi’an.
The summer is already heating up and it can seem impossible to escape from the unrelenting furnace that is a Xi’an summer. Sure, you could hide from the heat in your home, with the A/C cranked to 11, but what’s the fun in that? No, summer heat relief comes best in the shape of a swimming pool. While it may not seem so from the outside, Xi’an actually contains a large number of swimming pools, though many of them are tucked away in building and out of sight. So here are the best places to get wet this summer.
Mr. Tony, a British engineer and businessman came to Xi’an and founded the Yellow River Soup Kitchen -a charity organization – with the money from selling his companies and assets in the UK, and has since helped thousands of people in need by routinely handing out meals, buying wheelchairs, sponsoring operations for the handicapped, and holding sport games for schools, and bringing books to pupils in the schools in remote mountainous areas. Ms. Amanda, an English teacher from South Africa in Xi’an, initially was a part-time volunteer serving the orphans in Xi’an Home Care Center, founded the Starfish Children’s Service with her personal savings, sponsored the operations for dozens of disabled orphans and helped many successfully get adopted by qualified families in foreign countries
Ayear or so ago, I posted a WeChat moment of a scene from an old Shaanxi movie and described how some of the streets I walk through in Xian at present still looked like scenes from that movie, a snapshot comparison of certain streets between now and almost thirty years ago could look identical. Though this observation was made without malice, still along this post came a critical comment from a local acquaintance exclaiming that this city is and will always be proud to maintain the traditional look it’s had over the past decades. “We want our children to experience the imagery of life we experienced while growing up”. This line felt like a pin prick in my chest, like I had deeply offended someone while at the same time I’m outwardly applauding their pride for conservation.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new restaurant in town that is serving up some of the best western food that Xi’an has seen in some time. Called Mina’s this restaurant has gained in popularity over the past month, with customers returning multiple times per week due to the authentic taste of home that is near impossible to find elsewhere. So, to find out more, we sat down with Steve and Dalia, the couple making Mina’s possible, to find out more about how this came about.