From the old Lonely Planet Thorn Tree:


[Fri 25 Oct, 10:19]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
China - (22 replies)

Im after your honest opinions for people who have lived in China for atleast 6 months.

-What do you think of Chinese food in general?
-What do you think of the Chinese society/people/culture?
-What do you think of Beijing?

My opinion:
The food is terrible. I get really sick about once a month. Too much MSG on everything. Too much oil. Rice 3x a day, no variety. The meat is terrible, it's either attached to bone or a huge wad of fat. Where's the t-bone or porterhouse steak? Where's the leg of pork/lamb/beef?

The peope in general are nice. But the constant yelling, spitting, littering is a little crazy. What about common courtesy? It doesnt exist in China. The constant stairing is annoying.
The huge gap between the rich and poor is incredible. The beggars always target the 'Lao Wei' thinking we are loaded, like its our problem and our duty to help these poor chinese people. There are many rich chinese people who are happy to go to a fancy disco and spend over 300RMB on a dozen warm cans of beer, or drive the latest Audi/BMW.
My advice: never give money to the beggars.

Beijing is the worst city i have ever lived in. The pollution is unbareable, Getting from A to B is a nightmare. The city has no character. Too many people (as like the rest of China). Taxi drivers dont have a clue about where they are going. They don't even carry maps.

Thats my 2cents.


[Fri 25 Oct, 10:29]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
1. go

Sounds as if you are in the throes of culture shock. Time to ask yourself why you are living in China, and whether it is time to leave. This is typical for people who work overseas, and in time you may come out of it. Then again, maybe not. Good luck.


[Fri 25 Oct, 11:24]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
2. pitty...

Pitty you're not enjoying this excellent opportunity you have landed. Instead of remaining stuck to your own culture, open you're eyes and embrace this new culture you have been given the chance to enjoy and live in for a while.

Or, if you can't take it, just go home and stop complaining.

Hippies,they want to save the world but all they do is smoke pot & play frisbee!-Cartman,Southpark

[Fri 25 Oct, 11:30]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
3. western food, culture, cities

me, i'm in new york, usa. my 2cents about this country:

the food is terrible. too much oil and grease. americans like everything fried, and it's meat and potatoes three times a day. no variety. where's the spice? they can't take anything hot or spicy.

the people are nice but everyone looks after themselves first, not much community. they are preoccupied with their own country and don't look outside their borders. and the litter? don't they realize that it makes things ugly? there are beggars here on the streets, but you shouldn't give money to them.

some cities here are nice (i've heard) but most have no soul, no variation, and are too dirty. if you don't have a car in most places in the country, forget it; there's little public transportation. you can't take a train anywhere.

anyone else want to substitute their country in this description?


[Fri 25 Oct, 12:20]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
4. I agree with OP

I am down with OP!
1) Chinese food is good for 3 weeks. It gets pretty disgusting after that.
2) Sure, Chinese people are nice. But sometimes their idiotic nationalism drives me nuts. They also need to take shower more often.
3) Beijing sux. The next Olympic is going to be the worst Olympic ever.

This is my honest opinion and screw you if you disagree.
Too many pro Chinese here...


[Fri 25 Oct, 12:22]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
5. and one more thing,



[Fri 25 Oct, 13:39]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
6. got me wrong

I'm not pro this or pro that... i'll i'd say is that he is probably in a temp position of living and ane expat in China... he should take advantage rather than whine about it.

Hippies,they want to save the world but all they do is smoke pot & play frisbee!-Cartman,Southpark

[Fri 25 Oct, 13:45]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
7. is it joke ?

Are u joking ?
What are u doing there , Why not leave ?
What do u think about other countries in the world, may be urs is the best but please look a little bit more around u and u will find that eating rice is small thing compared to what you get;
agree with 2


[Fri 25 Oct, 16:20]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
8. Nearly there

Yes, the food has taken a dive in the last couple of years. Widespread covering up of poor cooking skills by using too much oil and flavour enhancer - too many cookery programmes on TV sponsored by Maggi and Golden Duck oil I guess.

I don't know. Twenty years ago you couldn't get a decent feed 'cos there were no good ingredients 'cos of the economy, now the ingredients are good but the cooking's lousy. Somewhere in the middle (95-98) there was a time of good food cooked well.

For the rest, I'd say you've hit the 3-6 month depression wall - stick it out, it's better on the other side.



[Fri 25 Oct, 18:22]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
9. But............

There may be another spin to this.
I find that I often get negative about things when I am sent to a place, but visiting or taking a holiday there it is simply the best place in the world.
I went to Vietnam in 1997 and loved it so much that I went back home, shut down my business and moved to SEA.
In 2001 I was sent to Vietnam by the Co. that I work for and HATED it. I think that when we are working we end up focusing on the downsides not the upsides, when asked for my opinion about a place that I am working, I often answer "I am not sure yet, I don't know it well enough"
I ended up falling in love with VN all over again by the way.

OH, but the food bit was spot on, too much oil.

To OP, why are you here?
Do you hate your own country enough to go through this?
Things may look up if you reserve your judgement.

Never judge A Book by it's Movie

[Fri 25 Oct, 18:25]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
10. I am not agree

You can learn to choose better food.You must ask for the porterhouse(anything is possible in China my friend).All of the SPITTING/YELLING.It only seems that way because you cant understand them.Actually they are talking to each other.I am HEAR many spitting in China but I never see so much spit on the ground,many more actual spit on the sidewalk in USA.The only thing better than Beijing is the rest of China.I think Beijing just civilized enough,Chengdu also a good city with many better food than Beijing.
I am ready to depart China after a few months,but I think its just PERSPECTIVE.I hate everybody in my home but it is still my home.You must get homesick even in a paradise land.


[Fri 25 Oct, 21:10]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
11. To darthmilmo

Actually I have many chinese friends here and every day i eat what and where the locals do. I have eaten every chinese food available. I have lived in cities with no "Lao Wei" what so ever, and i've learnt enough of the language to get by...So I have adapted to the culture.
And if i don't like it then go home? Well i am going home in November for good.


[Fri 25 Oct, 23:21]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
12. Hu shuo ba dao


造反有理 - Zaofan you li - Rebellion is Justified

[Fri 25 Oct, 23:45]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
13. culture shock

is a natural part of living overseas. Hang in there, and always's charactor building!!!!!

Spitting is disgusting! I much prefer to keep all my snot in a small piece of cloth and carry it around in my pocket all day.


[Sat 26 Oct, 10:43]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
14. "The constant stairing is annoying."

I agree. There are too many tall buildings without elevators in China .

More Confucian commentary can now be found at

[Sat 26 Oct, 19:22]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
15. !

Who lives in Beijing and eats rice 3 times a day?

Don't cry over spilt hookers - go2dbeach

[Sat 26 Oct, 20:36]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
16. Get outta Beijing!

Think you've been in BJ too long. It does have its moments! but I don't think it represents the country as a whole any more than New York or LA represent the U.S. try going south, or to a smaller town that's not so touristed. It's a big city, the capital, lots of wealthy and powerful people and some desperate souls trying to scrape by on what's left. But it's not all of China.


[Sun 27 Oct, 01:51]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
17. .

Beijing, no character?

Take a walk from Beibingmasi hutong (starts on Jiaodaokou nandajie) all the way through to the end of Mao'er hutong (ends on the road running south from Gulou.

See you later.

find me at qiaoying teahouse, dongdaqiao lu (metro yonganli)

[Sun 27 Oct, 02:43]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
18. I agree

I agree with almost everything the OP says, but s/he left out all of the good stuff (but there is nothing good about living in Beijing).

Food- The hot pot, what a fucking simple and wonderful invention. While back in the states for only two weeks I start jonesing.

Tofu- I never would have found this healthy food that can be used in so many clever ways!

Anything from Sichuan, Hunan, Guizhou, or Chonqing. Try to get really good spicy Chinese in the States.

People - Chinese women, seldom overweight, rarely fat, and they laugh at stupid jokes.

Chinese babies... is there anything cuter?

Card games and talking, it's completely cool to have a relaxing night with friends with nothing on the agenda other than card games and talking.

All of your criticisms are basically true, and don't fit other countries even if #3 lies about it, but you have to see the great things that you will miss back home.

I try to leave the country every 4 months so that I start to miss the above things.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

[Sun 27 Oct, 07:39]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
19. My 2 jiao worth

Billsy is right.

The reality of every place is somewhere in between the despisers, who are usually in a place for a longer time period and after a while find it impossible to adjust, and the lovers, who are in a place for a short time and think it is just so grooooovy, how can anyone say anything negative about this wonderful place they have discovered?

I know a lot of Chinese people, whether raised here or returnees, who are also shocked by the pollution, meanness and foulness of their countrymen/women. This stuff pisses me off on a daily basis. Today on returning from Guangzhou to Beijing, some dickoff stood right in my face at the baggage claim belt, with his nasty dandruffy hair one inch from my nose. He damn well knew what he was doing was rude. When my bag came, I pulled it off the belt and made damn sure to whack him with it - he left me no choice anyway since he had crowded in so close to me. He went off on me and I ignored him.

I wonder if any of the "lovers" of China have to put up with this shit every damn day, 365 days a year - I do. I am not an English teacher and I'm also not an exchange student, and leaving is not a very simple option career-wise.

Then again, on the good side, I went out to eat tonight and pigged out on Sichuanese food, my favorite. It cost a whopping 10 yuan, it's a nice restaurant, and the waitresses are super-sweet to me because they know my Chinese stinks and I am lonely here. So there definitely is good and bad.

What's my point? Again, the reality is somewhere in between. Generally I agree, China sucks beyond belief, and the funny thing is, many Chinese, especially the ones I know, agree. Why do you think so many are trying to get out? But I'm willing to put up with the bullshit while I make some money and learn some things here.

Let the OP have his opinions. And for the lovers, don't worry, if you spend a great deal of time here too, your view will change as well. Either that, or I want whatever drug you are taking.

Oh, and Thomas, Chinese women are seldomly overweight?? Where the hell in China are you?? Other than that your post is right - you have to leave every four months or so to appreciate the place.

Joaqin - yes, they are talking, but even most of my Chinese friends admit they talk too loud.

Darth, I have adapted as you recommend. I push, shove, cut in line, spit/fart/belch in public, yell at the top of my lungs to make conversation, and blow smoke in people's faces. It's a real hoot when I go home. It's also not highly attractive to a lot of Chinese people, especially those I work and socialize with.


[Sun 27 Oct, 07:44]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
20. !

Why do you think people who love China have only been there for a short time? I've been in the region for 6 years . .. and I still love China.

Don't cry over spilt hookers - go2dbeach

[Sun 27 Oct, 14:58]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
21. #4

Speaking of "idiotic nationalism", doesn't American
nationalism drive you nuts?


[Sun 27 Oct, 15:14]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
22. OP

Take a thorough look at post #3. His views are as valid and
accurate as yours. There are two sides to the coin and I
personally find more truth in post #3 than in yours.
#5: Free Tibet? How about freeing the land the US took from
Mexico first?....and a lot of today's world for that matter?

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