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啤酒在中国 - Beer in China

Summers in Guangxi are long and hot so you're going to need to keep your fluids up; beer is scientifically proven to be the best way to do this. Besides, spirits and wine are best avoided in Chinese bars and I highly recommend staying away from the local poison of choice, 白酒 white alcohol, the taste of which could generously be described as somewhere between vodka and paint stripper. So here's a quick guide about what to drink when you're in Liuzhou...

As well as better known Chinese mass produced beers such as 青岛 Qingdao and 雪花 Snow, the most popular brand in Liuzhou is 漓泉啤酒 LiQ Beer from nearby Guilin. They have a few types available, including 漓泉1998 and 漓泉新1代纯生, which are their premier offerings. The 1998 variety appears to celebrate a visit to the province 20 years ago by ex US president Bill Clinton and includes a patently false quote from the man himself (I'm fairly sure Clinton didn't speak Chinglish).
Whilst the taste is definitely not on a par with our B…
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礼拜六的聚会 - Saturday Night Meetup

Ephesians 5:18 says: "and do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit." If you've ever been drinking in China, you'll likely doubt the word of god here and agree that it's best to stay away from the spirits - they're almost certainly fake! Actually, and as if you needed another excuse to hit the beers, remember that wine in China is generally fake as well. I'm not sure where I was going with that quote. Anyway, founded around 4 months ago, Liuzhou Meet & Learn has quickly become the biggest and liveliest social event in Liuzhou. Whilst definitely not debaucherous, there are certainly some drinks to be had every Saturday night at our regular meeting. We have over 30 attendees every week, and a total membership of nearly 100 people, ready to meet new local and foreign friends, to share their language, their thoughts and more.
When we first arrived in the city, we found there wasn't really an opportunity for the…

榴莲比萨 - Durian Pizza

China has many odd food combinations, 奶盖茶 'cheese tea' or putting mayonnaise on fruit salad(水果沙拉和沙拉酱)for example, but 榴莲比萨 Durian Pizza is one of the strangest. Full disclosure before we start: I'm a huge fan of durian. However, even I wasn't convinced by this idea before I took my first, heavenly bite. If you're not familiar with Durian, it's regarded by many people in Southeast Asia as the "King of Fruits". It's famous for its pungent smell: although some consider it sweet and delicious, most people find it disgusting. In countries where the fruit is common, it is banned from public transport and many hotels due to the stomach turning aroma - check out these signs from Thailand and Singapore.
Pizza in China is a bit of a misnomer, given that it normally bears little resemblance to the Italian variety. Finding a standard pepperoni here is a challenge, and you're far more likely to see bizarre toppings like 香芒紫薯 'mango & purple yam…

夜店 - Nightclubs

I'll be the first to admit that I am probably not the most suitable person to be writing this post, due primarily to my advancing years and fading memories of youthful nights spent at Bagley's and Camden Palace. Incidentally, when your reference points for a night out are warehouse raves that were closed down more than a decade ago, you're probably not in a position of authority to talk about the modern EDM scene. The Chinese call outdated references such as these 暴露年纪 which means they "expose your age".

Regardless, here I am.

The nightclub scene in Liuzhou is a big part of the lives of some of our members, and many of the local people here, so who am I to dismiss it? The undoubted king of nightclubs in Liuzhou is 上上 "Song & Song" which is open every evening until the early hours. Serving up a music selection that varies from EDM to EDM via a bit more EDM, it is rammed every night of the week, in contrast to many other late night establishments in t…

世界杯 - The World Cup

On a normal weekend, as I sit forlorn watching yet another disappointing Chelsea performance, I am literally the only person in the pub showing any interest in football whatsoever. However, these last two weeks have seen an explosion of interest in football and wall-to-wall media coverage; although China has not gone to the World Cup, World Cup fever has definitely come to China.

Every single BBQ restaurant and bar has dug out their projector and set themselves up as a venue for watching the World Cup, Chinese fans inexplicably cheer excitedly at random incidents on screen, and get unreasonably angry at the diving and playacting to which seasoned watchers of the Premier League have become accustomed. Sitting outside and being able to eat great BBQ food among the excitement and noise has definitely been a highlight of this World Cup for me, as England are yet to give us much to cheer about. [Edit: this was written before the 6-1 victory over Panama!]

There is a somewhat disappointing f…