Nanjing, a beautiful city in the Jiangsu Province, is just four hours from Beijing by high-speed train, and has been one of China’s most important cities for over a thousand years.
Nanjing is well-known on a global scale for many reasons:
- As one of the former capitals of China, Nanjing holds a huge historical and cultural significance to China. Nanjing literally means “South Capital“, and Beijing means (you guessed it) “North Capital“.
- Nanjing also has a big place in Chinese history because of the Nanjing Massacre that occurred during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
I recently visited Nanjing and had the chance to explore the city and experience some local Nanjing life – it’s a great place because it offers all the conveniences of big city life but also has a small city feel!
Some Cool Things To Check Out In Nanjing:
Try Duck Blood
Nanjing people love duck: duck meat, duck soup, duck blood, duck pancakes. Everything duck. If you ever visit you have to try the duck blood soup, a local specialty. The blood is congealed into little cubes and has a spongy, pudding-like texture. I’ve tried it before in Chengdu and in Hengyang and it’s actually not bad (and by far not the weirdest thing I’ve eaten in China).
Fuzi Miao (Confucius Temple)
Right next to the Qinhuai River, Fuzi Miao is one of the most popular places to visit in Nanjing! Check out the Confucius Temple and wander around the river banks – it’s especially beautiful at night.
Meet Some Local Nanjingren
Part of my new job is to connect with other teachers in China. In Nanjing I had the opportunity to visit schools around the city and meet lots of English teachers to interview them and learn more about their stories in China.
One of the highlights for me was visiting a primary school and spending time interviewing some students there. There were absolutely adorable and so happy to speak with us, and their English was fantastic, too!
The Old City Wall
Nanjing has it’s own city wall, and while it may not be the Great Wall, it is pretty cool to walk around on.
It’s great to see the local Chinese traditions and scenics spots in a new city, but it’s also fun to check out the expat scene and see where other foreigners like to hang and go out. 1912 is a popular area with lots of restaurants, bars, and clubs. We went out with some of the new teachers we met and also made more friends out and about the city.
One of the bars even had a crazy challenge where you could eat 5 of China’s local delicacies to win a T-shirt! It sounds fine if you like pig feet, preserved egg, duck head, smelly tofu, chicken feet, and beef tongue. My friend Vince ate it all and got the shirt (I passed).
They also brought out a plate of pig brains with an assortment of dipping sauces (I did try this!) Honestly it’s knowing what it is that psychs you out – if no one told me it was pig brain it wouldn’t have been bad!
There is so much more to see in Nanjing! There’s the Xuan Wu Lake, Purple Mountain Scenic Area, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, and many other beautiful and historical sites that I hope I’ll get to next time.
Until then, stay quacky Nanjing.