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Welcome to the heart of Nanjing, China. This medium-sized city (by Chinese standards) might not be on the list of essential stops for foreign tourists visiting China for the first time, however Nanjing has plenty to offer and might be worth reconsidering. One Sunday afternoon, I spent a few hours strolling about the city trying to experience the flavor of the Nanjing first-hand. I immediately found that the pedestrian street at Hunan Road is a perfect venue for observing modern and traditional lifestyles coming to point.
Standing on this street you immediately notice the huge neon signs cluttering the view over-head and the numerous snack-vendor stands at street-level. Even in the light of day the visual impact is quite overwhelming, but like Las Vegas can only be truly appreciated after dark.
One of my favorite activities in China is eating local foods, especially street-food. These quick and cheap snack foods can be purchased from vendors with carts, wagons, or establish food counters in small shops at roadside. Many of these foods are unique domestic treats, and should be tried if only for the experience. Personally, I recommend the “bing tang hulu,” which is series of red, sugar glazed, round fruits on a skewer. Like a Chinese version of the American candied apple, yet with a flavor that is both sweet and tart. One can’t help but notice that Chinese street-food often comes on a stick and walking on a street crowded with people carrying sharp skewers feels just a little dangerous!
Located just a few hours by train from Shanghai, Nanjing is a worthy destination in terms of unique history, tourist attractions, and a glimpse into modern Chinese lifestyles. Hunan Road is an essential first stop in Nanjing, even if you only visit the city for a day or weekend. (John F Rash / RASHPHOTO / 叶摄)
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