This week’s Travel Tuesday brings us to China, the 4th largest country on Earth. Such a large country will contain a variety of geography and peoples. According to Global Road Warrior, China has “mountains, high plateaus, and desert plains in the west, and plains, deltas, and hills in the east. Mount Everest, which lies on China’s border with Nepal, is the world’s tallest peak at 8,850 meters (29,035 ft). China’s climate is as variable as its geography, ranging from tropical in the south to subarctic in the north.”

Here are 5 interesting quick facts about China from Global Road Warrior:

  • China’s official languages are “Mandarin, Cantonese (in Hong Kong and Macau), Mongolian (in Mongolia), Tibetan (in Tibet), Uyghur, Zhuang, English (in Hong Kong), and Portuguese (in Macau).”
  • “School is compulsory for Chinese children between the ages of six and 15 years. Homeschooling is illegal across the country. Mandarin is used as the medium of instruction in most schools.”
  • “China is officially an atheist country, but about 30 percent of Chinese people practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs that contain elements of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and traditional ancestor worship.”
  • China’s national day is October 1, which commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by Mao Zedong.
  • Punctuality is highly valued in Chinese society. “The Chinese expect their trains to run on time, but this demand for punctuality in transportation does not always trickle down to the bus systems throughout the country. Despite this hindrance, the Chinese strive hard to overcome any hurdles keeping them from arriving where they need to be at the appointed hour.”

    Language Learners: Mandarin and Cantonese are available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator.

    Recipe Corner: Stir Fried Greens
    A side dish of stir-fried greens is as central to a Chinese meal as a bowl of rice. Bok choy, choy sum, shen choy, and gai lan (Chinese broccoli) are common accompaniments to most meals. Select fresh, unblemished greens for the best dish.

    Recipe Serving: Serves 4

    Ingredients

  • 1 head Chinese cabbage (pe-tsai)
  • 3 tbsp (30 ml) peanut oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and ground Sichuan hot pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) brandy
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
  • Instructions

  • 1. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, slice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) strips, blanch in boiling water, and drain.
  • 2. Brown the garlic clove in oil, add the cabbage and spices, and fry, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  • 3. Dissolve sugar in the brandy, add to the cabbage, and stir for 1 minute.
  • 4. Serve immediately.