Living in Huaqiao: The Ultimate List of Places to Eat (Guest Post)

There are SO many food options in Huaqiao! Here’s just a few to pick from…

Written by Olivia Hall, this is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide.
This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

If you’re getting a little tired of eating at the hotel or school cafeteria, don’t worry! There is a plethora of delicious dining options out there if you’re willing to explore. The options range from traditional Chinese cuisine to Italian and German restaurants, sushi, burgers and Korean BBQ are all just a stone’s throw away! Here is a list of local dining locations you might like to try as you get settles in to life in Huaqiao:

Near the School

— The Muslim Shop —

10 – 20 RMB per person

Highlights: Massive bowls of noodles and 6 RMB sandwiches.

Directions: turn right out of the main front gate then left at the first intersection. There you’ll find a line of shops and restaurants geared towards the large construction community. The Muslim Shop is further down the line next to a convenience store.

Top Tip: Outside drinks are okay.

 — Peater Parker —

10 – 30 RMB per person

Highlights: coffee (that isn’t instant) and cheesecake right on campus!

Directions: 1st floor, main building.

Top Tip: Open late.

Huaqiao Township

— Hot Pot —

Highlights: A non-oily hotpot option! Watermelon and oranges on offer.

Directions: From school, head along Lu Di Da Dao toward E-mart/Hanting. Turn right at Megafit onto Huaqang Road. The restaurant is on the first floor of the building on your right.

Top Tip: No English menu!

— Frypan —

20 – 40 RMB per person

Highlights: Delicious boneless fried chicken with 6 different dipping sauces, and headache inducing beers.

Directions: From school, head along Lu Di Da Dao toward E-mart/Hanting. Turn left onto Huawang Road (opposite Megafit). Head through a couple of residential intersections and keep your eyes peeled for the restaurant on the left shortly after passing Huaxi Road.

Top Tip: You can order delivery (with the help of a Chinese friend).

E-mart Area

— Salad Works —

40 – 70 RMB per person

Highlights: Delicious, healthy, fresh and not drenched in oil! Salads and wraps all found in a trendy setting.

Directions: Find “The Pyramids” (oddly shaped, cubey thing) building, opposite McDonald’s on Lu Di Da Dao. On the ground floor of building 3 (the section closest to Lu DDD) you’ll find the restaurant.

Top Tip: Seats outside!

— Sushi —

20 – 40 RMB per person

Highlights: Salmon. So good!

Directions: Enter the E-mart mall and weave your way into the heart of the ground level. Here you’ll find a food court style seating area. You’ll see the sushi chefs dressed in black.

Top Tip: You can also get delicious dumplings next door.

— K’s Kitchen —

40 – 150 RMB per person

Highlights: Western, western, western foooooood. Burgers, pizza, risotto, churros!

Directions: From E-mart continue along Lu Di Da Dao a couple of hundred meters, passing the cinema on your right. Turn into a small roadway and you’ll see the light blue K’s sign ahead.

Top Tip: The upstairs area is perfect for a party!

— Casa Mia —

40 – 100 RMB per person

Highlights: pizza, pizza, pizza! Italiano in an intimate setting.

Directions: From Lu Di Da Dao, walk to the right of E-mart and follow a small lane to the right. You’ll spot a small sign on the right side of the alley, right?

Top Rip: It’s a one man show, so the chef will take your order and then cook. He might even have to fuck out to make a delivery while you dine.

— Lao Beijing —

40 – 100 RMB per person

Highlights: This is the place if you want hot pot and barbeque skewers. Their menu is extensive and the ingredients are high quality. The management loves its foreign patrons; they translated the entire menu into English!

Directions: Find the small road behind McDonalds. Cross the bridge and you’ll find it directly in front of you about 40 meters from the bridge. You can see the private rooms in the upper windows.

Top Tip: You can customize a sauce for all your dipping needs.

** Reviewed by Anne Hale

Further Afield

— Anting Mall —

Highlights: All your standard fast food chains! Dairy Queen, Starbucks, Papa John’s Pizza, Costa Coffee, Yang’s Dumplings, Sushi Restaurant, Neolithic BBQ

Directions: Take the metro to Anting and exit into the mall… explore your culinary options at your leisure.

— Bier Garden —

40 – 100 RMB per person

Highlights: Hearty German food – bratwurst, bier and a regular Filipino cover band.

Directions: From the Anting Metro station head north along Moyu Road, turn right onto Changji Road and head over a small bridge. The Bier Garden will be on the left.

Top Tip: There’s a trampoline!


Following an extensive survey (of myself and one other) there are some ratings based on value for money and deliciousness…

The Muslim Shop – 4/5

Peater Parker – 3/5

Hot Pot – 4/5

Salad Works – 3.5/5

Sushi – 5/5

K’s Kitchen – 3.5/5

Casa Mia – 4/5

Lao Beijing – 4/5

Bier Garden 3.5/5


Living in Huaqiao: Food at KCIS (Guest Post)

Here’s what your food options are at KCIS. Teachers get a free lunch every day!

Written by Olivia Hall, this is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide.
This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but here at KCIS we are lucky enough to enjoy just that. Not only is our lunch free, but the options we are offered are varied and cover a range of culinary preferences. Here is what’s on offer:

Chinese A and B – these options are usually similar and include a portion or two of meat (including fish) and a couple of portions of vegetables. They also come with soup and your choice of fruit or yoghurt.

Chinese Noodles – this consists of a huge bowl of noodles, a side of veggies, and fruit or yoghurt. Wonton soup day is always a popular choice!

Global Cuisine – the title may be slightly misleading unless your definition of ‘global’ is limited to Asia. In saying that, Korean Ddukbokkie, Singaporean noodles and Thai curries are pretty darn delicious.

Italian – pasta, pasta, pasta with a side of veggies and soup. As always, you can pick up your fruit or yoghurt.

Sandwich – just like in Subway! Enjoy a different meat each day with the vegetables of your choosing. A cookie is the definite draw card for the sandwich line.

Vegetarian – now open to anyone, the vegetarian option is basically Chinese A and B sans meat. Spring rolls are a good choice and you always get a fruit juice to wash it all down.

If you decide to get dinner at the Cafeteria (25 RMB a pop), you’ll find the options similar to lunch, although from time to time pizza, burgers and fries make an appearance. You can also enjoy an 8 RMB breakfast which usually consists of some sort of bread, congee and milky tea.

How to get your hands on a free lunch:


Head to to check out your options for lunch. You’ll need an ID number to log in – see HR personnel for this.

Once you’re logged in, you can peruse the options. Hover your curser over the category for each day to check out the detailed menu. You can select up to two options per day for lunch so that when you show up to eat, you can go with what really appeals to you! Click submit, check your order then hit confirm. You’ve now ordered lunch for the following week.

  • Can’t remember what you ordered?

You need to complete your order by 5PM on Wednesday for the following week so it’s more than likely you’ll forget what you ordered when you actually get to the cafeteria for lunch. Luckily, you can jog your memory by scanning your ID card on the machines just outside the cafeteria door before you join the cue.

You can also check your order online at Note that you can also order breakfast and dinner, however these will be charged 8 and 25 RMB respectively.

  • Join the Queue

Here are KCIS we enjoy many excellent privileges including our very own onsite café (Peter Parker). However, cutting in front of students for lunch is not one of them.

Unfortunately, we have to line up just like everyone else. Yes, we’re all pretty busy but you can make it work for you by avoiding the rush hour at the cafeteria. Try 11:10 for an early lunch, or 11:40 and 12:10 for a late lunch free of ques. The most congested times are 10:50, 11:20, 11:50 and 12:20 when students are released to their lunch breaks.

Living in Huaqiao: Leaving for Weekends (Guest Post)

The most excited part of leaving Huaqiao is leaving it. Here’s some tips on weekend trips that are not Shanghai!

Written by Julee Range, this is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide. This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

One of the best ways to stay (mentally) health is to leave Huaqiao as often as possible!

Our holidays are pretty well set for the year. A week for Golden Week in October, a week for Christmas, a couple for Chinese New Year and then a smattering of long weekends during the second semester.

You can apply for extra days here and there but these will be unpaid. If you want to extend a weekend then get in quick as these days are hot property! Please do keep in mind that other people, including Jody, will have to cover your classes so bring you’re a game when it comes to sub plans!! You will also lose your attendance bonus if you take personal leave.

Here’s a quick “how to” on the leave request system:

  1. Go to:
  2. Select KCISEC HR Approval System (second row, first icon).
  3. Sign in with your email username and password.
  4. Select “Fill Form” and then “Leave Request”
  5. Complete the form selecting the appropriate person as your deputy (for international department click KCIS, International Department, Department of Academic Affairs, Jody).
  6. Submit the form and wait for approval!


Make the most of those weekends! Here are five handy places that aren’t Shanghai!


Jiangsu Province

Distance by train from Kunshan South: 11 minutes

Sights: ‘Venice of the Orient’: with 42% of the city covered by water, there are plenty of water ways, rivers, and lakes to explore. Suzhou also offers a number of spectacular traditional Chinese gardens, and an array of great restaurants and nightlife.


Jiangsu Province

Distance by train from Kunshan South: 30 minutes

Sights: Just a little further west of Suzhou, you’ll find her baby sister, Wuxi. Lakes, waterways and excellent parks are in abundance when you need your outdoor fix.


Jiangsu Province

Distance by train from Kunshan South: 2 hours

Sights: if you’re looking for history, culture and heritage, head to Nanjing to check out incredible city walls, temples and mausoleums. You can also check out ‘Purple Mountain’.


Zhejiang Province

Distance by train from Kunshan South: 1.5 hours

Distance by train from Hongqiao: 55 minutes

Sights: West Lake is the big drawn card; a boat ride here is a must do. Renting bikes is cheap and easy!


Shandong Province

Distance by train from Kunshan South: 4 hours

Sights: Taishan is one of China’s sacred mountains; a pilgrimage site for Buddhist and Taoist believers. It’s also a great spot for a spectacular sunrise.

Living in Huaqiao: Basic Beauty 101 (Guest Post)

Keeping chic in Huaqiao isn’t easy when all the elements are against you! Here’s some tips…

Written by Julee Range, this is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide. This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

A Health and Beauty Survival Guide

So you’re stepped off the plane and set foot in one of the largest metropolises in the world. Modern, massive and hop, Shanghai is truly a city where you can find almost any western beauty treatment or service you could ever want. From balayage to Brazilians, the city is littered with high-end salons, staffed with savvy professionals, who all speak reasonable English. Everything you could possible need to keep your look sophisticated,s harp and fly.

Uhhh… but here’s the problem… you don’t live in central Shanghai. You live in Huaqiao and you work… a lot. So spending over an hour on the subway and 200 RMB just to keep your eyebrows on fleek might get old… fast.

Rural, tiny and rough, Huaqiao is simply a small town where haute couture includes wearing your pajamas in public, beauty salons are few and far between and 99.99% of people in the service industry don’t speak any English at all. This can make routine health and beauty maintenance a tedious, tedious nightmare.

Warning! After a couple months in this town, it’s very easy to start letting yourself go and it’ll happen before you even realize it. You’ll just wake up one day an overly hairy, unkempt version of your former sleek self… home on a Saturday night, stuffing your newly chubby face with dumplings filled with something strange you randomly pointed to off the menu (because you still won’t know Chinese) … trying to unsuccessfully stream a movie through exceptionally shitty internet, while rocking gnarly, fuzzy PJs and split ends. Yikes. Sick.

If this image doesn’t appeal to you… there are a few hidden gems in town and simple tips I recommend.

10 Tips On How to NOT Become Ratchet in Huaqiao

  1. When you get your haircut locally, bring photos with you to the salon. A lot of photos. And add your hairdresser on WeChat so you can communicate (via translator) with them during the process. Keep pointing from the pictures to your hair… repeatedly. Sometimes they like to forget about the picture.

  2. Don’t buy an e-bike right away. Walk or “real bike” as much as you can. Once you get an e-bike your days of using your legs are over.

  3. Join a gym. Go to the gym you joined. Make a friend. Go to the gym together. (MegaFit and Start Fitness are both good options. The school gym can get crowded during the week.)

  4. Don’t eat rice with school lunch (or don’t eat school lunch at all.) Unless you’re used to eating white rice everyday… bodies don’t tend to do well with excesses of unfamiliar carbs.

  5. Wash your face as much as possible. The pollution will age you decades. Also, facial masks and sunscreen go a long way. Shop at Watson’s in Anting for quality face products.

  6. Buy membership cards/accounts at the local salons (listed below). You get free services and/or discounts to keep you routinely groomed.

  7. Shop online. You can purchase current/trendy fashions at reasonable prices and in western sized. DON’T look around you for fashion trends. It’s so tacky it will start to grow on you.

  8. Routinely do hair treatments or masks. The local water is very hard on your hair. Unless you wash your hair in Evian every day… you should take extra care to offset the damage.

  9. Get massages. You’re in Asia. Massages are cheap and they relieve stress. Stress makes you look like crap.

  10. Get out of Huaqiao as much as possible. Go to Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Xi’an. Go anywhere. Huaqiao is a bubble, don’t suffocate in it.

So where to get haircuts, facials nails and massages in your new hometown?

MegaFit Spa (located just inside the MegaFit Gym to the right, called Madlan)

Services: massages, facials, laser hair removal, cupping, steam baths, makeup tattooing, eyelash implants (yes, implants!), cellulite treatment and much, much more…

***Massages at Megafit are more western styles and more relaxing than local Chinese spots. The manager speaks some English and can help you with preferences and services. Membership packages are available. Also note that you do not need a gym membership to go to this salon.

U+ Nail Art (located behind McDonalds, near E-mart)

Services: manicures, pedicures, eyelash extensions, make-up tattooing, ‘facial water injection’ (whatever that is).

***The nail art at his salon is generally better than other places in town (depending on the technician). Also, they usually have 2-3 workers on staff is it’s better if you are going with friends, which is recommended because all the nail places take forever to gel nails. The owner, Sunny, speaks English and offers discount cards of 10 – 30 %. She is also the owner of the Korean restaurant a few doors down.

Purple Hair Salon (located near E-Mart, between U+ Nail Art and California Dream Bakery)

Services: haircuts, blow outs, hair steam treatments, color, cuts, magic strengthening and perms.

Nailed It! (Nair Care)

Nail season is a lot of fun! Halloween until Chinese New Year is the prime time to get some holiday inspired nail art! It’s always enjoyable to go with a friend and let’s be honest… there aren’t a lot of entertainment options during those cold winter months!

“I was having problems with my hair quality and when I went to an expat salon, I found out that one big cause is the chlorine used to treat water here. I bought a water filter and since then Chris’s hair has stopped falling outs and my highlights aren’t orange anymore! It costs about 800 RMB but lasts for six months with two people showering regularly.” – Kelly Shipman

Strangers Gave us Money at a Chinese Christmas Party!

Chinese Christmas parties are full of great performances, food and even money!

Last night, Wednesday December 21st, the Huaqiao government hosted a Christmas party. They invited local business owners and foreigners in hopes that we would get to know each other. We were invited by Isaac’s school and we had no idea what to expect! We were more than pleasantly surprised.

We were picked up from the school by a fancy bus hired to transport us to the hotel. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with an open bar and delicious buffet! The guests were mainly Chinese businessmen, a few Indian businessmen and a bunch of teachers, their spouses and several children.

First we ate sushi, tuna sandwiches, goose live pate, shrimp, fruit, dumplings and way too many delicious desserts. Once we were full, a beautiful Chinese hostess explained the evening’s program which started with an introductory speech by a man who is the equivalent of Huaqiao’s mayor. He spoke about how much Huaqiao has developed in recent years and it was really inspirational.

Then came the performances! It was an interesting mix of a Chinese women’s choir singing English Christmas songs, ancient Chinese dancers, a magician and a fascinating face-changing performer! After the official performances anyone could come on stage – the reward for speaking/preforming was an adorable stuffed toy!

The principal of Kang Chiao, Isaac’s school, gave a moving speech about how much Huaqiao changed since she arrived to start the school four years ago. An enthusiastic older Chinese man sang a beautiful song and a Tai Chi master performed a routine that shook the ground. Even Isaac went up, dragging me with him and sang Silent Night! We got a bear that has a nose instead of one eye, so cute! ❤

It was a truly wonderful event that changed the way I feel about China. I have had a hard time not speaking the language, having people stare at me for looking different and I’ve felt very isolated. This party made me see things differently and finally feel at home in Huaqiao. It came at the perfect time – I will no longer be working from home and will have a chance to explore the area more and maybe even meet some locals!

Many teachers chose not to go to this party and I can understand why they were apprehensive. It’s been one of the busiest weeks of the school year, the weather was bad and no one really knew much about the party. A government-organized event doesn’t have the same ring to it as an expat party in Shanghai. But it truly was the best party we’ve been to in a long time!

I almost forgot to mention that you are likely to get richer at a Chinese party. In the past, red envelopes were given to people with money in it. This Christmas party was a bit more modern… everyone joined a group on WeChat (Chinese WhatApp) and the host would send clickable red envelopes for guests to click on! Isaac and I got a total of $15 from 5/6 red envelopes. You have no idea how many dumplings we can buy with that much money!

We wish all of you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!











Living in Huaqiao: The Great Firewall (Guest Post)

VPNs are essential if you want to access Facebook and Google in China! Read more…

Brad Russell wrote this is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide.
This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

Whether you’re a die hard gamer or you just want your mom to know you’re safe and sound in China, access to electronics, the internet and the outside world is going to be important during your stay here.

The Great Firewall (防⽕ 城 fánghuǒ chángchéng), first came about in 1997 when China passed the CL97 law to criminalize cyber crimes. While the law was deemed pretty vague and ambiguous, it eventually led to the censorship of the internet in China. Now, sites including Facebook, Instagram, anything Google related, Vimeo, pornhub and even the New York Times are inaccessible. Of course, people are resourceful and there are many ways to get around the firewall including the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).

If you’ve got a smartphone, tablet or computer we recommend you install a VPN provider before you arrive. Kang Chao runs the internet through a VPN which is handy when you want to share YouTube videos with your classes. However, it can be unreliable at times and we probably shouldn’t sit around on Facebook all day – it’s at home that you’re really going to want that VPN. Check out the info on VPN options below.

Let’s take a step backward now though because a VPN is as useful as a sack of rotten potatoes if you don’t have access to the internet! Getting set up is relatively straightforward and generally made easier with the help of someone who speaks Chinese. Check out the living section to help you get through the internet set up process!

Electronic Markets – By Brad Russell

Zhaofeng Road (Line 11)

The Electronics market at Zaofeng road is a five-minute walk from the metro. To get there, exit the metro and walk towards the Kentucky Fried Chicken. About a minute past KFC you will find the market. You can also take the 228 which stops right outside the market. This market has smart phones, tablets, cheap PC’s, routers and other cheap electronic goods.

Xujiahui (Line 11)

This electronics market has higher end computers, gaming consoles and video games. Head to Xujiahui metro station and take exit 10. There is a Carl’s Jr at the entrance to this market. As of 2016, it is smaller than Zaofeng road market because it’s under renovation. Once finished though, it should be bigger than Zaoeng.

Handy Chinese Websites is one of the biggest search engines in China. is the music playlist part. It’s all in Chinese but you can hit the search bar and type in any song. Click the plus button when your results come up and it’ll add it to your playlist. is a great website for purchasing anything from phones to baby toys. is the English version. is your best friend when it comes to booking hotels, trains and flights in China. You can change the webpage to English in the upper right corner of the page. Online payments can be made using Union Pay cards and they also have English customer service if you have any concerns about tickets/hotels you’ve booked.


Cost: $99 USD per year

Express VPN is popular among staff at KCIS and is relatively reliable. It offers you VPN connections through a large number of countries around the world and is easy to set up. The cost covers the use of the VPN on more than one device so you can load it onto your phone, computer, tablet, or even your Xbox. The best connections are usually through Hong Kong 1, 2 or 3.

Cost: $10 USD per year

Ask is great for your phone but shuts off automatically after 20 minutes. There are about 10 connection options and you can load your VPN onto any number of devices.

Cost: Free

Works well on dodgy Wi-Fi but is not ideal for watching movies. There are no options connections so you can never be sure where your internet is flowing through. It’s free though!

Onavo Protect
Cost: Free

This is a great VPN if you have an iPhone. Like many others, it works well on Wi-Fi but it does cut out every now and then requiring you to reconnect. It can sometimes take time to connect but it’s free!

Entertainment in Huaqiao (Guest Post)

So what do people do for fun in Huaqiao?

This is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide.
This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

* There is always something going on in Shanghai so check out these websites/apps to get inspired. – events, dining and tickets! – articles, events and activities! – incredibly handy metro map app!


  1. Eat! See food section for more detail.
  2. KTV- Karaoke is everywhere!
  3. Watch movies in English with Chinese Subtitles – the nearest theater is a block east of E mart.
  4. Wander through the parks-check out the Zodiac park on Lu Di Da Dao or the Shanghai Auto Expo Park south of Anting metro station.
  5. Exercise! Try the school gym, pool, or head to any number of gyms in the area.
  6. Play Pool – upstairs opposite the 1st Korean BBQ near E mart.
  7. Hike! Eamon’s the man to see if you want to join a hiking trip.
  8. Football (soccer)! Join the social game every Friday from 4.45 on the school field.
  9. “Escape Rooms” located by E mart. There are currently five different escape rooms of varied difficulty. The instructions for the puzzles are in Chinese so you will need to bring someone to translate. This is a minor issue though as most puzzles don’t require any reading. To get there, go to the building with the Adidas store and head to the third floor. The escape room is at the very end of the third floor. – Review by Brad Russell

Work (& Work Out) at the School

* 3rd Floor Snacks – Head to Echo’s office to pick up a snack or drink to get you through the afternoon. Snickers, M&Ms, Coke and coffee are some of what’s on offer! For a superior selection, try the elementary office. Prices range from 2 – 10 RMB. Pay cash into the honesty box. CHINESE CURRENCY ONLY!

6th Floor Gym:

The gym/weight room is available for staff to use before and after school, or during your lunch hour. However, it is always locked so you need to collect the key from behind the door in the PE office (by the golf range), unlick the door, then return the key BEFORE you workout. Pop the lock when you leave if no one else is in there.

There are a few treadmills, rowers, a variety of other weight based machines, yoga mats and dumbbells. Enjoy!

Friday Football:

Football, Futbol, Soccer, Le Footy, El kicky the belle’… whatever you want to call it, we do it here at KCIS! Every Friday we host a footy staff game at 5pm, or if you’re Dahl: whenever you roll out of the office. All people, shapes and talents wanted!! Turn that flab to fab with a good old fashioned kick around Ladies and gents of all skill are welcome! During the warm majestic Huaqiao winter months we even play inside!

If you want any more information feel free to contact: Mike McKevett on WeChat.

The Pool:

Staff swim times: 10:50 – 11:50 AM and 5 – 6 PM, weekdays. On Friday’s you can head in from about 4 PM. The pool has strict, non-negotiable policies regarding swimwear – one pieces for women and speedos for men (knee length is okay). Swim caps are a must!! Goggles are highly recommended. Peeing in the pool is definitely unacceptable, but the first graders do use that pool, too…

If running is your jam…

The school track is another great workout option when the air is fresh and the sun’s out! It’s a standard 400m so for 1km that’s 2.5 laps, for 1 mile that’s 4 laps. Try springing the straight and jogging the curves!

What can you offer us?

Throughout 2015 – 2016, we were lucky to have Chris and Kelly offer regular, free fitness classes. (Sumba and Krav Maga). Unfortunately, they have headed home to new jobs! We also had a knitting club form, a regular poker group, a Mojito club and weekly social soccer games (Friday @5). If you think you could offer something more to the staff at KCIS, don’t be afraid to step forward and throw out a line! You never how many bites you might get.