One of the most interesting aspects of my trip to Shenzhen was food. Even though we had booked a place to go for dinner, we were a bit hungry when we arrived at the city, so we decided to grab a quick bite. The closest place for food to our apartment was nearby mall that had many different eating spots. We didn’t have much time, so we decided to go to the first place we found. That place was none other than Chinese KFC 😊. The funniest part is that I had never tried KFC while in the US, so now I was going to get my first KFC experience… There was one very important problem though. The store did not accept cash.
When we arrived in the City, we made sure to exchange our Hong Kong dollars to the Chinese currency (RMB) so that we would be ready to pay. Yet, the city was a step ahead of us. It turns out that most, if not all transactions in Shenzhen are performed electronically. No, I don’t mean by credit card, even that is sparingly used. Every Shenzhen citizen uses either WeChat or Alipay in order to purchase anything. All purchases are completed through scanning QR codes. On the one hand, this system is extremely convenient, but on the other hand the Western approach would be too be wary of the digital documentation of every single thing one buys. Nevertheless, we were only able to pay because we had two Chinese girls in our debating team that would make the purchases for us and whom we could afterwards pay in cash. In conclusion, make sure you either download these apps or have a local to pay for you if you ever happen to visit Shenzhen.
Around 8 pm on that day, we arrived at the restaurant where we would be having dinner. It was a Hotpot place! Hotpot is Chinese style of restaurant where the waiters serve you the food and you then have to “cook” it yourself by dipping it into a hot broth of your choice which is located at the center of the table. Food ranges from things as common as shredded chicken and beef, to a bit more exquisite dishes such as chicken feet or intestines. It is a wonderful experience that really promotes a very nice conversational environment. Trying a hotpot when visiting China is an absolute must!