Shenyang Pet Market – Chongwu Shichang

A few weeks ago, a friend called asking if I knew where to buy a new puppy in Shenyang. Dog shopping is not something I’ve done in China, but I’d heard of a couple places through the grapevine. I offered to go on the hunt with her and her son. I’m always up for an adventure.

Our first stop was at a little shop on the first floor of the fish and flower market called Bei Shichang. They only had a few kittens mixed in with a handful of puppies, as they mostly sold birds and other animals. While they were adorably tempting, none struck the fancy of her son, who was to be the owner of the new puppy.

From there we were a little stuck. But her driver mentioned that he knew of one other place we could. He warned us that we’d need to be a little careful because some of the small ones could be sick and to be wary if the price was too cheap. He said to expect to pay anywhere from 500-1000 RMB.

It was a good 30 minute drive there and to be honest, I’m not even sure what part of the city it’s in. But as soon as we pulled up, I knew we were in the right place. You could hear the dogs barking from outside the gate.

It’s called Chongwu Shichang, or Chongwu Market. You have to buy a 1 yuan ticket per person to get inside and surrounding the outside were all kinds of little pet shops selling food, toys, beds, and any other pet supply you could want.

There were hundreds of dogs of all breeds. I went back and forth from feeling elated to be surrounded by dogs again (I really miss my sweet lab who couldn’t make the trip to China with us.) and feeling a little sad because the conditions of the place were less than ideal.

Even still, I really enjoyed it.

There were big dogs…

(This fellow looked like a bear!)

and teeny tiny dogs…

And even a few cats.

In the end, he finally decided on this itty bitty ball of fur that was just too adorable to pass by.

And she was quite happy to steal a ride home in his baseball cap.



What to know about bringing electronics when you move to China

If you’re moving to China from the US, you’ll need to be aware when you bring any appliance or electronic with a plug. The US is a little odd and uses a different voltage than most other parts of the world. They use a 110V system where China (and most everywhere else) uses a 220V system. What this means is that you’ll need to just be aware and check before plugging in your US-bought electronics when you get to China. It’s also a good idea to check the voltage requirements before you ship something you won’t be able to use.

Photo by Yagan Kiely

That said, you shouldn’t have any problems with MOST of your electronics. Most computers, cell phones, tablets, cameras, gaming systems etc. are designed as dual-voltage devices and are fine to use anywhere on 100-240V. Notice I said “most”. It’s still a good idea to double check and make sure your device won’t get fried if you plug it straight into a China outlet. Continue reading


Jazz Night in Shenyang: June 8

Calling all expats in Shenyang…

For this month’s gathering, one of the best American restaurants in Shenyang has offered to host our growing group of hungry expats. For those who haven’t tried it, Chicago Legend Steakhouse’s imported U.S. beef will make you forget you’re in Shenyang–for a few hours anyway.

Chicago Legends Steakhouse 芝城假日牛排餐厅
No.115 Beizhan Road Shenhe District Shenyang 沈阳市沈河区北站路115号
Restaurant Telephone: 024-88346868

Date: Friday, June 8, 2012
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Price: RMB 150 (Includes Food, Soft Drinks and Juice)
Happy Hour: 6:30 to 7:30 pm (Buy One Get One Free on Beer & Wine)

Continue reading


Expat Housing in Shenyang – Housing Communities

First, let me first clarify what I mean when I say “Expat Housing”. I’m referring to the expats who move to China to work with a large company or as business professionals. People who are moving with families and prefer to live in a comfortable home with similar amenities to what they’re used to. Truthfully, an expat can live anywhere they are able to negotiate a lease. You could certainly find a small traditional Chinese apartment anywhere in the city.

Shenyang China Riverside Garden

Most expats in Shenyang choose to rent an apartment in one of the many gated communities. I say “gated” because, well, they have gates. But I don’t want to mislead you into thinking there are issues with security. That’s not really the case. Most of the time the gates aren’t closed and people come and go pretty easily. China is a very safe place to live. Honestly, I think the gates and security detail are more of a status symbol than a necessity.

There are several different communities and new ones being built all the time. The most common ones are near the Southern end of the city, right along the Hunhe river. Each community has pros and cons and it depends a lot on your personal preferences as to which will work best for your family. It also depends some on the luck of the draw and what is available when you’re looking. Don’t feel like you have to choose right away if you aren’t comfortable with the first few you see. The apartments here are privately owned and can vary a lot between furnishings, maintenance, square footage, and amenities depending on the landlord and previous tenants. Continue reading


Shenyang Improv Workshop

Hello Fellow Shenyangers.

I just heard word of a fun new activity here in town that you might want to try out. It’s recently been started by another expat, Andrew, and I thought I’d share it with you. It sounds fun!

It’s called the Shenyang Improv Workshop.

Inspired by the original bilingual Beijing workshop, SIW is a place for people of all (or no) acting levels and experiences to come together and learn the art of improv in a relaxed, fun setting. Classes are absolutely free and are open to Dongbei-ers of all ages, nationalities, and levels of appreciation for the absurd. The workshop will use both English and Chinese.

Workshops are currently being held every Wednesday evening from 7-8:30 on the 9th floor of the Somerset Hotel Heping Shenyang (80 Taiyuan Jie, at the corner of Taiyuan Jie and Bei’er Ma Lu, 太原街和北二马路的路口). (You can tell a taxi “Taiyuan Jie, Hualian” and he should take you right to it.)
Your presence is both welcomed and desired.

If you’d like more information, you can contact Andrew at shenyangimprov (a)

Now you all practice hard, get really good and funny, and then let me know when you’re having your first show!


Let’s take a walk

I thought you might be interested to see what our city of Shenyang is like on a typical Spring day so I thought I’d take you on a walk with me. This is the main street that brings you into Shenyang called Qingnian Dajie. It’s just outside the West Gate of Riverside Garden.

I have to laugh when I think back to when we first arrived in Shenyang. When we were choosing our apartment, we debated if this would be a comfortable walk from our place to the big grocery store, Carrefour. We finally concluded that it was possible but not comfortable. This is funny to me now because what seemed too far when we moved here is a walk I make multiple times a week. And actually much less than I typically walk in a day. And I do it now while carrying groceries.

Funny how our perspective changes.

Want to make time for more exercise in your life? Just move to a city where you don’t have a car and it’s a challenge to tell a taxi driver where to go. A 30-minute walk becomes “just around the corner”.

It’s also funny that even though I’ve been here a year and a half, I still can’t take a walk without shaking my head. Smiling at just another unbelievable sight in this crazy country. Saying “Zhendema?” (which means, “Really?”) at least 100 times a day. And asking myself, “Is this real life?” Although, I think I have finally have gotten over being surprised at what I see.

Nothing surprises me anymore. Continue reading


It’s the same… but different.

A couple of days I stumbled upon this box of cookies at Carrefour, I had to pick them up.

I could tell from the packaging that they were a little taste of home. Chips Ahoy! And even better, the chewy kind. my favorite.

Now I don’t normally buy a lot of cookies or junk food. Not because I have anything against it, it just usually ends up cluttering up our pantry for months because we don’t really eat it. But in this case, I wanted a little taste of home.

So I bought them.

I was very impressed because they were only a few kuai. Less than 1 US dollar. Not usually the case with imported foods.

After dinner that night, I pulled out my box of cookies. It was a box. Not the same as the plastic trays with the crackly wrapping like in the US. And a little smaller.

And when I pulled out the little tray, I was a little surprised.

Not because the cookies were different. Thankfully they were exactly what I expected. This time. (That isn’t always the case. I bought a similar package before and was surprised to find that instead of chocolate chips, they were filled with blueberries.)

I was surprised because that whole box only contained 6 cookies.

The hubby never did find out I bought chips ahoy cookies. Six just isn’t enough to share. At least in my book. Btw, this is the OTHER reason I don’t buy junk food.


Expat Housing in Shenyang

One of the first things I think you’ll need to know when moving to China is where you’re going to stay once you get here. If you’re coming with a large international company, they’ll likely take care of booking this for you. If you’re contracting or working for a Chinese company, you may have to negotiate this part for yourself. Here is an outline of basic housing options in Shenyang that are most commonly used by expats and foreigners.

1. Hotels
2. Serviced Apartments
3. Gated Communities & Apartment Complexes Continue reading


Traditional Chinese Massage in Shenyang

One of the things I miss most when I’m away from China is this little massage place. I am a little (ok, a lot) spoiled because the massages here are so cheap and so wonderful. I usually go once a week!

A friend discovered this little massage place just walking down the street one day and raved about it so I gave it a try a few days after she found it. That was over a year ago and I’ve been going religiously since then. Fortunately for me, it’s just across the main street and a very quick walk.

It’s on Wenan Rd. (The street just behind the Sheraton Hotel.) Take a right at the “Mushroom Girl” restaurant, just past the Jiujiang Hotel down the little walking street. It’s at the end of that row of buildings on the left.

It’s easy to spot from the English “Traditional Massage” on the outside. It’s simple and clean. Continue reading