Craft beer seems to be expanding everywhere in Shenzhen as of late, but what exactly is all the fuss about? Is it really any better than cheap commercial lagers? Is it worth the price difference? For that matter, what exactly is craft beer?
In the US, there is a legal definition as to what constitutes “craft beer”. Unfortunately, in China, there less of a universally accepted standard and the word can often be applied in questionable circumstances. Sadly, most of what’s out there still leaves a lot to be desired.
Beer is unlike wine or whiskey in the sense that it is far more susceptible to travel stress and it’s quality can rapidly decline if handled poorly.
As a general rule, the closer you can get to where it’s made, the better it is, at least in terms of it not having been subjected to travel stress. You’ll have a better chance of having a beer as it was intended to taste if it was brewed on site, but might also find a good experience with a beer made off site providing it was transported right. The further and further you get away from where it was made, the more risk there is that it no longer tastes as it was intended to, especially when it comes to crossing the border with potentially lengthy customs delays.
We are of course talking about the good stuff, fresh beer, which is unpasteurized and often unfiltered. Fresh beer needs to be kept cold, time and temperature are far less forgiving to it than its mass-made pasteurized counterpart.
A few red flags to look out for when searching for a craft beer bar;
1) If they serve beer from flash chillers and the kegs aren’t always kept cold, don’t pay the extra money for it. The way to spot this is to see if the kegs are kept outside of a fridge or coldroom on the floor. In these cases the beer is chilled only on demand by a flash chiller as it is sent to the tap.
2) If the bar doesn’t put the brewery name on the menu, you might not be getting what you expect. Is it really a craft beer, or is it a commercial beer with an inflated price tag?
3) If the bartender doesn’t know which brewery the beer came from, find another place to frequent. An educated barman will not only give you a better more educational craft beer experience, they’re more likely to know how to take care of the beer and how to recommend a suitable beer for you based on your preferences.
4) Be careful with the imports. No matter how great the beer tasted when it was first made, it often gets ruined by the transportation process. Importing beer into China is notorious for its difficulty in making sure the proper temperature controls are in place. Fresh unpasteurized beer should be kept cold as overheating can cause flavors to go off and also spoilage.
Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in awareness regarding the transportation process and overseas breweries have started to manage their own product transportation to China. Even with the best efforts, however, imported craft beer will never be able to compare to a product of equal quality that is freshly made locally.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the top brewpubs in Shenzhen…
Shenzhen’s first craft brewery opened in 2014 and is just as famous for its beers as it’s rollercoaster ride with the authorities. It’s been featured in CNN, South China Morning Post, Travel + Leisure and in Lonely Planet as an unmissable experience, just to name a few publications.
Distribution is limited to around Shenzhen and most people go to its gritty urban village taproom in Baishizhou or B10 Live house to sample the brew. They are best known for the Bionic Ale, American Pale Ale, Crickside Golden Ale, and Metropolis IPA, but they also make dry cider and other rotating beers.
Their taproom features guest taps from all over China and they organize the Shenzhen Craft Beer Festival, which is now in its 4th year.
Address: Shang Ye Bu Xing Jie, Baishizhou, Nanshan, Shenzhen (深圳市南山区白石洲沙河街商业步行街)
This brewpub made a big splash when it opened a few years ago and was even featured in Fortune magazine as one of the top 5 craft beer brands in China. Taps was also featured on CCTV national news and is one of only 7 brewpubs listed in the Lonely Planet’s global craft beer guide, the only one in Guangdong on the list. This brewpub offers a clean and comfortable environment and is nestled near Haiyue subway station in Nanshan.In addition to a large draft list, they have many food items available from their kitchen to try whether you’re feeling peckish after a few pints or looking for a full-on meal. Be sure to try their famous End of Days IPA which was recently called one of the top 5 beers in China by Lonely Planet.
Address: Shop 136-137, Anwanwu Rd, JunHuiXinTian Garden, Nanshan, Shenzhen (Behind All City North) (深圳市南山区岸湾五路君汇新天136、137号商铺（太古城北区后面）)
NBeer originates from Beijing, brewed in Chengdu, but you can find all their latest beers at the bar in OCT Loft right here in Shenzhen.
They are most famous for their sour Goose Beer, but they are no one-trick pony, and make dozens of other styles of beer. Don’t be surprised to find these beers pop up at other locations across the city, but to get the full NBeer experience, head to their bar in OCT Loft.
Address: OCT Loft, Building A2, No.101, Nanshan, Shenzhen (深圳南山华侨城创意园北区A2栋101)
Plus Nine Brewery
One of the more recent bars to burst on the brewpub scene is Plus Nine Brewery, situated in the up-and-coming area of Shuiwei. They brew onsite to fuel their 11 drafts, but they also have some guest taps on rotation.
It’s worth noting that the taps are not always well marked so be sure to ask the bartender who made the beer if you want to know if it’s one of their own brews or one of the well-known guests beers.
Address: 1368 Intl Culture St, Shuiwei Village, Huanggang Park 1st St, Futian, Shenzhen (深圳市福田区皇岗公园一街水围1368国际街区144栋)
Located in Houhai between the shops of Coastal City and the offices of Tencent, ET Brewery is a great little option for those looking for a pint or two. Although this brewpub has tanks onsite, most of their beers are actually brewed at their place in Foshan.
The drafts available often take inspiration from the extra-terrestrial nature of the brewpub with drinks like Starfrunova and Space Cow Porter. They don’t usually carry guest beers on tap, but occasionally you will find other great beers from around the city or China.
November 9th to 11th, Bionic Brew presents Electric City, the 4th Annual Shenzhen Craft Beer Festival. The festival, which is an invitation only event for Guangdong and Greater China craft breweries, began in 2015 with just six breweries and expands this year to 21 of China’s best craft breweries. As well as great beer, expect plenty of food vendors and live DJ sets all weekend.
What makes a classy restaurant? Well, there is the understated décor and stately furniture. There’s the number of bottles in the wine cellar. There’s the grade of the steak and where the oysters come from.
But there are also those small, almost indefinable, details. The way the light illuminates the room. The way the waiter appears and disappears as if they are reading your mind. The way the music slowly lures you in.
Rather than try defining what makes a classy restaurant, it might be easier for me to give you an example. Allow me to introduce you to Duke’s Wine & Grill at The Langham, Shenzhen.
They say first impressions are important. This is equally true when going to a new bar or restaurant as it is when meeting someone, if not more so. Well, when I first entered Duke’s Wine & Grill, the restaurant certainly made a strong impression.
My eye was drawn from the classic leather couches and tub chairs to the contemporary art adorning the walls to the high ceilings. Duke’s was lively and was already brimming with the kind of atmosphere you associate with a jazz bar.
I took a table and the manager offered to introduce me to the wine cellar upstairs, to which I duly obliged and he led me to the second floor of Duke’s where the wine cellar is located alongside a private dining room.
If you prefer a fine single malt or a blended Scotch, then you can explore the extensive spirits list. Highlights include Hibiki 17 Years, Macallan 25 Years, and Royal Salute 38 Years. Duke’s Wine & Grill also boasted an impressive choice of imported cigars. The limited run of Cohiba Talisman 2017 Edition, in particular, caught the eye.
I headed back downstairs to my table and started to peruse the food menu. As I flicked through the pages, it quickly became apparent that Duke’s Wine & Grill boast one of the most delectable selections of dishes around; from the Anceline Oysters from France, the Beluga Caviar, the Canadian Lobster, to the Australian Wagyu Tomahawk Steak. Duke’s Wine & Grill only serve the finest of the fine.
As I ordered some dishes, the entertainer for that evening took to the stage and sat behind her piano ready to play. She introduced herself as NaTasha Rogers and when she started her set with a silky smooth rendition of This Masquerade by George Benson I knew we were in for something special that evening.
NaTasha quickly captivated the entire restaurant as she moved on to the Jazz classic Autumn Leaves. By the time she had started to play Lovin’ You by Minnie Ripperton, she had already cultivated that special kind of ambiance, which you only feel in the best Jazz bars.
Soon after, our dishes began to arrive. First up was Duke’s Signature Salad, an intriguing mix of Oyster, Avocado, Bergamot Pear, Manchego Cheese, and Quinoa. The chef struck just the right balance between sweet and savory to deliver a healthy salad you will want to keep coming back to.
Next was a favorite of fine-dining restaurants in China, the Pan-fried Foie Gras. The foie gras is served with mango chutney, which really brought out something new in the dish, and a candy brioche, which was somewhat of a surprise selection but paired unexpectedly well with foie grasAfter the Foie Gras, the Silver Cod Fish Filet arrived, 180 grams of the freshest and most succulent cod available. The cod was expertly matched with a basil clam sauce and came with a side of the softest baby potatoes and pearl vegetables.The final dish was something from Duke’s Wine & Grill’s meat selection. As tempted as the Australian Wagyu Tomahawk looked, I opted for the Salt Marsh Coastal Lamb Loin. Imported from New Zealand, the lamb loin was cooked with parsley, garlic, and breadcrumb, and presented with a rosemary and thyme sauce. The vegetables and herbs really offered the perfect balance to the dish.After another glass of the house white and a couple more songs from NaTasha, it was time for dessert. The intriguingly named Tropical Explosion certainly lived up to its name. The tropical mango’s crispy exterior betrayed the rich mousse inside while the passion fruit ice cream sprinkled with coconut melted in the mouth.Later that evening, I had a chance to chat with the Western Executive Chef, Fabrice Bruto. When he talked about his dishes, there was one element that ran through them all. For him, it is not about where a dish originated from, but the connection between the elements. It is about creating combinations and contrasts resulting in new flavors and sensations.
Before he left, he recommended that next time I try the Venison Rossini Burger, which sounds like the king of gourmet burgers; Venison Patty with Foie Gras and Black Forest Ham topped with Iberico Cheese, Arugula, and Caramelized Red Onions, served in a Brioche Bun with a side of Homemade Truffle French Fries.
I left Duke’s Wine & Grill having thoroughly enjoyed my evening and being reminded what a restaurant is capable of being. While it may be debatable what exactly makes a restaurant classy, there is little doubt that Duke’s is one of, if not the, classiest spots in Shenzhen.Address: Level 3, The Langham, Shenzhen, 7888 Shennan Boulevard, Futian, Shenzhen 518040 (中国深圳市福田区深南大道7888号, 深圳东海朗廷酒店, 3层)
Opening Hours: 6:30 pm to 1:00 am (Sun – Thurs), 6:30pm to 2:00am (Fri – Sat)
Shenzhen’s original craft beer festival, Electric City, is coming up on Friday 9th to Sunday 11th November. Shenzhen Party sat down to speak with Joe Finkenbinder, founder of Electric City and Bionic Brew, to learn more about this year’s festival, the story of his brewery, and his love of craft beer.
Shenzhen Party (SZP): Bionic Brew has become one of the most iconic craft beer brands in Shenzhen and across China. How did it all come about?
Joe Finkenbinder (JF): I started home brewing in 2008 when I was in Pennsylvania. I went to Beijing in 2010 where there was a brewery called Great Leap Brewing that had just started up, and I started to work there part-time. I really liked the brewing scene, and in 2014 I decided I wanted to do my own place in Shenzhen.
I’d never been to Shenzhen before. I didn’t know the area, I didn’t have any partners. But I liked the weather. I liked the access to Hong Kong.
I arrived in April and started brewing right away. Rented some equipment from another local brewer and I would brew there on weekends. Rented a little bar in Baishizhou. It was basically a tiny storage room. There were no chairs, no bathroom. It was just somewhere I could sell my beer.
After a month, we were doing pretty well, so I got the place next door. We started to brew inside there and we had a bar. And then that was closed by November. We had won a That’s PRD Award and by the time the award ceremony was held a week later we had already been closed down. They never told us why.
I reached out to a friend of mine, Thompson, who was the owner of NYPD. He made really good pizza, and pizza and beer kind of go together. So, we co-located in another shop in Baishizhou.
That worked for a few months before it was shut down. Apparently, it wasn’t zoned for what it was meant to be. So, we spent all that money and it was closed within a few months. It was a week after our first beer festival. We were top of the world and then you have your knees kicked out from under you.
Just when I was thinking that Baishizhou was not the right place, Thompson got in touch. He had found a 100 sqm location that was legit. The police had shown it to him and he had the paperwork.
So we opened the third Bionic in Baishizhou in August 2015. And that’s where we’ve been ever since.
SZP: Bionic Brew organize Shenzhen’s original craft beer festival, Electric City, which is now in its fourth year. How did that all start and how has it grown over the years?
JF: I’d seen it done in Beijing and Shanghai. I thought it would be a good way to bring people together and show there is craft beer down here.
We had six breweries from Guangzhou, Beijing, Hong Kong, and some local guys. The same weekend there was a big Battle of the Bands and the week before they lost their venue. So we did it together. I think everyone sold out of beer. I know we did. It was only one day, but it was a good time.
We have a waiting list for breweries, but we always invite back the people who came before. We have a lot of breweries, we could have 30, but I just said let’s do 19, plus the home brewers. Last year we did 17 plus the home brewers. The year before was 14.
We need to grow slowly to ensure we have good quality breweries because you want to have someone who already has a little bit of a foothold in the market already. And also, are they legal companies? You know, I don’t want people to get sick.
I would say for those that came, 80 or 90% were foreigners. By the fourth year, it’s – same as our bar – about 50/50. Some craft beer bars are all Chinese and there are some that are all foreign. But ours is very mixed.
SZP: Every year, the top brewers from all over China descend on Shenzhen for Electric City. What breweries have you got for us this year?
JF: One of the breweries we have is a Taiwanese brewery that has a Shenzhen location. They’re called Zhang Men. We’ve got Moonzen, from Hong Kong and we’ve got Master Gao, who comes every year. He’s one of, if not the, biggest brewery in China. We just did a nice Pilsner together. Then we’ve got guys from Wuhan, Beijing, Chengdu, Dongguan, and Guangzhou.
SZP: You must get a wide range of beers at Electric City. What have been the standout beers at the festival over the years?
JF: I’ve got some new recipes in development. An Imperial Stout and a Mango Saison. The idea is to have them there, but I don’t know yet. We’re going to have our two flagship beers and a new hoppy, amber beer called Brass Neck.
I know the guys from Moonzen do some weird stuff that people like. Craft Head is known for their cider. Last year, Devils from Wuhan made a Sweet & Sour Noodle beer. 18 Brewpub made a Blonde Coffee Saison, which they won an award for in Japan.
That’s the thing, you make two that you can just pound all day, and you make two that are the beer nerds, which are high alcohol and are unique.
SZP: After a few of those beers, I’m sure our readers will have worked up a bit of an appetite. What food vendors will be at Electric City this year?
JF: We’ve got a pretty good range. We’ve got tacos from Teqo, the new spot. We’ve got Artisans pizza, who came last year. HH Gourment, who does real cheeses, sandwiches, bagels, and pizza bagels and stuff. We’ve also got this guy, Andy, who flies down every year from Beijing. He makes his own sausages and they’re delicious.
We make Chinese food too. Most people sell Western food, but we do Chinese food. Just a bit different. We start at RMB20 for a Rou Jia Mo.
SZP: Craft beer festivals have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s threatening to over-saturate the market. How does Electric City distinguish itself from other craft beer festivals?
JF: What we do that makes us unique these days is that we only have brewers that brew in China. They have to be a Chinese business and they have to use Chinese water.
That’s pretty unique because it allows for a fairly even playing field. You see most of us started from pretty much nothing, and most of us are still pretty much very tiny businesses. There’s no Vedetts or Budweisers that can drop thirty grand and kit out their tent.
Another thing is, you don’t pay for beer with tickets at our festival. You pay each brewer individually. That way, that brewery keeps all the money. Not like these guys who do tickets and take 20% off the top and pocket it. As a brewer, we don’t want that to happen. We treat the festival as we would if we were one of the guests.
Also, every beer fest in China, apart from us and one other, use disposable cups. You get one, you drink one, you throw it away, you get another. So we give a plastic cup, but it’s a thick, reusable cup, and you have to take back that same cup every time. Between the first two years and when we introduced the cup, we cut down on our trash to 1/15th of what it was.
This year, another big difference for us is we are doing three days. One of the reasons for that is that on Sunday we will give out tickets to people in F&B. Number one, if there is any leftover beer then the vendors can sell the kegs to local bars and restaurants. Two, it helps the brewers build new relationships.
Richard Craggs left a successful career to pursue his dream: to provide quality and healthy canteen food to factory workers and schoolchildren all over China. Shenzhen Party sat down with the British entrepreneur to discuss his company NomNom and his unlikely Chinese food revolution.
Richard Craggs, founder and CEO of NomNom, moved to China 12 years ago. Previously he had been a Managing Director of one of the world’s largest retail gift companies, which took him all over China sourcing and setting up new factories. It was during this time that he witnessed factory canteen meals first hand.
“I’ve visited hundreds of factories, many of them in remote locations where there was nowhere else to eat, and the food was lousy,” he said. “I love Chinese food, but the factory meals were terrible, and I was touched by the workers who constantly complained about their meals each day.
Walking away from a successful career of 20 years, Craggs pivoted 180 degrees and set about on a mission to revolutionize the food served to factory workers and schoolchildren in China. In the beginning, it was tough.
Proving The Concept Works
“I was on my own with my life savings dwindling, and now I had to prove to investors that his model could be successful in Asia. I set about purchasing two loss-making restaurants with the business model to utilize their kitchens to prepare meals for schools and factories.”
“Factory budgets can be as low as RMB6 per full meal and my supply chains at that time could never achieve that budget, so I started visiting farms and large wholesalers to bring prices down. In the meantime, I won a contract with ISNS, an international school based in Nanshan, and a small Emerson factory located in Bao’an. Although our revenue tripled, the factory canteen was losing money, and fast.”
Unwilling to compromise on quality, Craggs understood that it was possible to purchase the ingredients within budget. It did require an increase in purchasing volume by over ten times, however, and as vegetables are perishable, holding inventory was not an option.
Burning through his savings and unable to increase his factory customer base, Craggs thought outside the box. He contacted 13 other small caterers supplying factories nearby and offered to consolidate and distribute ingredients at cost so to achieve his own food cost target.
Low-budget canteen catering is one of the toughest food and beverage markets, but he had a proof of concept; RMB5.9 for a full meal that includes a meat dish, two meat & vegetable mix dishes, and vegetables with unlimited rice and soup. The meals were of restaurant quality and he was able to extract a fair margin.
Craggs then approached investors in Asia. He told them, “There are hundreds of thousands of factories in China, and they all have the same problem: lousy food and unhappy workers. If we can provide a solution for that, then this could be huge.”
The demands of the factory worker have evolved with rising wages, improving living conditions, more benefits, and further support from the government. This has trickled down into their expectations within their canteens.
Land reforms lifted production of grains like rice and wheat, and millions started to enjoy more vegetables and pork as well as want luxuries such as beef and milk. This presented challenges with production capacities in farming. As part of NomNom’s food revolution, however, they have tackled the complex supply chains and accelerated their volume requirements to drive down costs. These and other savings are added back into the meals.
Giving Back To Factory Workers
In the past, factory caterers usually served up a lousy buffet where the menu never changed. In a typical NomNom factory food court, however, they have created a variety of meal options from their Pick ‘n’ Mix Buffet, Hot Pot, Noodle Station, Steam Varieties, BBQ, Fusion Set Meals, Clay Pot Rice, and blended Japanese, Korean, and international fusion. The food courts take into account the wide range of palates given that the workers come from all over China.
“Factory workers work very hard, on minimum wages, and live away from their hometowns in isolated locations. The least we could do to support them was to provide them with a quality meal and an abundance of variety at each serving time. Let’s not forget that these workers are responsible for manufacturing almost everything we use each day. They are the unsung heroes of China’s industrial revolution, and we wish for them to enjoy our food revolution as a token of thanks,” explained Craggs.
The time and investment spent on NomNom’s supply chain bode well for their other customers as now there is additional investment that can be injected into recruiting quality chefs, training staff, introducing more automation, and other scales that help efficiencies that we can pass on to our customers in terms of quality and price.
Improving The Food Diet Of Schoolchildren
NomNom’s focus quickly migrated from factories to international schools, where parents had contacted Craggs to see if he could help with their children’s’ school meals. This led to the USD750,000 acquisition of McCawley’s Fine Foods, which was operating a number of schools in the area. It was a brave move for an early-stage catering startup, given additional funds were required to upgrade the personnel, equipment, central kitchen, and cold and hot chain delivery vehicles.
“What really burns my toast is that there are a lot of catering companies simply going through the motions without really listening to the customers. Be it the schools, the parents, or the children themselves. Listening and blending this into our expertise has helped design our recipe-managed menus that are constantly evolving. Variety had always been a core initiative to cater to the differing palates of our customers, and now we offer both an International and Chinese buffet, as well as Korean, Chinese, Vegetarian, Organic, and Premium set meals. We have recently rolled out salad bars, fruit stations, freshly baked bread for breakfast, and ensured that all our menus are handmade using only ingredients from government approved suppliers,” said Craggs.
What Does The Future Hold For NomNom?
When asked about the future, Craggs explained, “We wish to continue to support healthy and quality meals within existing budgets throughout China. The plan is to continue to expand our school, factory, and office customers in South China, and eventually further afield. We still have some exciting new projects to launch from food trucks to vending and our own delivery app for homes and offices.”
“One important part of our model is to be transparent to encourage and inspire others to join our food revolution. We strongly believe that the consumer deserves this and we wish to support the government drive to ensure food production is safe, so we can rebuild the trust the people have with food.”
“Not one caterer holds even 1% of the catering market share in China, so one must not be concerned with competition as the market is huge. The overall demand trend is there for quality for price meals. If you can put quality first and offer value, the market will come to you. We currently do not have a sales team as we have been fortunate to have the majority of our customers reach out to us directly.”
International Awards and Recognition
The NomNom food revolution has been well-received in the market with phenomenal progress over the past two years. NomNom serves high profile international and local office cafeterias, provides for multiple factory food courts, and has become the largest international school caterer in South China. All of which has resulted in being nominated for the prestigious British Business Awards in two categories; Company of The Year and Entrepreneur Of The Year for their founder, Richard Craggs.
With international recognition and with more and more businesses and schools signing up, NomNom’s food revolution is just getting started.
Check out the video below to see just how the food revolution is sweeping over the canteens of schools, offices, and factories all over South China.
Office workers queue eagerly at a canteen catered by NomNom
NomNom’s state of the art, High Tech Central Kitchen in Nanshan
NomNom’s Factory Food Court Concept designed to upgrade the lives of workers across China
The saying goes that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. We only appreciate something for what it was worth after it’s no longer there. But sometimes it comes back, just when you thought it was gone forever, allowing you to appreciate it for what it was all along. That’s what happened recently with Giglio La Pizza and their authentic and much-loved Italian cuisine.
Giglio La Pizza came to occupy a special place in the hearts of food lovers in the city. Over four years, the homely neighborhood pizzeria atmosphere combined with freshly baked pizzas and authentic pasta made it a hit with expats and locals alike. So much so that the restaurant was recognized as the Pizza of the Year at the 2017 That’s Shenzhen Food & Drink Awards.
Earlier this year, however, it appeared that Giglio La Pizza would relocate from Shenzhen, leaving all us pizza lovers broken heartened. Finally, the restaurant did change from Giglio La Pizza to Tea Love You and the décor was completely renovated. You would be forgiven for not recognizing it as where Giglio La Pizza once was, but inside you can still find the same award-winning pizzas and pasta. In fact, it’s better than ever before.
Tea Love You offers a wide selection of coffee, tea, and fruit drinks as well as a small bakery, but by taking a quick look at the menu, you will still find the dishes that made Giglio La Pizza so well-loved in the first place.
There are classic appetizers like Affettati Misti, homemade paninis such as Panino Bella Italia and Panino Col Tonno, a range of pasta including Penne Al Salmone and Orecchiette Fantasia, and old favorite Tagliata Di Manzo. But I must admit, my eye is drawn to the pizzas. They were what made me fall for Giglio La Pizza the first time around.
Getting a good pizza in China can be hard. I mean, a really good pizza. But when a pizza is done right. When the proper oven is used, when the restaurant goes to the lengths to source the ingredients, and most importantly, when it’s prepared by a chef who understands the culture and knows what he is doing, then a good pizza takes some beating.
With that in mind, we order two pizzas based on the chef’s recommendation. The Capricciosa, tomato sauce, mozzarella, salami, olives, ham, mushrooms, and the Prosciutto E Funghi, tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms. The moment they come out of the kitchen, it is clear from the way they look alone that these are real pizzas. You know how you imagine a slice tastes like when you are really craving a pizza? That’s how it tastes at Tea Love You by Giglio.
After eating more slices of pizza than I care to admit, the two kinds of pasta we ordered arrived; the Penne Al Salmone and the Orecchiette Fantasia. I try the Orecchiette Fantasia, round pasta with sausage, and it tastes just like I imagine it would in the Old Country. But it’s the Penne Al Salmone that really impresses, and again it begins with the quality ingredients. It’s worth coming back to Tea Love You by Giglio again and again solely for that salmon pasta dish.
Tea Love You might be well-known for their tea and fruit drinks, but you can still grab a beer. The restaurant is well-stocked with La Chouffe and Vedett on draft and the likes of Paulaner and Fire Stone by the bottle. And just like any true Italian establishment, diners can enjoy a Spritz cocktail and Limoncello and Amaro as a digestif.
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, but sometimes you get a second chance. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy award-winning pizza and pasta at Tea Love You by Giglio.
There are few cuisines that are more celebrated or held in such regard as French cuisine. At the same time, connoisseurs have high expectations of what they expect from a French restaurant. To truly be considered a French restaurant, let alone, a top one, the establishment is held to a standard like few other restaurants. Shenzhen Party spoke with decorated French chef, Sebastien Bourgeois, about the very top French restaurants in Shenzhen.
Visit the French Culinary Institution that is La Maison
I have been living in Shenzhen for more than 10 years and as a Disciples Escoffier, I am always looking for new places to try French cuisine. As an epicure, I have taken great interest in La Maison because it’s a fantastic place to spend time with friends and family.
La Maison is the oldest French restaurant in Shenzhen and has remained in the same location since its opening. It is unquestionably a wonderful location and its new design has made the restaurant more spacious, perfect for small events or group gatherings. At night, one can enjoy the terrace in comfort with the fans providing a cool and refreshing breeze.
Not only is the ambiance wonderful, but the food has made a great impression on me also. My friend and I had the chance to enjoy the pâté and a finger food tray. The pâté is fresh and delicious – exactly how the French like it – and the portion size is suitable for two to three people. The finger food boasts a creative Mediterranean style and offers a varied aroma and taste. The marriage of complimentary flavors offers a delightful insight into French cuisine.
My friend ordered the meal of the day for the main dish. That day it was quiche as the starter and poulet basquaise as the main dish. The quiche came as a generous portion and the thin crust, soft texture, and well-beaten eggs made it perfectly light. I highly recommend this flavorful and delightful dish. The poulet basquaise was very tender and boneless. The boiled potatoes in this dish were a little spicy, which may be of interest to Chinese who like a bit of spice. Furthermore, if you do not find the dish to be spicy enough, you can ask for more spice to be added.
My main dish was an original crepe, where instead of the ingredients being inside of the dough, I was pleased to find they were placed on top. This allows for the taste of the entire crepe to remain as natural as possible. Like pizza and sushi, the crepe is a traditionally inexpensive dish that has become famous all around the world. In this case, my crepe contained salmon, lettuce, arugula, and cabbage.
For dessert, we ordered the crème brûlée, which has always been my favorite dessert. I was very satisfied with this dish and my only regret was that I did not ask for a bigger portion!
The overall service at La Maison was very efficient and engaging. The waiters followed the Western standard of bringing everyone’s food at the same time and taking away the empty dishes at the same time. The young staff are friendly and the French chef, Jean Baptiste Louis, is always on hand to give recommendations according to the patron’s desired flavors.
We went during lunchtime and the wait for our meal was short. Prices are in the mid-range and very affordable when compared to some of the other restaurants in Seaworld. La Maison is a great family place. It also has a long bar, where you will find foreigners meeting like the French do in a brasserie.
La Maison has recently undergone renovations and to celebrate the new look they will be hosting an Opening Party on Friday October 19th. The theme of the party will be “Back to the 80s” and will start at 6 PM. There will be free flow on selected drinks and canapés. Additionally, there will be free flow on selected drinks and canapes and from 8 PM their chef Jean will be preparing some special delicacies for everyone to enjoy. The night will be full of surprises with games, live music, and a DJ to keep you dancing until late into the night.
In the nearly 1,000 square meter restaurant of l’étoile, tables are draped with cream linen table clothes and romantically lit by candles. Be it for lunch or dinner, dining here with a loved one is an experience you will not soon forget.
If you prefer some privacy, l’étoile offers you private themed rooms gently lit by chandeliers and decorated with hand-painted walls and ceilings of three of the most well-known landmarks in Paris; the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Palace of Versailles. The food served at l’étoile matches the exquisiteness, the beauty, and the quintessential Frenchness of these iconic places in France.
The kitchen team is led by Christian Tetedoie, who holds a resume with which few can compare. He is the President of the Master Chefs in France, recipient of a Michelin star in 2000, and knighted in the Legion of Honour in 2006. Unlike many other chefs, Tetedoie wears no hat. Instead, he’s decorated with a medal with ribbons in the tricolor of France. The award is for the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France”, which is awarded every four years to the best craftsmen in France.
Diners can watch Tetedoie and his team in the open kitchen doing what they love most. It is here they offer up their interpretation of some of the most iconic French dishes.
The onion soup at restaurant l’etoile is made in the traditional French way. The French usually enjoy this very sweet dish late at night. Due to the type of onions used in this dish, the soup has a sugary taste. Additionally, the cheese is well-grilled.
The snail is an exceptionally sweet dish and the emulsion, made of garlic and snail butter, is extremely flavorful. This dish arrives with impeccable presentation while the mini-salad adds a great deal of freshness.
The fresh goat cheese is HOMEMADE. The characteristically strong taste of goat cheese makes this dish the perfect starter to get the taste buds excited for the meal ahead.
The sea bass fillet is grilled just to perfection and succulently tender. It is complemented on the plate with fresh baby carrots and veggies.
The chicken with vinegar and tomato arrives alongside macaroni gratin. The dish is a rare dining experience indeed. The chicken is well-roasted with a subtle spice originating from the vinegar.
The pistachio and citrus fruit dessert is best enjoyed in small bites with each seemingly more delightful than the last. Our favorite dessert dish, however, is the rhubarb cake, which has really quite incredible presentation.
Christian Tetedoie’s desire to open a kitchen and share his love of gastronomy is what led to the creation of l’étoile. Do not miss the opportunity to savor this rare fine-dining experience from a true master chef. Pay a visit to l’étoile and sample French cuisine as it was always intended.
Address: 302-303, Building A, OCT Ecological Square, Nanshan District, Shenzhen (深圳市南⼭山区沙河街道华侨城⽣生态⼴广场 A 栋302、303房)
Food lovers of Shenzhen, take note. For two nights only from the 2nd to 3rd of November, the InterContinental Shenzhen plays host to Michelin-Star Chef, David Guzman. In what proves to be a unique dining experience, Guzman’s fusion of Spanish and Chinese cuisine will be complemented by a mesmerizing Flamenco performance. Shenzhen Party spoke with InterContinental Shenzhen to discover more about one of the city’s culinary events of the year.
Savor the culinary showcase from a Michelin star chef
It’s a cause for celebration when a Michelin-star chef graces us foodies with their presence in Shenzhen, and David Guzman Chinese-influenced interpretation of Spanish cuisine is certainly worth getting excited about.
At the age of just 26, Guzman became Executive Chef of the Michelin-starred Koldo Royo. Located on the beautiful island of Mallorca, Koldo Royo has gathered a reputation as one of the best spots to dine in all of Spain and food lovers from all over Europe travel to experience what the restaurant has to offer. It was at Koldo Royo that Guzman mastered his craft.
Over the years, Guzman has cultivated a clear and distinctive style that is truly his own. He soaks in everything around him and expresses it in his dishes. As the chef says himself, “You can learn a lot of skills at school, but the real creation is from life. What you see, what you eat, what you hear: everything can be a source of inspiration.”
It is this philosophy that has led Guzman to prepare a culinary showcase that is not to be missed. For Guzman, he wanted to combine the traditional elements of Spain and of China, and from them create something entirely new, fresh, and exciting.
He explored the Chinese traditions of Yin and Yang, and studied Wu Xing, the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Those five elements of Chinese culture have been expressed in his unique presentation of Spanish dishes. From water in the Scallop Ceviche on Sea Rocks, to fire with the Fire-Roasted Salmon, and metal in the gold and silver display of the Angus Beef.
The five-course meal of Spanish dishes takes diners on a journey through the Chinese culture of Wu Xing. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the live performance. Speaking of which…
Enjoy a gourmet feast paired with a stunning flamenco performance
Just as David Guzman has prepared a tour through the five elements through a five-star dining experience, two flamenco dancers have created five original dance choreographies based on Wu Xing. As the evening develops, the food and the dancing become as one as they tell the story of the five elements.
Relax in the elegant dining surroundings of Pipette
What better setting to host this coming together of food and dance than InterContinental Shenzhen’s Pipette French Restaurant. The fine dining restaurant is no stranger to Michelin-starred chefs and is the perfect location for David Guzman to showcase his latest creations.
Pipette means “wine straw” in French, and the establishment certainly lives up to its name. As well as a five-star service team, it also boasts an award-winning sommelier, who will be selecting the finest wines to pair with the courses from the 5,000 or so bottles in the restaurant’s collection.
Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a Michelin star experience like no other
Between the unique five-course meal from the Michelin-starred David Guzman, the quite simply stunning flamenco performance, and the class surroundings of Pipette, there really will be only one place for any lover of food to be on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd November.
With such a limited run and a high demand for tickets, it is recommended that any foodie that’s wants to be part of this special event to contact Pipette for a reservation at 0755-3399-3388.
Date: Friday, November 2nd & Saturday, November 3rd
Earlier this year at Shenzhen Airport, Hyatt Regency opened their first ever airport hotel in the Asia-Pacific region. Although focused on amenities and service, it would be more accurate to say it is a five-star hotel in an airport than an airport hotel.
Shenzhen Party sat down with the hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Billy Yap. During a fascinating evening, Mr. Yap shared with us his vision for Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport and told the story of his career in hotel management.
Shenzhen Party: Why is now the right moment to open an airport hotel in Shenzhen?
Billy Yap: The Shenzhen Airport Group signed the contract with the Hyatt Hotel Group for Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, and Hyatt Regency. They are the first owner to sign three brands in one location.
Shenzhen Airport is looking to improve their overall image as an international airport in the region. They are looking into increasing their international flights. That’s where the Hyatt Regency hotel brand comes in. They require an international five-star hotel that provides and maintain a consistent service to international and domestic guests.
Shenzhen Party: What can guests expect in terms of restaurants and features from the Hyatt Regency?
Billy Yap: Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport is not an airport hotel. We are a hotel located in an airport.
This hotel is designed to fulfill many features. One of the features is the F&B requirement. We have two main restaurants. One is Xiang Yue, which is our Chinese Cantonese restaurant, and the other is our all-dining restaurant we call The Market Café.
Xiang Yue is our signature Restaurant, offering authentic Guangdong cuisine to our international and domestic guests who wish to have a taste of local cuisine when they arrive in Shenzhen. Our local guests from nearby offices in Bao’an district will queue up for our famous homemade Dim Sum during lunch time. Xiang Yue has ten private rooms, which offer an exclusive private dining experience for business partners
Market Café offers a wide selection of international items. Our grilled lobster, steak and lamb, and not forgetting our famous durian pizza, are dishes that come highly recommended by our guests. Fresh seafood items combined with a mixture of local varieties of Cantonese, Sichuan, South East Asian, and Japanese food make our Market Café one of the most popular dining venues in Shenzhen Airport. Guest can dine at the Market Café and walk to the departure hall to take their flight.
We are located in the Bao’an area, where there is only one other international hotel. Our restaurants are perfect for locals to have the opportunity not only to dine but to socialize and network.
Shenzhen Party: How will Hyatt Regency distinguish itself from other airport hotels in the area?
Billy Yap: This hotel is built and designed for many purposes. We have F&B outlets, which is able to cater for various international and local guests dining preferences. We have huge banquet facilities, which include a 1,680 sqm ballroom with six multi-purpose function rooms and a beautiful 4,600 sqm outdoor area, located on the 5th floor. These facilities make Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport the top choice in Bao’an for guests coming for meetings, business, or just for a trip. Currently, none of the hotels nearby can match our hotel facilities.
A lot of people are coming to Shenzhen for exhibitions, to socialize, or for a stopover to Macau, Hong Kong, and Guangdong. This hotel is a perfect gateway to all these international cities.
For business meetings, it’s the perfect location because it only takes eight minutes to walk from the arrival hall to the hotel. For organizers, they do not need to arrange any transportation and they can significantly reduce their costs.
Cross-border buses to Hong Kong and Guangzhou are located in the same terminal. All delegates have the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong or Guangzhou after their meeting. Guest can also take the free shuttle bus to Fuyong Ferry Terminal if they decided to go to Macau.
We also have incentive travel groups that stay over for one night in our hotel followed by a breakfast briefing session before they take a ferry from Fuyong Ferry Terminal to go to Hong Kong International Airport for an overseas incentive trip. By doing this, the group will save more costs as hotel accommodation in Shenzhen is cheaper compared to Hong Kong.
Shenzhen Party: You have over 18 years’ experience in the hotel industry working in various roles, including 12 years of experience in China. What do you believe you bring to the Hyatt Regency in terms of experience? How did your challenges in China vary from region to region?
Billy Yap: I started my hotel career when I was 34 years old in 2000 with Grand Hyatt Singapore.
To start at the age of 34 is not easy. I spent my first six months working 10 to 14 hours a day, 8 to 10 hours on getting business, at least 4 hours a day learning the Delphi system. Grand Hyatt Singapore gave me a good foundation. I’m so proud to say that I never fell out of the top three in sales performance during my time with the greatest catering team that I have ever known.
Subsequently, I moved to the Four Seasons Singapore in 2002, where I was one of the highest paid sales managers in the whole of Singapore.
In 2005, I joined Orchard Hotel as Director of Catering and managed to reorganize the entire catering team with creative ideas and a positive sales approach. In nine months, I managed to lead the catering to achieve the highest catering revenue since the hotel opened.
In 2006, I saw a great development in hotels in China. When I decided to pursue my career in China, I said to my Singapore friends, “I wish to become GM in seven years.” They all laughed. Nobody believed me. My friend said, “You are a mad guy.”
My first career opportunity in China was with Hyatt Regency Hangzhou. I took up the offer as Director of Events in 2006 without knowing how to speak Chinese and what’s worse, I am allergic to alcohol. How does a salesperson survive in China without knowing how to read Chinese, without knowing how to write Chinese, and without knowing how to drink?
The language became my biggest obstacle, and the new culture became a challenge. Instead of asking my team members to learn English and do things according to the Singapore standard, I made a decision to learn to speak Chinese to improve the overall internal communication and make changes to the overall procedures to enhance the team effectiveness.
I implemented a lot of new ideas and events concepts with my team in Hangzhou. I made a lot of changes in how event sales and planning, which resulted in record events revenue for the hotel.
During the economic crisis in 2008, I was transferred to Hyatt Regency Dongguan as Director of Sales & Marketing. The hotel opened in 2006, and after more than two years it had low occupancy. My key focus was to bring in more business for the entire hotel including room and F& B outlets. There were so many creative and great ideas that we implemented during that time. We managed to propel through the crisis with excellent results and continue to hold the No.1 position in Dongguan market until today.
After a great achievement in turning around Hyatt Regency Dongguan, I was given an opportunity to transfer to Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort & Spa as pre-opening Director of Sales & Marketing in 2010. It was another tough property because the hotel was located in the middle of nowhere. After successfully opening the hotel, I make a bold decision to request a change in my portfolio to room division to gain more operations experience. Due to my excellent performance, I was promoted to Hotel Manager in 2013.
My biggest career breakthrough was in 2015 when I was offered the General Manager position for Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency Changbaishan; a cluster GM for an international resort owned by the Wanda Group. There were six other hotels with three different hotel brands in the same location. My biggest inspiration and support came from my beloved wife. She was the one that wrote all the reasons why I should take up the offer. The initial few months were the toughest of my hotel life.
As General Manager, you have to make almost every final decision, and you will be accountable for all those decisions. Generating the revenue and meeting budget was my key focus at the same time building a good relationship with the owner was equally important. I had to spend endless hours to work with my team members setting the goals and direction for them to move forward as a team in a challenging market environment. Out of 12 months, only five months were peak business. The rest of the time, the hotel had less than 5% occupancy per day.
I always said to my team that nothing is impossible if we have the right attitude and positive thinking. The team’s hard work and dedication resulted in a great achievement in all areas, which included record-high revenue, the best guest satisfaction results, and the lowest associates’ turnover. The great achievement in Changbaishan will always remain in my memory because of what we did. We became the King of Changbaishan Mountain.
Due to my son’s education, I asked to transfer out of Changbaishan. In March 2017, I moved to Shenzhen to be responsible for the pre-opening of Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport, but it was not easy because it’s the first Hyatt Regency airport hotel in Asia-Pacific. As I always said, nothing is impossible.
I told my friends and colleagues, I conquered three lakes (West Lake in Hangzhou, Songshan Lake in Dongguan, and Dongqian Lake in Ningbo), one forest (Changbaishan), and now I have an airport, to fly me to the final destination.
Shenzhen Party: The Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport is the first Hyatt Regency airport hotel in the Asia Pacific region. Does it give extra motivation to make the Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport a success?
Billy Yap: An airport hotel is different compared to resort and business hotels. We don’t have a good idea about how an airport hotel is going to be. During the pre-opening, we started to collate all the flight information, do a lot of surveys in nearby hotels and their operations. We compiled all the data for analysis so that we can come up with the right strategies for this hotel.
After operating for the first three months, we are ahead for our room budget, but we were over-confident about our F&B. We believed that the F&B business will improve with the support from local residents in Bao’an. The product is well-known. People accept our reasonable pricing because they know we offer quality product and services. I have seen the upwards business trend both for rooms and F&B segment. I have this confidence that by the end of this year, our business projection will be more accurate.
Shenzhen Party: How important is the way you treat your staff in creating the correct kind of culture and atmosphere at the hotel?
Billy Yap: In line with our Hyatt purpose, we CARE for our people so that they can be their best. During the orientation, I say, “I need to provide the best accommodation for my staff, the best food for my staff, and the best social life for my staff. As these three elements are linked to guests’ expectation. Good hotel room, good food and places to visit in Shenzhen. My associates will have an open mindset, a good attitude, and provide sincere service. When they talk to the guest, they will be sincere in their service and genuinely care for our guests.
During the recruitment, there was a slogan that we used, “If you dare to dream, we will make your dream come true.” I hope to provide a platform for all my associates to develop their career.
Shenzhen Party: What can we expect in the near future from the Hyatt Regency?
Billy Yap: This hotel is not just a hotel. It’s a great facility that the owner has designed, be it for business, socializing, or for families.
I have many ideas for the future. One of the ideas is to create a program for couples with children. This program will allow the couple to have a nice high tea or a romantic dinner together while providing a safe educational program for their children. Such as a tour of the airport to learn more about how it works or a water painting class for the children and allow their paintings to hang in selected areas in the hotel. Every time they come back, they can see their artwork. These are only some ideas that we hope that to offer to our guests to allow them to be more engaged with our hotel.
Shenzhen Party: How do you predict that Shenzhen Airport will grow in the coming years? And also, how will Shenzhen as a city develop?
Billy Yap: In the hotel industry, there’s going to be many developments. Next year, there will be 900 new room keys coming up from various hotel brands. The new exhibition center in Bao’an will create more opportunities, but at the same time will create more competition.
To stay as one of the top hotels in the Shenzhen Airport area, we need to know what are our guests’ preferences and requirements are. We need to continue to provide quality services and sincerely CARE for our guests. We will try to provide the best experience to all our guests.
For Shenzhen Airport, there are certainly more plans for runway expansions and increasing international flights. If you look at the departure and arrival halls, they are revamping the whole airport.
They are bringing in more high-quality brands to the terminal itself. In my personal opinion, with all the improvements Shenzhen Airport wish to provide quality and consistent guest services. With the ongoing airport expansion, it will definitely position Shenzhen as a vibrant city with top-class transportation infrastructure.
The Shenzhen Ultimate Players Association (SZUPA) is a club of like-minded Expat and Chinese players that enjoy the sport Ultimate Frisbee. Our goal is to spread the word about our sport and popularize it in Shenzhen and in China. Since 2008, through tireless effort, we’ve worked to bring Ultimate Frisbee to the attention of people in the city through organizing tournaments, dinner events, beach trips, and free demos to teach new players. Our events have been featured online, on TV, and in newspapers and magazines such as Shenzhen Daily and That’s PRD.
What is Ultimate Frisbee?
Ultimate Frisbee is a popular team sport played in many high schools and colleges in the US. First created in 1968 in New Jersey, the sport has spread all over the world.
It is a non-contact co-ed sport played on a field similar to an American Football or Rugby field. Two 7-player teams start on opposite sides of the field. The game starts by one team throwing the disc to the opposing team and running to the other side of the field to defend them. The receiving team will have one person catch the disc or go pick it up where it’s landed and from that point on, any person who is holding the disc can no longer run until after they’ve passed the disc.
The disc can be passed forward or backward in any direction but when passing, a thrower must keep his left leg planted in the ground and can pivot on his foot like in basketball. The person holding the disc now will be defended by one person and have 10 seconds to pass the disc to another player on his team. The way to score is to move the disc by passing to players on your team up the field and catch the disc in an end zone. The team with the most points at the end of play wins.
I’m just a beginner. Is that OK?
Our club has players of all levels and we are very welcoming to anyone that wants to give it a shot. We know it can be a little scary to jump into something completely new.
This club was started with only about five people that were also relatively new to the sport. We played and practiced together and as our group grew, we improved. We’re always getting new and experienced players to join and we’re always helping each other to get better and have a good time.
Is it all just practicing?
While we do practice part of the time, we always have playing time at every training, which is referred to as ‘Pickup’. We’ll split into teams and compete against each other for at least an hour after training.
When and where do we play?
On Tuesdays, we usually play at the Yunding field at Shuiwei in Futian.This is usually our League night. Leagues can run from 4-12 weeks and are seasonal. Between leagues, we sometimes meet to play at other fields depending on how many people are available.
Fridays are our Training night at the Weixin field at Keyuan in Nanshan.We split into two-three groups, and each group is taught based on their level. In the last hour of the night, we form teams and scrimmage against each other.
On Sundays, we meet near Happy Valley amusement park for Pickup. This is where we just split into teams and scrimmage each other. We don’t even keep score usually.
Additionally, we host tournaments like the Shenzhen Beach Hat and have scrimmages with teams from nearby cities.
Shenzhen Beach Hat 2017 Highlights Video
What do I need to bring?
A dark-colored shirt and a white shirt: To split people into teams each week, we need everyone to bring both a dark-colored shirt and a white shirt.We also sell our reversible club jersey, which is used for our weekly activities, tournaments and league. If you would like to purchase one, please contact Jeff on WeChat at ‘SZultimate’.
Cleats (football shoes with plastic spikes): Cleats provide you with the ability to stop exactly when you want to and change direction quickly. The spikes need to be plastic as metal spikes are not allowed due to safety concerns. Sneakers are allowed, but when it rains it can be very slippery. If you choose to wear sneakers, you do so at your own risk and the SZUPA is not responsible for any related injury.
Frisbee: We can lend you a disc if you don’t have one, but we suggest you purchase one through Jeff. This way the club’s supply of discs last longer and you can also practice and have fun throwing a disc on your own time.
Also consider bringing a water bottle, mosquito spray, and sunblock.
Are there social activities too?
Absolutely! All work and no play makes for a boring time. After League games and training nights, we usually go for beer and food at a local sponsor’s bar, where we typicallyhave an exclusive deal for us. We also organize special events like beach trips, movie nights, board game nights, beer pong, flip cup, potluck dinners and picnics, and all kinds of fun stuff.These events are open to the public as well as we always want people to enjoy, support, and maybe even join the club.
How do I join?
Most activities run by the SZUPA are organized through WeChat. To join our group, add ‘SZultimate’ and Jeff will add you to the chat. You should also add ‘SZUPA’ to follow our official account.
Messages are generally sent out in our WeChat group 2-3 days before weekly activities. Special events are usually promoted 1-2 weeks beforehand while our bigger special events 1-2 months in advance.
Check out our website www.SZultimate.com for directions and up to date info on current activities run by the SZUPA.
Shenzhen Stories is a community of people from all over the world who get together once a month to share their stories. These stories come from all walks of life and are told in a coffee shop snuggled in the Shekou neighborhood of Shenzhen.
Shenzhen Stories was founded by two buddies, Trey Hobbs and Siobhan Lumsden, directly in response to a feeling of being far from home and away from a community.
Shenzhen is a stirred pot of countless cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences. The nature of this city is one of diversity and growth and those things make for colorful lives lived. However, all the business, all the growth, and all the change lend itself to a certain amount of transience. Shenzhen Stories seeks to create a space for a permanent sense of community in a fast moving world.
The mission statement of Shenzhen Stories is simple: to foster an international community through the art of storytelling. This has taken shape in the form of traditional oral storytelling, dance, music, visual art, and everything in between. Month after month, the stage is filled with humor, grief, the curious, and the downright bizarre.
No matter what though, the stories told are absolutely true. In ten minutes, storytellers share micro-moments of their life to a room full of friends and strangers alike with the goal that, in the end, there are a few more friends than strangers. It is amazing to see people from all walks of life hear a story from someone so different from them and be able to see themselves in that story. It is these little bits of empathy that truly build bridges. Through fostering this community, Shenzhen Stories hopes to cultivate that ideology as people travel throughout the world.
Throughout the nearly two years of hosting stories, one thing stands out above all things. Honesty. Shenzhen Stories has been honored to partner with other great organizations throughout Shenzhen for special events and workshops. This has allowed them to reach both the local and international communities and has given them access to a plethora of interesting stories. In these workshops, tools are presented to increase skill, structure, and confidence when sharing, but when asked in these workshops what makes for a great story, the answer is always the same: honesty. Month after month, it is clearer and clearer that audiences are drawn to truth.
It is refreshing and quite often life is indeed stranger than fiction. The Shenzhen Stories stage has heard stories of marriages born from devastating natural disasters, close calls with cults, clandestine cats, and breast implants being blown away in the wind. It has heard life viewed through our pets, through disastrous earthquakes, loss of loved ones, and the discovery of family previously hidden. Like no kidding! There have been stories told over and over again about reuniting with lost family members.
It’s these stories that walk past us every day on the street and sit next to us on the bus. The world is a crazy place and it’s full of people who have lived exciting and wonderful lives. Shenzhen Stories believes that if we can understand where a person has come from, we can understand that person.
Seeing the world through a person’s eyes doesn’t just validate their experience though. It validates those hearing it as well. The audience has a chance to see themselves in these stories. To see a world both different and also familiar in these stories is where, as a society, we thrive. We thrive when we express ourselves. We thrive when we connect to others and join in a community.
For our ancestors, it used to mean survival and I’m not sure that has changed so much for us in 2018. But also, it’s just plain fun! It is really a thrill to walk in another’s shoes and for a short time look down and see that even though we have walked in much different landscapes, our shoes don’t look so different. It’s fascinating to hear an amazing true tale of adventure, pain, joy, or the bizarre and be able to say “me too”.
So why tell our stories in a coffee shop surrounded by friends and strangers? Why spill your guts for a podcast to be listened to by people around the world? The answer may be as simple as for fun and as huge as for survival. Whatever the answer is for you, Shenzhen Stories aims to create a safe platform for where every person and every story has worth and value and where we can all have a great time doing it.
How to get in touch
Shenzhen Stories meets every month in Shekou. For more information, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on social media @shenzhenstories.
To listen to your fellow humans, find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud by searching ‘shenzhenstories’.
Have an idea for a new product, but still looking for that final push to take a leap of faith? Been working on a prototype, but need some input from a mechanical engineer or industrial designer? Perhaps you just need a space where you can be surrounded by like-minded individuals and have access to workshops? If so, then become part of something today. Become part of Trouble Maker.
What is Trouble Maker?
Trouble Maker is a product development community spread across multiple countries, with several locations here in Shenzhen. Headquartered in Huaqiangbei – the electronics market of the world -, it is home to a broad family including Industrial Designers, Mechanical Engineers, Electronic Engineers, Firmware Developers, Software Developers, Package Designers, Graphic Designers, to name just a few.
Why become a member?
Access to maker labs and co-working spaces
When you become a member of Trouble Maker, you gain 24/7 access to the community’s facilities. As well as shared community rooms, there are two maker space workshops plus a laser cutter room, which the team at Trouble Maker refer to as laboratories.
Connect with a team of specialists with all types of backgrounds
When you join Trouble Maker, you are connecting with an extensive network of specialists in a variety of different fields. Known around the maker space as Gurus, these experts are based in the same location and are on hand to help with projects.
Maybe you need a Project Manager to liaise with your engineers or the factory while you are away on a trip? Perhaps you are looking for a Packaging Designer to make your product stand out? At Trouble Maker, you can find a Guru with the right expertise and experience.
Wide-ranging support to develop your start-up
Setting up and running a start-up is hard work anywhere, let alone China. Trouble Maker is there to give you the support you need every step of the way.
Whether it is registering a business, applying for a patent, or seeking trademark protection, Trouble Maker can share their experience. Through their network, you can apply for government grants, receive crowdfunding, and establish retail channels with local online and offline markets.
Take part in regular workshops and training
On top of that, Trouble Maker provides workshops and training for individuals, groups, and schools. Below is just a taste of the kind of events that the team can arrange:
Investor speak – Pick up the language of VC’s and investors.
Valuating my start-up – Get funded by understanding your value.
Laser cutting – Learn to prototype fast and safe with a laser cutter.
School events including robot building and PCB assembling.
Become part of the Trouble Maker network
When you join Trouble Maker, you aren’t only becoming part of the community at Huaqiangbei. You are joining a much wider network.
There are established locations in Bao’an and Longgang, where you can take your product from prototype to production. While in Norway and Germany there are growing maker communities, where you can connect with the kind of people that can progress your project.
Be in control of your project every step of the way
Usually, when you want to develop a new product in China, you need to give over some control of your project to the manufacturer or a design house to create a prototype. But when you are part of Trouble Maker, you can keep that control.
Here, you are on the ground developing your project by yourself. If you need a Mechanical Engineer or an Industrial Designer, then you can find them in the co-working space. You can refine your design and you can create that prototype, but you are still directly in control of what is happening. The project does not go to a third-party and you can see every step of the process.
How to join Trouble Maker
It’s simple. To find out more about Trouble Maker, get in touch with Henk, one of the co-founders and manager. You can find him on WeChat at ‘Protopro’ or by scanning the QR code below. He will be happy to answer any of your questions or arrange a tour of the maker space so you can see more.
A friend once told me that all you need for the perfect evening is a good view and good company to share it with. Sat in The Penthouse on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen surrounded by friends, I look out over the city and can’t help but wonder if this is what he meant.
If my friend was right and all you need is a good view and good company, then I’m sure he would love The Penthouse, but that’s not all this bar has to offer.
As I exit the elevator and enter The Penthouse, it becomes clear quite quickly that this is no ordinary bar in a hotel.
The first thing you notice is the view, and what a view it is. From the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen, visitors at The Penthouse have a stunning night view of the city. Looking out from one side, you can see all across Luohu, and from the other side you can see out over the border into Hong Kong.
The layout and design of the bar opens up naturally, encouraging visitors to enjoy whatever kind of evening they had in mind. The rectangular bar in the middle of the room offers plenty of seating for those who like to mix with the staff and other guests. Walk down from the bar area and you will find it opens into a wider space with larger tables for those coming in with a group. Explore the bar more and you will find cozy corners that are perfect for those on a date.
As I settle into the evening, I get the sense that The Penthouse is focused on doing what it does well. The attention of detail and demand for quality is evident in everything the bar does.
The cocktail menu reads as a who’s who of the best classic and modern concoctions. After I try the Negroni, I would be hard pressed to think of a place off the top of my head that does it better.
Moving on to the spirits selection is like flicking through the greatest hits of Scotch and Japanese whiskey. With around 70 bottles of whiskey it’s plenty and those that they have are the ones worth having. Any bar that has Hibiki 21 Years or Laphroaig 25 Years has a damn good whiskey collection in my book.
When it comes to the music, the playlist has been carefully chosen and the volume has been set just right. It’s like the perfect guest. It keeps the night moving along, but is never too loud or outstays its welcome.
Recently, The Penthouse has been inviting more and more international DJs to perform. The well-balanced mix of pop classics and chill out dance that I hear on the evening I am there creates an atmosphere while guests are still able to relax and talk to one another.
Although The Penthouse is a bar first and foremost, it would be a great disservice not to dedicate some time to describe the dishes that can be ordered from the kitchen. The bar has a teppanyaki station and kitchen that stays open late into the night for whenever you feel peckish.
After trying a Whiskey Sour or two you may feel like ordering the Iberico Belotta Ham. If you are celebrating and have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin opened, then you might want to add some Irish Oysters draped in Champagne Mignonette and Lemon.
What really impresses about the kitchen at The Penthouse is the creativity in the dishes. The chefs have taken classic items you might expect to find in a bar and reimagined them as something that is fresh and new.
The Tuna Sashimi Tacos combines the best of Japanese and Mexican cuisine, adding the freshest tuna and wasabi mayonnaise to the classic taco shell. The Australian Wagyu Beef and Seared Foie Gras Mini Burgers are quite simply the best sliders I’ve ever had. It is hard going back to regular burgers after you take that first bite and the beef and foie gras melts in your mouth.
They say you should always start as you mean to go on. That could be said to be equally true of a night on the town. In that case, make a statement of intent and start your evening at The Penthouse.
Whether you are showing clients around town and you stop in to share a bottle of single malt or you might just want a place to relax over a glass of red and take in the view. You may be out with friends to celebrate a birthday and you want to start the night somewhere memorable over a couple of bottles of prosecco.
Whatever the occasion, start your night in style at The Penthouse and, if the mood takes you, you may find you end it there too.
Address: 38th Floor, Grand Hyatt Shenzhen, 1881 Bao’an Nan Road, Luohu, Shenzhen (中国深圳市罗湖区宝安南路1881号, 深圳君悦酒店38层)
As Shenzhen continues to boom with young entrepreneurs and start-ups, Bee+ is opening their second co-working space in Futian. What separates Bee+ from other shared working spaces is its real emphasis on the social side and to creating a genuine sense of the community.
As well as offering working spaces, Bee+ have an impressively stocked café and a draft craft beer range to rival most bars in town. The organizers are very proactive too in hosting events with a wide and eclectic mix of things going on including beer tasting nights, dancing classes, and wine and cheese nights,
The Bee+ approach is certain to attract the young and entrepreneurial types in the city. It’s a very organic way to connect people together who otherwise may never have met.
Bee+ appears to be on the rise with partnerships already secured with global corporation such as Calvin Klein, BNP Paribas, Colgate, and Orange. As it establishes itself in Shenzhen further, that list is sure to grow.
Address: Bee+ Shenzhen, Fortune Building Space, No. 88 Fu Hua San Road, Futian, Shenzhen
There’s just something special about Friday nights. It’s a time when everyone is able to let loose, have fun, and express themselves. There’s no better place to do so than Salsa Night at Mr. Wong. All the energy bunnies out there can come to recharge their batteries and get their sexy groove on with Latin dance lovers and newcomers.
Hosted at Hilton Shenzhen Futian, Salsa Night is a come-one-come-all for dancing professionals and beginners alike. There’s always a spot saved for you every Friday night.
Each Friday evening begins with a class held by any of the many teachers who have come from Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and abroad. Salsa is the focus of the classes, but there’s plenty of room to learn Kizomba, Bachata, Reggaeton, and other Latin dances.
The class runs from 8:30-9:30 pm, and then the party really begins. Expect a mix of Latin and Dancehall music from the evening to the early morn. Take the chance to try different dances with different partners.
Marina, living in Shenzhen, commented on how she “can attend a class and learn something new. People come here to develop their skills and have fun.” She went on to share how “even if you are new to dancing, there are activities for the beginners. So, after a few weeks, you will feel more confident.”
By combining a class and a party, the Salsa Night gives that bit of structure to start the evening and gradually encourages you to relax and unwind by the time the party starts. It’s a party that goes on till 2 am, giving dancers plenty of time to chat, make new friends, and of course, dance.
Salsa Night has several instructors who are passionate about their work. One of the teachers you will find at the Salsa Night is Shenzhen’s very own Belle, a professional dancer and teacher whose passion is bringing rhythm-boosting dances (and her Salsa shoes business) to the city.
Belle is the living embodiment of “Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life”. Belle found “it was really fun to use the skills and moves from Salsa as a way to socialize.” Through her classes at Mr. Wong, Belle is able to “share experiences and get to know others.”
A lot of movements that seem simple can be difficult for beginners, so she has learned to be patient and understanding of her students’ point of view. It’s her passion to share her joy of Latin dancing with as many people as possible.
With the help of teachers like Belle, students are able to pick up new moves and then later try them out with friends when at a party.
The environment is important too. The Hilton Shenzhen Futian is the perfect place for the Salsa Night for a few good reasons. Mr. Wong is a well-lit and spacious spot with comfy sofas and an open dance floor for party-goers to have a good time and also relax.
Lily, a designer from Shenzhen, thinks “Mr. Wong has a beautiful and comfortable environment,” and the “Salsa Night is my favorite Salsa Party in Shenzhen.” Mr. Wong serves up some great drinks too. Jesica, another attendee attests that, “Mr. Wong is the perfect venue—good cocktails, friendly service, and a lot of space for dancing.”
Salsa Night also has a fantastic location. Situated in the heart of Futian at Gangxia North, Hilton Shenzhen Futian is easily reached by Line 2, or a bus ride away from Line 1 at Gangxia. Hailing a taxi in the wee hours of the morning is easy along Shennan Road too. So there is no fear of needing to walk too far after a long night of endorphin-releasing dancing.
Alessandro, a lover of Latin and Chinese cultures, thinks the Hilton Shenzhen Futian “is a very comfortable location. It’s in the city center, easy to reach, but not amid the chaos of other areas of the city.” He went on to share that “at the end of a long day at work, it’s nice to head to Mr. Wong with ease and have a night of fun.”
Many attendees are professional dancers living and working in the city. It’s a testament to the Salsa Night that they keep coming back week after week. Oftentimes, one can spot the pro quite easily in the crowd, leaving one awestruck and inspired to learn just how to dance as awesomely as they do. The mix of people at the party, ranging from novice to expert, provides a melting pot of ideas, styles, and technique.
Simon Fung, a freelance Salsa and Bachata instructor who has been dancing Salsa for fourteen years, shared that he enjoys “the connection with his partner in the dancing.” In Mr. Wong, he has found a good spot for his dancing needs.
Those who are not professional dancers have their own amazing experiences with the Latin flavor and keep coming back for more at Salsa Night each week. Xenia, a Hong Kong resident who works in finance, has been practicing these styles for a couple years now and said her favorite dance is Kizomba. She was “intimidated at first,” but feels “the music relaxes me and touches my soul.” Practice makes perfect, and for Xenia, she feels comfortable dancing with anyone now.
Mr. Mafan, of famed YouTube Channel, “MAFANcrew,” has a great time learning Latin dances with Latin people, and has felt, over time, the group at Mr. Wong become like a family for him. He considers the parties to be “dope,” and that the “Salsa Night must be a part of everyone’s life because it is the perfect pretext to gather with friends, have a good time, and shake your booty for a while.” He went on to share that “when people come together to dance, they do it with passion and their hearts.”
It’s a beautiful joy to be able to share that closeness with someone, whether it is a new friend or an existing partner. Dancing allows people to connect with intensely personal parts of themselves, and with others, and the Salsa Night consistently provides the space for anybody to do that.
So, come on over. Your body knows it’s time. Mr. Wong and the Salsa Night gang are waiting for you to arrive and put on your Salsa dancing shoes.
For more information contact Oswaldo on either WeChat (osloor) or phone (13380386829)
8:00 – 9:30 pm: Class
9:30 – 2 am: Party
Location: Mr. Wong, Hilton Shenzhen Futian, Tower B, Great China International Finance Centre, Futian, Shenzhen (深圳市福田区深南大道1003号大中华国际
For many expats, what makes or breaks a move to a new country is the community they meet there. One cannot underestimate the importance of having a friend to go to the bar for a drink or to grab a coffee during the day. It can make a world of difference if you know some people you can ask for help or advice, be it finding where to buy the food they like from back home or to take them to the hospital after an accident.
If someone is fortunate enough to find this sense of community when they move to a strange new place, then they are more likely to stay longer and start to feel like they have a found a home away from home. It’s that same sense of community that the Shenzhen Women’s International Club (SWIC) has been providing to the ladies of our city for over 30 years.
We sat down with President Yvette Taylor and Programs Chair Christyne Holmes for a coffee and a chat to find out more about what SWIC is about and what it offers to the expat women in the local community.
“It started in 1986. It was just a few ladies who met in somebody’s lounge in Jingshan. Two years ago we did quite a few big events to celebrate the 30 years. There are no original members left, but we do have some photos,” explained Yvette.
Christyne had heard about what it was like back when SWIC started. “At that time, in the Shekou area, there were a lot of oil and gas companies, so my guess would be that it came out of that. There were a lot of expat ladies, or expat families, that were living here, and they don’t really know how to communicate locally. They didn’t speak Chinese. They had just moved here. That time, wasn’t like it is now.”
SWIC has come on leaps and bounds since it was first formed, but it fundamentally represents the same values. Their mission statement can be found in their leaflets, but Christyne sums it up well during our chat.
“I think our goal with SWIC is to offer the gals support. These women are the anchors for their husbands and kids and they feel like they are running around, taking care of and solving all the problems. Grocery shopping alone can be a challenge in a new country where you don’t speak the language. Any additional special needs can make acclimation and adjustment even more difficult. I like to think of it as a soft place to land. You can come here and ask whatever questions. You can vent. You can get rejuvenated. Then we put you back out there.”
“We recently had an event and some of the new ladies were really struggling. If you’ve never been to Asia before, it is a culture shock. So we are there for them if they want someone to chat to,” added Yvette.
The group has grown tremendously over the years, which is reflected in the original name of Shekou Women’s International Club being changed to the Shenzhen Women’s International Club it is today. The amount and variety of activities now held offer members something interesting to do every day during the week.
“Every Tuesday morning 9:30 to 11:30 we have a coffee morning. It’s usually at the Hilton, except for the third Tuesday of every month where we go to the Marco Polo in Futian. At our Hilton coffee we generally have over 50 ladies, on some occasions more than 70. The Marco Polo coffee is popular with a lot of our members that live in Futian and have kids, but we also get a lot from Shekou. Generally, there are 50 ladies there.
There’s also a book club, which meets once a month on a Tuesday evening. Most of the books are, some fiction, some non-fiction, but right now we are reading one about a Chinese wife and American husband bringing up their son in Shanghai,” explained Yvette.
Mothers with young children form a significant percentage of the members in SWIC and they are well taken care of.
“So we have a large Mom’s and Tot’s group. That is a lot of support for those with preschool kids. Every week they make play dates. It’s every Wednesday or Thursday and it’s someone different every week. It alternates between different apartments. They had a big Easter party recently and you wouldn’t believe how many people were there. It was crazy,” recalled Christyne.
Yet that represents just a small fraction of the work SWIC puts in to arrange activities for their members. Christyne gave a breakdown of what happens in a typical week.
“Monday they have the hiking group. Tuesday we have the coffee. Wednesday they play tennis. Thursdays they usually do another hike. Monday and Wednesday they do archery. Friday we do mahjong. And then we sprinkle in other activities along the way. A couple of weeks ago we made dumplings in my house. We had 15 or 16 gals who came to my house for that. At the weekend we are going to the Opium War Museum.”
The women of SWIC also enjoy their parties and members can be sure to have a few large events to be arranged each year.
“We had our farewell lunch on the 22nd of May. It was a chance to say farewell for the summer and to those who were leaving Shenzhen. That was at the Westin. We had the ballroom there for a late morning lunch with a wonderful buffet and sparkling wine. 90 Ladies attended,” said Yvette.
“Then in September, we will have our welcome breakfast. A way for everyone to get back into the groove,” added Christyne.
Even putting the weekly activities and the great parties aside for one moment, SWIC is worth joining for the great discounts members can enjoy at more than 50 restaurants, bars, shops, spas, and other businesses you are sure to come into contact with during your time in Shenzhen.
“This is worth the cost of the membership alone. Because if you go to McCawley’s and get 5% off then it adds up over time. It adds up pretty quickly,” explained Christyne.
Charity work forms an important part of the work that SWIC does, so those who want to give back to the local community can find a platform to do so at the club. Yvette went into detail about the assistance they provide.
“We support three local charities; Captivating, Promised Land, and Sunshine Academy. We budget at the start of each year and we set out an amount for each charity. That can either be given to them at the end of the year or if they want to use it throughout the year. What we’ve also done this year are three coffees where – they usually cost 50RMB – the members have it free, but then we have a charity bucket. So we’ve raised 3 or 4,000RMB each charity coffee just by doing that.”
SWIC boasts a large membership, but it’s not one that is dominated by any one clique. As is stated as part of their mission statement, ‘there is no typical SWIC member. We are women of all ages, with or without children, working or not working for money, seasoned or first-time expats’.
“We have over 250 members at the moment. There can be up to thirty different nationalities on a bus during a trip,” explained Yvette.
When asked about the makeup of those 250 members, Christyne is keen to express the diversity. “I would say American is probably the largest nationality and then maybe French. Our mahjong group just cracks me up. We have women from Belgium, France, Korea, Japan, America, New Zealand, and Australia.”
“It’s amazing that everyone gets on so well. I don’t know anyone that is cross with one another. In 250 people, I don’t know if there is any bad blood or poor relations. Which is pretty amazing when everybody is from different walks of life,” she added.
Perhaps the best possible note to finish on is to simply leave you with a quote from the SWIC mission statement, which sums up all the good work the women at the club are doing.
‘The purpose of Shenzhen Women’s International Club is to promote social and cultural exchange between the women of the expatriate community in Shekou and throughout Shenzhen. This is done through meetings and activities in the spirit of mutual understanding and friendship.
SWIC provides a focus for social and cultural activities for members and is of particular value to newcomers by serving as a means to meet other expats, find resources, and share tips and information about living in this city.
We are a club run solely by volunteers. To give back to our host country, we continually support local charities through donations, promotion, and active participation.’
To become a member of SWIC, applicants must hold a foreign passport or be a spouse of a foreign passport holder. Membership costs RMB350 per year, with the year beginning in August.
For more information or to inquire about joining SWIC, you can visit their official website or check out their Facebook page. Feel free to send an email to email@example.com.
So there you are. Sat out on the decking, laid back on the cushioned sofa. In your hand rests a tumbler of single malt. It’s a Macallan and you slip it slow out of appreciation to the 25 years it took to make. On the table before you is a platter of Gorgonzola and Gouda, but you reach forward for a slice of cured Iberian Ham. A firework goes off and you look out over OCT Harbour. From your front row seat of the lake, you have one of the best views in the area of the firework show happening across the water.
Soak it all in, because Unicorn Bar offers an experience that is almost as rare as its namesake.
Unicorn Bar can be discovered in the gift that keeps on giving that is OCT Harbour. Walk from the nearby Shenzhen subway station through the cocktail bars and fine dining restaurants towards the bar and you can take in the evening atmosphere. Somewhere a band is playing Hey Jude while somewhere else there is someone playing a Sam Smith song on saxophone. Continue on your way, however, down to the private waterfront to find Unicorn Bar.
The bar has a quite striking architectural design and its something that hits you from the moment you step inside. Think traditional men’s club mixed with a pop art exhibition. But it works. On one side you have a long whiskey bar behind which are private rooms while on the other side are white statues of unicorns lit up with purple lighting. The décor comes together to meet on the decking. The long deck offers comfort and privacy with plenty of cozy seating areas that look out over the water.
At its core, Unicorn Bar is a whiskey bar and it certainly has the collection to match it. From your Highlands to your Lowlands, Unicorn Bar has got just what the doctor ordered. Some highlights of the collection include Yamazaki 25 Years, Talisker 30 Years, and a personal favorite in the Ardbeg 23 Years.
But Unicorn Bar likes to get creative with the drinks too and they’ve got a cocktail menu that is as innovative as the whiskey collection is extensive. There’s the unashamedly flashy Smoky Mojito. While it leaves its mark with its presentation, when you take that first sip you realize there’s substance there as well as style. My personal favorite was the Sangria. Using only the finest ingredients and the freshest fruits, it’s rare to find a Sangria that is so refreshing, so smooth, and so deceptive its potency. Why try something new when they are making the classics this good?
After a couple of drinks, it’s time for something to eat. Unicorn Bar has a carefully chosen pick of snacks that pair perfectly with a Balvenie 30 Years or a Singapore Sling. The highlight is undoubtedly the Iberian Ham, which is imported from Spain, cured for 48 months, and sliced in front of your eyes. The Cheese Platter, which boasts a board of half a dozen different cheeses, and the Fruit Platter, which arrives smoking from the dry ice it is presented on, complete what makes a perfect table of finger foods.
If you are looking for a greater degree of privacy or just somewhere to talk business then you can look at taking one of the three private rooms available. They are only open to VIP members, a membership card that requires a deposit of RMB50,000.
For those not quite ready to become a VIP, there is always the decking and its view. And what a view it is. Arguably, what makes Unicorn Bar stand out above the other bars and restaurants in the area is its location. From the decking, customers can look out across the entire lake with a totally unobstructed view. Perfect for viewing the daily firework display at 8:30 pm.
When it comes to somewhere to drink, few places are as relaxing, offer as much privacy, or have such a view. Unicorns were meant to be mythical. It turns out they are real. They are just extremely rare. Make sure to come pay a visit to Unicorn Bar and savor the experience.
Address: 1 North District, OCT Harbour Shopping Center, 8 Baishi Road East, Nanshan, Shenzhen (深圳市南山区白石路东8号欢乐海岸购物中心北区1栋)
Whether it’s for a few days, months at a time or even half a year, it’s important to find the right place to stay when visiting Shenzhen. What people wish for above all else is somewhere they can feel safe and secure. Somewhere they can relax and unwind after a long day. Somewhere where there are people on hand to assist at any time. Somewhere just like Fraser Suites Shenzhen.
Fraser Suites is a global brand that offers serviced apartments that are renowned for its sophistication and luxury. Whether in London or Dubai, Fraser Suites is the choice of the most discerning business executives. Now with a new location in Shenzhen, Shenzhen Party were invited on a tour of the city’s newest exclusive accommodation.
Fraser Suites Shenzhen could hardly be more perfectly situated with a prime location in the heart of Futian. The serviced apartments are within comfortable walking distance from both Huaqiang Road and Huaqiang North subway stations, providing access to lines 1, 2, and 7. Across from Fraser Suites Shenzhen is a modern shopping mall complex with designer brands, high-end restaurants, international supermarkets, and cinemas. To the west, the serviced apartments overlook the park, where residents can enjoy an afternoon stroll or go for a morning jog.
Fraser Suites Shenzhen is truly surrounded by many things to do and also offers such easy access to the rest of the city, but in truth, you can find all you need without ever leaving the lobby.
You can dine at Feast on Seven where you can enjoy a quiet meal at brunch or invite friends over to enjoy the buffet in the evening. Choose from a menu, which offers the best of both Western and Eastern cuisine, including Nasi Goreng, Seafood Spaghetti, and a host of healthy salad options.
Grab a coffee downstairs at Centro Café & Lounge or arrange to have a lunch meeting over some cake and tea. The café is located to the left of the lobby and also has outdoor seating available for those who like to watch the world pass by as they sip on their cappuccino.
If you are looking for a place to go for a few drinks with your partner or if you are looking to chill out after a busy week, head up to Ding Sky Bar. The rooftop bar is located on the 7th floor and offers unparalleled views of the area. There are few finer spots in the city to grab a beer or try a cocktail or two.
Also located on the rooftop is what must be one of Shenzhen’s most exclusive swimming pools. The infinity pool offers quite simply breathtaking views as it overlooks the rest of Futian. It’s the perfect way to relax on a sunny day.
But it’s not the only thing to do at Fraser Suites Shenzhen. The management prides itself on providing its residents with ways to chill out and enjoy their time.
On the same floor of the swimming pool, residents can also find the gym, which is equipped with all the latest equipment and also has a room for group classes and one-on-one training. After a long workout in the gym or several laps in the pool, enjoy a well-earned rest in one of the sauna rooms or plunge pool.
If you are looking to improve your handicap, but don’t have time to get out down to the course, hit a virtual round of 18 on the state-of-the-art golf simulator. If you are more of a snooker player, play a few frames on the table on the 7th floor. You can take the family with you too. Your partner can relax in one of the several massage chairs next to the snooker room, while down the hall is a children’s play area that will keep the kids occupied for hours.
Of course, we’ve yet to talk about the most important part of Fraser Suites Shenzhen. We need to mention the rooms. When considering a stay, be it short or long term, the most important factor is the accommodation itself. In this respect, Fraser Suites Shenzhen sets the bar high.
The first thing to strike you is the spaciousness. Suites vary from 48 square meter Studio Deluxe to 168 square meter Two Bedroom Executive Study, but whichever you choose, the rooms have been designed to maximize the space.
The quality can be felt in all the rooms even in the smallest details. From the cozy reading chair set by the window overlooking the park that invites you to pick up that book you were meaning to finish to the deep bathtub that entices you to take a long soak after a long day. The kitchen area is large and well-equipped so residents are free to have fun cooking at home and can do their own washing whenever needed.
So for those looking for a high standard of living in Shenzhen, there really is no other answer. With luxury accommodation, five-star service, state-of-the-art facilities, and one of the top swimming pools in the city, there is no competition for Fraser Suites Shenzhen. Start enjoying a higher class of living at Fraser Suites Shenzhen today.
Shenzhen’s startup revolution is set to continue to with the announcement that WeWork will unveil a workspace at the start of September.
The American company built its success on providing shared workspaces for freelancers and startups and has spread to 283 locations situated across 75 cities around the world. Now, WeWork has targeted China as a market with massive potential and Shenzhen has been identified as the spot for its newest workspace.
WeWork will be located in Houhai in Nanshan, where it will be in good company surrounded by Chinese tech companies such as Tencent and DJI. The space itself will be made up of three floors with an open deck, lush greenery, and a spiral staircase acting as a centerpiece.
The announcement comes at the perfect time in Shenzhen with more and more startups popping up seemingly every day. WeWork will be able to offer a platform to work for these entrepreneurs and also freelancers as well as smaller companies and even divisions of large corporations.
Keep checking this space for more information as WeWork prepares to launch in September.
Address: China Construction Steel Structure Building, 3331 Zhongxin Lu, Nanshan, Shenzhen (南山区中心路3331号中建钢构大厦)
Shenzhen. It’s a hell of a city. Everyone is moving so fast and everything is constantly changing. What’s the talk of the town one day, can be just one in a dozen by the end of the week. Blink, and you might miss it altogether.
Few businesses are more fickle than the cocktail bar business. Finding a good spot that sticks around can be rarer than a bartender who knows how to make The Commonwealth. Where in the past you had to hitch a ride to Beijing or Shanghai for a good Manhattan or Cosmopolitan, now there are a number of hip joints in Shenzhen where you can find someone who knows how to fix up a drink.
We stirred up an essential guide, shaking out all the pretenders and phonies, to leave you with only the finest mix of cocktail bars in Shenzhen.
If you are in search of a touch of class and no small amount of style, then look no further than Compass Bar. Despite being one of the city’s best-kept secrets, it’s also one of Shenzhen’s longest running bars.
Compass Bar is a speakeasy, but there’s no need to go wandering down some back alley or find some novelty façade. All you need is a drop of confidence and a dash of swagger. Head to the Wongtee V Hotel and ask the concierge to send you up to the 40th floor.
There you will find a beautiful wood paneled and leather-seated bar that offers stunning views over the city. Do yourself a favor and order one of the classics such as a Martini, Old Fashioned, or the bartender’s specialty, Negroni. After all, they are classics for a reason.
ADDRESS: 4002, 40F, Huanggang Business Center, 2028 Jintian Rd Fuhua 5th Rd, Futian District (深圳市福田区福华五路皇岗商务中心四十层4002)
They say a change of scenery can do a world of good for one’s spirits and disposition. So too is that equally true of a cocktail bar. Originally in Seaworld, A01 recently relocated to Upper Hills near the most chic hotel in town, Muji.
The relocation has led to something of an evolution. While it’s still a cocktail bar, A01 has broadened its horizons to include an ever-expanding range of the finest gins this side of London. The art deco interior has been as carefully chosen as its drinks menu while there is also outside seating who care to savor those cooler evenings.
ADDRESS: Modern Imbibing, L2-S211 (outdoor area), Lianke Overpass, Upper Hills, Futian, Shenzhen (深圳市福田区深业上城2层户外S211（莲科高架路边)
Barber Shop / Massage Bar
Nowadays, it seems a bar isn’t worth going in unless you had to spend half an hour searching for it and walking through a shop or restaurant or two to get inside. Speakeasies are all the rage right now in Shenzhen and that’s largely in thanks to Barber Shop and it’s new sister shop Massage Bar.
The layouts of the bars wouldn’t look out of place in Soho Hong Kong or East Village New York, and the bartenders have the drinks to match too. We could tell you exactly how to find these two speakeasies, but then again, finding them by yourself is part of the fun, isn’t it?
ADDRESSES: Massage Bar: 16 Nanhai Dadao, Nanshan District (南山区桃园路1号西海明珠花园119商铺3011) , Barber Shop: No.1035, Shangbu Nanlu, Futian District, Shenzhen (深圳市福田区上步南路1035号)
There are a few places hipper right now to open a cocktail bar than Nanshan, but Ciao Amici has been there mixing cocktails long before anyone else.
With a cocktail menu that is accessible for newcomers and veterans alike, it’s not hard to understand why it’s busy most nights of the week. Head down any evening during the week and you are likely to find workers from the nearby tech offices talking shop over a few drinks on the outside seating or sat inside relaxing after a long day.
ADDRESS: No.06-07, Ground Floor, Building 6, Software Industry Base, Yuehai Street, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China
While most cocktail bars in China fall drunkenly and helplessly in love with whiskey, RMK’s affectations lie a little closer to home. The main ingredient of the bar’s cocktail menu is rice wine.
They say enemies can make the unlikeliest of bedfellows, and it appears that rice wine makes for an irresistible partner for a number of cocktails. The original concept has spread to multiple locations across the city already.
Due to the flavor profile of the spirit, many of the cocktails come out fruit, light, and easy to drink. This has lead RMK to attract a crowd with less hardened drinkers and more young clientele.
As more and more bars open all around the city, Shenzhen is fast becoming the new cocktail capital of China. One bar in particular that is opening up in August in the trendy OCT Loft area of Nanshan looks set to join our list of essential cocktail bars.
Life On Mars promises modern cocktails made with fresh, seasonal ingredients and utilizing a wide selection of spirits. Rather than focus on a narrow selection of concoctions, it promises to be a bar for the adventurous, for those who want to try something different. Opening August 18th, keep an eye out for Life On Mars if you are in the mood for trying something new.
Mexican cuisine is one of the most loved foods in the world, and it’s not hard to see why there are so many restaurants now. As popular as these places are, outside of Mexico, they rarely truly represent what Mexican cuisine is. There are so many more ingredients, shapes, flavors, and colors. By looking deeper, you can find the real Mexico. At Bésame Mucho , you can try Mexican food like you’ve never experienced before.
From the moment I heard about Bésame Mucho, I knew I was in for something special.
The first thing that caught my attention was the location. Situated in the up-and-coming area of Nanshan, the restaurant is surrounded by the offices of the biggest tech companies in China. Bésame Mucho occupies a relaxing spot in the new Kaide Park shopping mall, just off the high street.
The restaurant boasts a cool outdoor seating area, which on the evenings is occupied with expats and locals alike enjoying dinner or just chilling with a couple of drinks. Inside, it’s clear that they are going for a modern, clean style. From the open kitchen and slick bar top to the windows the length of the wall and the second-floor stage that looks down on the restaurant. Think less family taqueria, and more hip bar.
The second thing that made me stand up and pay attention to the restaurant was the people involved. Bésame Mucho is the idea of Christian Saldaña. When it comes to introducing Mexican cuisine and culture, Christian has shown over the years that he is a true ambassador for his country. What’s more, the guy knows how to organize a party.
The third thing was the food. When I started seeing photos all over my social media of what was coming out of the kitchen there, I knew I had to get myself down to Bésame Mucho. These were dishes I had never seen before. There were so many vibrant colors and the sort of presentation that demands your attention. This was Mexican food, but not as we knew it.
So there we were, to find out for ourselves. After several looks of the menu, we still couldn’t settle on what to order. So, we deferred to Christian to decide for us. We were not disappointed.
The first dish to arrive was the Aguachile. This is a real seafood treat originating from the north of Mexico. They take fresh shrimp, marinate it in citrus juices and pulverized chili, and then submerge it along with onions and cucumber. Think of it like the spicier, older sister of Ceviche that you wish were dating instead.
Next up is the Tuna Tostada, but with a brand new makeover. The chef has taken this old classic and has given it a modern twist by completely inverting the presentation. Where the tostada should be on the bottom, here it is on the top, and the toppings are on the bottom. And what toppings they are. You have the freshest tuna and avocado marinated with a tangy Ponzu sauce along with carrots, cucumber, and spring onions. By the time I’ve finished, it makes me wish I’d been eating all my tostadas upside down all along.
As we finished off our Tuna Tostada, the next dish arrived. It’s the first time I’ve ever laid eyes on a Tlayuda, but I like what I see. Originating from Oaxaca, It’s a large crispy corn tortilla topped with chorizo, grilled tomatoes, refried beans, onions, and homemade mole sauce. The tortilla can be easily broken up to share amongst a group and is a perfect party starter.
Of course, no trip to a Mexican restaurant can be complete without trying the tacos. The menu has six signature tacos and while reading the descriptions makes me want to order all of them, we end up limiting ourselves to the Carne Asada and Mayan Pork. The Mayan Pork drips with habanero chili, red onions, and lemon, which is so good it makes me want to order another just to wipe up the first with. Still, I think the Carne Asada has to be my favorite. The slices of grilled beef steak are really something else.
Finally, is our dessert, the Avocado Popsicle, which is a mouthwatering mix of avocado, dulce de leche, some lemon zest and dried berries, and the smallest amount of chocolate. In appearance, it looks like an ice pop, but it’s actually soft and can be scooped with a spoon much like a mousse. I think the Avocado Popsicle from Bésame Mucho is my favorite dessert in all of Shenzhen. For the freshness, for the creativity, for the originality, and quite simply, for the taste.
While as amazing as the food is – and it is amazing – Bésame Mucho is more than a restaurant. It’s a place for people to come and just hang out and meet new people.
If you are feeling lucky, then on Wednesdays you should head down to La Loteria nights. Think of it like bingo, but instead of using numbers, they use some cool retro illustrated cards with even cooler names. The games are free for customers to join and you can win anything from a drink to 10% off your bill and more.
On Thursdays, Bésame Mucho makes the most of its stage space with their Acoustic Session by Mark’s Music & Art Jam. Every week, some of the city’s most talented and creative musicians come down to jam and experiment. You may even catch Christian up there singing a tune or two.
Bésame Mucho is the place to be on Fridays. From 7 to 9:30 pm, there is an international meet & greet, where people hailing from all over the world can get to know each other. The evening continues with live music from 9:30 pm and then a Latin party from 10:30 pm till late, late into the night.
Bésame Mucho is not solely about partying though. Every Sunday from 4 pm, there is a free Spanish class available to customers. You can come, learn a few words, and then feel free to practice with Christian and the rest of the staff.
So come and stop by at Bésame Mucho. Experience Mexican food like you’ve never experienced it before, and stay to enjoy the fantastic company and, who knows, you may even make a friend or two you didn’t have before the evening had started.
Address: Chuang ye Lu 3023 Ipark, Nanshan District 深圳市南山区南海大道，创业路3023号交汇處凯德公园一号L1-06号铺