Strawberries and Raisins

During our trip in China this year we really just started to see how different many things are. I don’t mean basics such as language, culture or anything like that. It is more the “think big” mentality in so many aspects especially buildings. Let’s take shopping malls as an example. Growing up in Europe I have visited too many shopping malls over the years. I always thought that they are pretty huge but oh boy was I wrong after really visiting multiple ones this time in China. While the shopping malls are big in Europe (the ones I have visited in several countries at least) they still don’t go overboard and usually just offer enough space for the shops and few restaurants, nothing more.

We were not even at the bottom of that side wing of the mall

In China it is a bit different, very much different. Alone the malls we have visited in Xi’an are just not normal in any way. For example there is the one mall with just some kind of glass roof (of course not glass, some other new transparent material which is like 90% lighter than glass or something like that) without any real walls. So you have that nice roof against the rain and the shops and restaurants are located in some smaller buildings beneath it. Now what will protect you in the hottest summer months from melting on the spot when walking around there as there is of course no air condition? Water mist of course! All around the pathways and buildings water mist is being sprayed every five minutes or so to cool down the air. I have seen similar before but that was on a totally different scale compared to this huge shopping center. Besides this very interesting cooling system there are some attractions such as a huge pillar covered in LED panels which sometimes looks like a giant tree or at other times like a crystal. Furthermore there is a gigantic “waterfall” which sprays water in certain rhythm combined with some music every hour or so. It is hard to explain so check out the picture and of course the Instagram post I had back then.

Some kind of musicish, lightish, waterish thingy thing


Then there is the nice other mall which has probably more restaurants on one floor compared to my hometown and all its surrounding villages combined. It is just insane to have that many different restaurants in one mall, it took us one hour to actually select one we liked as there were just too many to choose from. Besides that the mall also has a waterfall, okay not one waterfall but several spanning over five or six floors with gold fishes in the ponds in between. Sadly I do not have a picture of that as I was first of all too amazed by it, then I was too hungry to hold the camera and third of all I was scared for my life as thousands of other people were streaming through the passageways in that mall and I tried not be trampled to death.

Exhausted from eating

I do not know why these experiences amazed me so much this time in China. For some reason I experience China each time a bit different or to be more precise I realize or learn something new and different during each visit. I had been in so many malls before in China but those visits never flashed me like this year. Strawberries and raisins anyone? Yes I can change topics in such smooth way but now you will learn what I mean with that headline.

Yay for a the looks of that cake

Our dear Nathalie had her first birthday in China and we had to celebrate it with the whole family. One certain thing had to be at the celebration as well, one thing  we had to walk and wait ages for: the birthday cake. This cake looked so great (and cute) now guess my horror when I took the first bite of that great looking strawberry cake to taste raisins. Yes raisins. Why on earth anybody in this world would add raisins into a strawberry cake? This was officially the worst cake I have ever tried in my life. This is something you give someone you hate, not love! Writing this I got goosebumps again from that horrid memory this cake has caused. Thankfully Nathalie is still too young to  have any memory of this experience but I am still in shock how the whole rest of the family had apparently no problems with that cake and even stated how good it tasted.

Trying to take a group picture with Nathan, impossible…


Have you ever tasted something like a strawberry raisin cake?

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20 thoughts on “Strawberries and Raisins”

  1. Raisins belong in exactly three foods: oatmeal cookies, cinnamon raisin bagels, and involtini. End of story, no more raisins anywhere, okay, good talk.

    The malls sound amazing. Especially the waterfall. The lack of AC sounds insane.

  2. I am very in Chengdu at the moment and the shopping centres are huge here. I haven’t been inside one as too much else to do but there are so many of them. I recall having as a vegetarian being served cold mashed potato with a dollop of jam. Twice!!! Yuck!!!

  3. Shopping malls are really massive and stunning compared to what we have here on Australia too. From the shopping centers in China that you described, it sounds like you could spend all day there just exploring it. Whenever it was too hot traveling around Asia, I’d seek refuge in a shopping center…even sitting down there was great. I’m not sure if this is universal, but I find there are more seats or places to sit in shopping malls on Australia compared to in Australia.

    Raisins in cake…never heard that before and it sounds weird. Don’t get me wrong. I like raisins but with cake, I take your word for it it didn’t taste good. Was it an ice-cream cake? Not sure if you like berries in cake, but one of my favourite cakes is Black Forest cake and that had crushed cherries in it, definitely different from raisins in cake…

    1. It was no ice cream cake, it was a (proper) cake with strawberries on top, few in the middle and the rest was the raisin hell.
      Black Forest cake is ofc very famous in Germany as it has its origins here. Berries are great in cakes and I only like cakes with them, there is just such a variety when it comes to berries 🙂

      The malls I have Visited in Xi’an had only limited spots to sit down except the restaurants and cafes of course. But as there are just so many restaurants it is always possible to get a little rest

      1. What, are you telling me there was a whole layer crammed with raisins, and not just raisins in a bite here and there of the cake? 😓

        That is great Black Forest Cake is very very famous in Germany. If I ever visit have to have a slice of it there 🙂

        Now that you mention it, it usually is hard to find a seat in the food court or popular restaurant in a big shopping mall…

      2. I just Googled ‘Raisin cake’. From the photos, it shows me raisin toast – and that is popular in Australia. But cake…I’m not too sure… 😛

      1. Ahhh, must be an American thing. I’m already in love with Germany and Finland – thanks for giving me another reason 😛

  4. Chinese society in the recent years seems to be very materialistic, at least from reading and from my experiences. The malls might be one such example. Haha you made me chuckle with the comment on the number of restaurants in the mall there! Do you live in such a small town in Germany? Yuck strawberry cake with raisins, doesn’t sound good at all 😮 How many other such weird combinations must be so normal in China?

    1. Yes the Chinese society became very materialistic to an insane level sometimes.
      My hometown got 80k inhabitants so we have actually rather many restaurants here but that one mall in Xi’an was just insane. I think on that one floor I counted over 50 restaurants….

    1. This year we visited China in April/ May. Saw that video from Thomas yesterday as well, rather interesting what people you can meet when being really fluent and building up a name via social media. I think he even translated for Merkel already on one visit

  5. I’m not a big fan of raisins. I hate it when they ruin a good carrot salad with raisins.

    It used to be that a shopping mall was the mark of city growth, but with many of the anchor stores (K-Mart, JC Penny, Sears) closing down, replaced by Walmart super centers along with the advent of online shopping, shopping malls are dying out around cities. For the most part, you only see the large shopping malls in the larger cities. In average cities of 20 to 30 K, strip malls are still the norm.

    1. Indeed Raisins do not belong really on any food 🙂

      In my home town (80k) a big mall just opened in the city center few years ago and thus far it has been successful. In China on the other hand it is just insane what huge malls where you need couple of hours to see everything

  6. I’m not a big fan of raisins and hate when they show up in expected places! Even worse when I think it’s chocolate chips and get surprised. I didn’t think it was a common ingredient in Chinese cakes. At least the decoration was adorable!

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