On the map of China, Heilongjiang province in northeastern China is like a swan spreading its wings, while Harbin, its capital city is a glistening pearl around swan’s neck. With pigeons dancing, St. Sophia Church boasts solemn bells tolling; with the sun shining brightly, Sun Island evokes people’s happy memories; with continental flavor, the European-style architecture of Central Street shows the charm of this “Paris of the Orient”; with snowflakes fluttering, the Ice and Snow World appears like something out of a dream.
Located in China`s northernmost province, Harbin has long and bitterly cold winter and short cool summers. Praised as “Ice City”, it is the ideal destination for ice and snow travel and avoiding the summer heat. Harbin has the largest ski center in Asia: Yabuli International Ski Resort. Also, it has the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, you can fully enjoy ice lantern show and ice activities such as ice-sailing, sledging, ice hockey, ice football and so on.
Time-honored history and captivating scenery help Harbin become the best-known tourist destination of the Far East. Under the cover of darkness, Harbin is more like a fairy tale world. Stroll along Central street, view elegant European style buildings and grand orthodox church and taste palatable food to experience the cultural charm of “Oriental Moscow”.
Viewing the classical art of architectures, mainly concentrated on Central street and Guogeli street, is a highlight of your Harbin tour. But if in winter, you cannot miss Harbin’s ice and snow entertainment. Joining in them definitely is the best approach to learn their culture and know this city.
Harbin food is mainly influenced by neighbouring Russia and Northeastern traditional cuisines culture, here, you can not only taste genuine Russian cuisine in Russian style restaurants, but also eat authentic Northeastern cuisines such as sautéed potatoes with green pepper and eggplants(Di San Xian), Stewed Chick with Mushroom(Xiao Ji Dun Mo Gu), Braised Pork with Vermicelli(Zhu Rou Dun Fen Tiao) and so on. The dishes in most Harbin restaurants always have large portions, so tourists need to control over how much you eat trying not to waste.
Food of Harbin is widely distributed, you may taste all kinds of specialities around Central street and Hongbo Century Square. Central street and its side alleys are full of small restaurants and bakeries. Tongjiang street is also the a great place to look for somewhere to eat and has an abundance of fruit stands.
Harbin is one of the biggest commercial cities of Northeast China. Local specialities and souvenirs can be divided into two categories on the whole: one is the food with exotic flavor of Russia like candy stuffed with wine, Russian bread, chocolate and so on. Besides, you can also buy some tea, paintings or ornaments which are attractive in price and quality made in Russia or other eastern European countries. The other is the Northeastern Chinese specialties such as Three Treasures of Northeast China, namely Ginseng, pilose antler, and marten, but remember to buy them in reliable stores. In addition, Harbin red sausage and dried sausage are worth buying.