About Qianwen Zhang

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One Afternoon in Harrisburg

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I came to this city accidentally when I visited my friend in Pennsylvania. I went to nowhere else other than Pennsylvania State Capitol and the riverside. However, I have already fell in love with this city. Pennsylvania State Capitol did not amaze me from its outside since I have just visited the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Actually, it was the inside that successfully wowed me. No matter the roof, the steps or the walls, everything is so detailed. It might be too much exaggeration if I use the word “extravagant,” but the building does feel like a palace to me. Another thing in Harrisburg that impressed me is the riverside. The ground is covered by fallen leaves and sparse grass. There is barely any green on branches of trees. However, it is still a very pleasant experience walking along the riverside. If you feel like finding somewhere nice and quiet to read a book or have some walk, I would definitely recommend this place.

Christmas at Disney World

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I grew up hearing about Micky Mouse and Donald Duck, and I had always been drawn to pictures or commercials of Disneyland or Disney World. I chose to visit Disney World in Orlando on Christmas because I believed the holiday vibe would add an additional degree of fantasy, which definitely could elevate the experience. It did not disappoint me. Though packed with people from all over the country on Christmas, Disney World is a wonderland, just much bigger than I imagined. Walking around Disney World is akin to walking somewhere in fairy tales. I have to admit the rides are not as exciting as those at Universal for young people of my age. However, there is much more to see, especially during Christmas seasons. Although visiting three parks within one days is a quite ambitious goal, I achieved it anyway. No matter the Cinderella Castle, the Magic Kingdom Christmas parade, or the Epcot world showcase, they all impressed me alike. I returned to the Magic Kingdom when it got dark for the firework show. I just think it is incredible such a wonderful and high-quality firework show takes place every single day at Disney. Surrounded by festive music, beautiful lighting, laughters and applause, I felt like I was in a dream. Although Disney World gets super crowded especially during holidays, I definitely recommend you having this magic and fantastic adventure, no matter how old you are.

First Impression with Washington, D.C.

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When people were talking about Washington D.C., what came to my mind 99 out of 100 times were government or historic buildings such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial. However, as was suggested by one of our friends, we did not head to National Mall & Monuments as soon as we arrived in Washington D.C. Instead, we firstly drove around where lots of embassies are located and found a parking spot in Georgetown area. Then, we just hang out in Georgetown and Wisconsin Avenue area all afternoon and had our dinner there. Not as bustling, exciting or gleaming as New York City, the city we just left, this area still wowed me with classy architectures, cute streets as wells as unpretentious flower decorations. Sipping my cocktail after an Italian-style dinner and looking at the shiny lighting on the little streets through windows, I already fell in love with Washington D.C. even without visiting any famous building. This area is definitely a go-to place for some coffee talk with your best girlfriends after a whole afternoon of shopping or for a pre-or-post dinner drink with your significant other.

Asian Food in NYC

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New York is known for its diverse culture because of the huge number of immigrants living there. What is the best part of this diverse culture, from my point of view, is the great varieties of authentic ethnic food you can find in this city. Since I only stayed there for no more than 10 days, I only tried Asian food because it is my favorite. From a five-dollar breakfast in Flushing to a fancy Shanghai-style dinner in Time Square, the Chinese food is absolutely authentic. I also had a Korean BBQ lunch in Manhattan one day and I guess I am qualified to say it was awesome since I have tried so much Korean food, especially Korean barbecue.

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Complicated Feelings Towards Flushing

I lived in Flushing area when I was traveling in New York City for several days because it is much cheaper than living in Manhattan area. Although Flushing is not called Chinatown, people know they are more or less the same thing. I have to say, to some extent, I feel I am in China when I walk around Flushing. Everything is written in Chinese. Most people are Chinese. Fruit is sold on open tables on the streets, just as how it is sold in China in most cases. However, this so-called “Chinatown” still feels unfamiliar to me. Flushing looks much more like an underdeveloped small town of China. I can feel most people living there are having a tough life. Elder people are giving out fliers on the streets. Some of them work for Chinese-owned travel agencies. Some work for companies helping people obtain a legal status in the U.S. I sense many of those people living in Flushing are having a really hard time in either obtaining a legal status or a decent job. A large portion of them even do not speak Engslish at all. As a matter of fact, they don’t need to speak English to survive if they just stay in Flushing. They are a group of people who live on the territory of U.S. but do not fit in American society at all. I cannot help imagining what their life would be like if they just stayed in China, especially those elder ones. It is possible they would be better off in China because at least they fit. It is their home.

 

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Museum Adventure in NYC

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I am not a fan of museums. Although I heard a huge amount of positive comments from my friends about the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I preferred the idea of shopping on the Fifth Avenue instead of walking into any museum. However, all the friends I traveled with wanted to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History. I had to go with them. Now I feel so lucky that I have visited those two museums. Amazing is not enough to describe my experience. Both museums are so huge, especially the Metropolitan. I saw so many precious art pieces from all over the world. The diversity is great. Even merely looking at the objects without learning the history was enough to wow me. It is especially fun to look at those from China and learn how our culture and history is presented in an American museum. All in all, I got the chance to see those pieces I thought I could only see in my history or art textbook in high school. What’s more, the design of the Metropolitan itself is a piece of art. I felt I was walking in a palace full of treasure. It may take a week to see all the stuff in either museum. I will definitely visit those museums again. Now I have developed a new interest due to that experience: visiting museums.

 

Japanese-style Dinner at Mahzu Sushi and Grill in Gainesville

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    This is the Sushi & Sashimi Combination. There are different types of sushi and sashimi (raw fish fillets) in this dish. There are also some little tuna rolls. I love salmon best. If you want to try different types of sashimi, I would recommend this dish.

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    Shrimp Teriyaki tastes both a little bit sweet and salty. It would be good if you eat it with white rice. However, I do not think this dish is better than any other teriyaki-style dish in other restaurants.

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    I love this dish a lot. This is Yaki Udon. Udon is a traditional Japanese noodle which is thick and chewy. Normally, I eat udon in soup. However, I am amazed how delicious udon tastes when it is fried and saturated with sauce. There are fish cake, veggies and chicken in this dish.

Mini Hot Pot at Gator Suyaki in Gainesville

I don’t think these mini hot pots are authentic Chinese hot pots. However, it is still delicious as long as you choose the right soup. That is why I visit this restaurant for hot pots frequently. I remember the first time I went there, I chose the pickle soup, which was terrible. Since then I have always chosen the spicy soup because I love spicy food so much! You can choose non-spicy soup. It depends on your preferences.
2What I love most about the hot pot of this restaurant is that they have a good variety of sauce you can choose from. I always mix sesame sauce with garlic sauce and white vinegar. Then I top the sauce with some green onions and cilantro. I believe that will make a good mix of flavor.

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The beef and lamb are not bad. I prefer lamb for hot pots. The fish fillets are also one of my favorite items although I have never eaten fish fillets for hot pots when I was in China. It is a newly developed hot pot habit. My order usually includes beef, lamb, potatoes, fish fillets, cabbage and mung bean noodle.

Three Chinese Dishes at Gator Suyaki in Gainesville

Gator Suyaki is one of the few restaurants in Gainesville serving Sichuan or Hunan style dishes that are featured with spicy taste. I am a fan of spicy food so I am a frequent guest of Gator Suyaki. The three dishes below are my recent favorite items.

1 Beef Flank With Tomato in Hot Pot

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What I like most about this dish is the enjoyable experience of eating the hot beef saturated with tomato-flavored sweet sauce. This dish is seldom cooked spicy when I tried it in China, which is not the case here. However, a spicy note makes this dish in Gator Suyaki much more flavorful than that I tried in China.

 

2 Hunan Boiled Fish Fillet w. Pickle Mustard

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I love both spicy and sour food. This dish combines the two flavors perfectly. Fish fillets and sour pickles are boiled in spicy soup with other vegetables such as cabbages. Every time I eat this dish, I drink all the soup after eating up all the fish and vegetable because the soup is really flavorful!

3 House Stir Fried Cabbage

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This dish is also spicy. The cabbages are cooked with chili peppers and seasoned with the sauce that tastes both a little bit sweet and salty.