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Run, Boston, Run!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 14, 2016

Marathon Monday is quite possibly known as Boston's second Christmas. And I'm not even exaggerating here. I was actually speaking to one of my neighbors on Monday, and she told me how she marks off the whole weekend and week before Marathon Monday, just to prep herself (and she's not even running the marathon).

(just in case you didn't catch my title reference)

Before 2013, the Marathon was a day to go out, have a couple (or several) drinks, and cheer on friends, family, or random runners at the finish line. That all changed on April 15th, 2013. I don't want to go into the specifics, because quite frankly, we all know what happened at the Boston bombing. I was sitting on my friend's couch, enjoying her birthday festivities and my Georgetown cupcake, when all of a sudden, everything changed. I scrambled to find my phone, just to tell my parents and sister that I was okay, and that I'd try to keep them as informed as possible. Soon after, all cell services were blocked and I felt like I was in a some sort of trance. I was a freshman in college! I had never experienced anything like it, and needless to say, that was one of the worst weeks of my life.

I am beyond lucky to say that I wasn't on the finish line that day, and that my best friend had decided to leave Boylston about 15 minutes before the bombs went off.

Almost three years after that horrific day, Boston has gotten back on track. What happened during the marathon was one of the worst things Boston has ever seen, but what happened after, truly showed how one city can really come together in a time of remorse. There was a massive amount of support given to everyone and anyone who was in some way affected by the marathon bombing, and Boston didn't let anyone take their strength and resilience away. The city was the true embodiment of Boston Strong.

Though I do think we should take Monday to love our families and friends a little more, to thank whatever force you believe in that we're still around and we're still alive, I also believe there are many places around Boston to do so.

Boston Marathon Pre-Race Dinner

Whether you're running the marathon, or just watching it, there's always an excuse to carbo-load. At City Hall, starting at 4pm the night before, there will be an abundance of trays to any and all food and marathon lovers. If you're a superhuman running the Boston Marathon, you can eat for free! If you're lazy like me, and the thought of running more than 5 minutes absolutely horrifies you, you'll just have to pay $20 for all you can eat. On the menu are FOUR different pasta dishes, and a salad if you're feeling like pasta isn't enough for you.

Midnight Marathon Bike Ride

Now, I'm not much (or at all) of a runner. In fact, I actually hate running. I get bored, and I just don't have the will-power to force myself to do it. However, I do love biking. I am an avid spinner, and will literally bike anywhere because (thankfully) I've built up a resistance to do so. This event is basically perfect for me, but I will most likely find some excuse to stuff my face instead of attending. But don't be like me, and bike away! Every year, thousands of people gather and bike across the city, only to be greeted by a pancake breakfast right after. Yes, it's basically like pulling an all nighter for pancakes, but you deserve them after pedaling so much.

(pedal away pedal gods)

T.J. Spirits

This isn't so much an event, more like a restaurant that I highly recommend. Even though it's not located anywhere near the finish line, this place has some true marathon celebrations. You'll see your typical finger-lickin' wings, and make-your-own burgers, but what's most important is their marathon inspired beer. They serve Sam Adams' signature 26.2 marathon brew. It has a lower alcohol content, so if you're a runner looking for a post race drink, this may be the perfect solution for you - because if I were to have a regular beer on a post-workout empty stomach, I'd probably faint.

Cityside

If you're looking for a more up close and personal view of the marathon, Cityside has panoramic views that are just for you. On Marathon Monday, they open at 9am (say it with me: rise, and shine, and wine), so arrive there early for the best views on their rooftop patio or by the windows! Between the drafts, fishbowls, and greasy eats, you'll be glad you're watching the marathon, and not running it.

I rounded out what I think are some of the best to-dos on Patriot's Day. There are obviously hundreds of other places you can go, and if you didn't particularly like any of my suggestions (rude),  you can look on the BAA website and find some other places (mine are the best, just sayin').

Before I sign off, I'd also like to remind everyone of the holiday on Sunday, April 17th. If you happen to not know (shame on you), it's INTERNATIONAL (yeah she's internationally known) IT'S MY SISTER'S BDAY, DAY. You might be busy prepping for the race, or carbo loading, but whatever you're doing, send some positive vibes out and have a drink for her. She likes champagne (Moet and Veuve only, duh) and chocolate lava cakes, so order those.

Happy birthday my munchkin. Even though no one likes you when you're 23, everyone loves you when you're 24. 

(even leo)

Get Lost in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, March 31, 2016

I'm inching closer and closer to graduation every single day. And yeah, it's absolutely terrifying. So as my college years come to a close, I've become extremely nostalgic. I mean, for goodness sakes, I moved to Boston four years ago. Four years ago, my mom and I drove up to the front steps of my freshmen year dorm. Four years ago, I walked into my room and yelped: "Mom, what is this? A prison?"

Well, the good thing is it wasn't truly a prison. Yes, my single-turned-double was extremely tight, and my roommate and I had to find some creative ways to coexist - but I wouldn't change my experience for anything.  For the first years of college I remember being sure that once college was done, I'd be fleeing Boston. Well, that's definitely not true anymore. My plans are to stay here, and live blissfully with my lobster rolls and green beer.

Although I'm staying here, and I guess not much will change, I thought I'd compile a list of must-dos in Boston. I didn't do much exploring my first few years of college, but more and more I realized how much this city has to offer. You guys should be aware of that too.

(even amy poehler agrees with me)

 Explore the North End, and not just for the Mike's Pastry

I'm a sucker for lobster tails. They're puffy and creamy, and I could easily chow down on like 15 of them. Mike's Pastry, besides its cannolis, is pretty well known for its lobster tails. Even though every time I go to the North End, I run straight to Mike's - I'm telling you to do the exact opposite of that. There is SO much to do in the North End, and Mike's should still be part of it - but not the only part.

Some of you may be a little far to do this, but if your walk is an hour or less, take that chance and walk all the way to the North End. You'll find all these little nook and crannies, and you might just stumble into a restaurant that you wouldn't have otherwise. That's what happened to me when I walked into Trattoria Il Panino. Okay, before you start telling me that this place is well known and that I'm ridiculous for even bringing it up, let me explain myself first. When I walked to the North End over the summer, I went around and through. The back of the trattoria was hidden in this small street, and it looked great, so I walked in. Most trattorias around Boston aren't true Italian. This place isn't like that at all - this is the true Italian. The minute I told them my family was from Italy, they immediately started speaking to me in Italian. Thankfully, I understand some of it (thanks daddy). I got some of the best service I've ever gotten, and I left with a full and happy belly.

(I ate that entire thing)

Because I'm always hungry and apparently an entire skillet of pasta couldn't fill me up, I went looking for dessert. Gigi's was the only gelato place that I could see from a short distance - but don't be lazy like me. Go on a hunt! Gigi's was good, but nothing compared to the true goodness that I found inside of Bova's Bakery. Bova's is a lot like Mike's: you know, the old school traditional bakeries that look straight out of Don Vito's neighborhood. Who knows? You might even bump into a Corleone. But back to the point - Bova's is delicious. You might feel a little lost, because they sell both baked goods and calzones - so do what I did, take the calzone to go, and eat a cannoli (or five).

Non c'è niente come il cibo italiano.

Since you're in the North End, go to the Boston Public Market

I've talked extensively about the Boston Public Market, so I won't go on for long. Moving from the Italian streets of the North End to the market might seem a little weird at first - one is very old school, and the other is a brand new, state of the art indoor market. But you just can't miss this market. You'll most likely be filled to the rim from your five cannolis, but just take a stroll.  You can pick up some flowers, and have a sip of Hopsters Alley's IPA.

Sit and chill by the Charles River

There are many times during my day where (my boyfriend and) I  repeat the line "can you just sit and chill?" And though I hear it repeatedly and attempt to make it my mantra, I don't do it very often (sorry Santi). If you're a coffee chugging, hyperactive nut like me, please follow my next recommendation. Go to the Charles River, and just sit. That's right. Just sit. Okay, don't sit inside the river because that's probably not so safe. There's a walkway around the river that's easily one of the most beautiful sights in Boston. You'll see people running, babies laughing, and couples strolling - seriously, you can't ask for a happier place. There's a dock right around the Hatch Shell. Tie your hair back (because Boston winds are no joke), take out your bag of baby carrots, and post up. You'll clear your head, and leave with some serious peace of mind.

Okay enough of this calm, here comes the storm

Well, it's not really a storm, but I thought that was a nice segway. While you sit on the Charles River dock, you'll probably see a couple kayaks roaming past you. You're not crazy, they're actually there, and they're coming straight from the Charles River Canoe & Kayak. Once Boston decides to stop changing up its weather every other day, you should take a trip down there. I went last summer with one of my best friends, and did absolutely none of the paddling, but it was still a total blast. While he paddled about 300 pounds across the river, I just sat back and tanned. Pretty lovely.

(what a view amirite?)

If you go around 11 or so, my recommendation is to (obviously) pack some snacks. I got real hungry (obviously) and had to cut my tanning escapade short. So if you're trying to just enjoy your day, and have your kayak take you wherever it may, pack a granola bar or a full thanksgiving meal - whatever floats your boat (see what I did there?).

Harvard Square isn't just for Harvard students

That's right. Even though both the T stop and the general area are named after the Ivy League school, you don't have to be a student to go there. I admittedly didn't really know much about HS before I started commuting to work. There is SO much to see there. But I'm going to start with my favorites: Felipe's, Liquiteria, and BerryLine.

Felipe's Taqueria

Almost all yelp reviews say this is the greatest Mexican food in Boston. I'll clarify that right now: it's actually the greatest Mexican food ever. Yes, it's better than Chipotle, it's even better than my hometown honey Lime Mexican Grill (that's a bold statement right there). I don't know what they do in that kitchen, or how the burrito maker goes as fast as he does - but I'm grateful regardless of what their secrets may be. Felipe's made me want to create a time machine, just so that I could keep eating and re-eating my rice-less chicken burrito. It'll get messy because the pico will spill out of the burrito, and through your fingers. But don't you dare waste that - do as your cheeto-finger-licking self would do, and lick away.

Liquiteria

This next one just shows how basic I truly am - this place is a smoothie making, juice pressing joint. There is one almost on every corner in Manhattan, but for some godforsaken reason there is only one here. And just my luck, it's not in my neighborhood (sigh). If you love kale juice and chia pudding, go here and pay $10 for your smoothie. Haha, I know. It's $10 for literally a cup of pressed vegetables, but it'll be the best (and the healthiest) $10 you'll ever spend.

BerryLine

This is my spot in Harvard Square. I shouldn't even be talking about it, because now everyone will flock there. But since I'm a good person and I want BerryLine's sales to boom so they eventually open up in Fenway, I'll tell you how wonderful of a frozen yogurt shop this is. Hands down, this is the best frozen yogurt I've ever had. It's just as smooth, with a hint of creamy as any other froyo joint, but their flavors are so insanely unique. They range from raspberry fudge to lavender honey to caramel toffee to oreo, and almost all of their toppings are homemade. I don't even know what goes into making mochi, and they make it. I'd say don't eat before this so you can try all their baked goods, but I go there straight from Felipe's...(my summer body plan is going well).

(this is the lavender honey topped with coconut, mochi, and strawberries - aka best toppings ever)

I've given you five recommendations for now, and I really do think you should take all of them. I've gone to all of these places personally, and I wouldn't be placing them at the top of my Boston tips list if I didn't love them and appreciate them as much as I do. There are more tips to come, but go on an adventure and try these out for size. 

Bahston's wicked beddah than yah think.

boston strong.

Leap Year: It's Not Just a Movie

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, February 29, 2016

I've seen the movie Leap Year, so in my eyes, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the once-every-four-years leap year. But in the spirit of February 29th, I went ahead and researched it. Turns out, I know nothing about leap year.

(Here's a pic from the movie - such a guilty pleasure)

The truth is, I never really knew why we had leap years - and it's actually pretty simple (well, not really but I'll summarize it). Apparently, a complete orbit of the earth takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete - not 365 days as the Gregorian calendar states. Because of this pretty precise anomaly, leap years are added to the calendars to keep our seasons, and the earth, in sync.

That's the most basic explanation of leap years, but who really wants to talk about orbits of the earth? Let's talk about something a little more interesting - the tradition of women proposing on leap year. We all know that men usually struggle with taking a hint, but apparently this notion dates all the way back to the 5th century. Thanks to an Irish nun named St. Bridget (maybe the OG Bridget Jones?), we have the chance to pop the question every four years. Legend has it, she approached St. Patrick, telling him she simply couldn't keep waiting for her suitors to propose - you go girl.

St. Bridget wasn't the only one fed up with men, Queen Margaret of Scotland also wasn't having it. In 1288, she drafted a law that allowed unmarried women to propose during leap year, and get this: any man who refused, was handed a fine. I guess she was taking Queen Bey's "if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it" pretty seriously. I know this seems a little crazy, because our assumption is that as soon as we get down on one knee, our man will flee (I'm a poet and I don't even know it?), but it's not all that true. According to the UK's The Telegraph, more than half of men, would not only be pleasantly surprised, but would accept the proposal (I always knew the Brits were great). There's some bogus research out there that says Leap Year proposals are more likely to end in failed marriages, because women proposing is "against human nature" (scoff) - but I'd like to beg to differ. If you have the confidence to propose to your man, all the power to you (YAAS QUEEN YAAS).

Proposals aren't the only things to celebrate on Leap Year, but birthdays are pretty important too. Yes, everyday marks somebody's birthday somewhere, but Leap Year birthdays are particularly special. September 29th (my birthday) is obviously the most important birthday day of the year, but February 29th is kind of cool too.

If you're a leap year baby, according to the internet, you should be in Anthony, a small town that borders Texas and New Mexico. What a bore, you may think. Well, you're wrong. Anthony is the leap year capital of the world. Every four years, on February 29th, people from all over the world (I'm not kidding, people come from like Australia, India, even England), meet up. This year, leap babies will be indulging in wine tastings, cowboy reenactments, and a leap-tastic parade.

Taking a trip to the Texas/New Mexico border today may be a little last minute, so if you're reading this and you're a leap baby, there are some real deals you can take advantage of wherever you are.

Caribou Coffee (who knew they sold more than just k-cups?) does it right. It doesn't matter whether you're a leap baby or not, today you can go in and buy one beverage at normal price, and get another for 29 cents. Bear with me, I couldn't figure out why they were charging 29 cents for a coffee - I got it about 15 seconds later.

A large portion of my family is Italian, so saying that I absolutely love Olive Garden is probably sacrilegious. But really, who can resist unlimited salad and breadsticks? I'll tell you who, nemmeno gli italiani (not even the Italians). If you're a leap baby, you can get not only one, but FOUR free desserts on your birthday. Andiamo leap babies!

I'm a dunkin girl. As you know, I love my strawberry frosted donut and caramel-coconut iced coffee (medium with almond milk please!), but I'd switch to Krispy Kreme any day for a box of donuts at $2.29. The only catch is you'll have to first buy a box of donuts at regular price. But come on, 24 donuts for $10.29? Worth it.

Hard Rock Cafe's nachos are my jam (I'm punny aren't I?). Out of pure interest, and definitely stupidity, I decided to look up its nutrition facts. You can indulge in a plate of nachos for a minuscule 1,886 calories, 45 grams of fat, and 65 grams of total carbs. My mouth is watering, so I'll just go ahead and tell you why I'm bringing up their nachos in the first place. If you're a leap baby, you can go into any Hard Rock and devour a free meal. Do yourself a favor: order the nachos and ignore the post-binge stomach pains and regret.

(Had to show you how amazing these are)

The Leap Year deals are pretty never ending, so if you want to drool through them, find them here.

Between some deliciously fattening deals, and the ability to propose, I petition to make February 29th a national holiday.

Gotta go pick up my donuts and find someone with a February 29th birthday now. 


It's Pumpkin Time!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall has just begun in Boston, and it is once again the time to go crazy on consuming pumpkin-inspired products and foods. Recently, Americans have seen the resurgence of pumpkins, and the products range  from pumpkin beers, cookies, donuts, teas, and even Pringles! Furthermore, in the Massachusetts area there are always awesome activities and places to go if you ever want pumpkins or pumpkin inspired foods, so below are a ton of suggestions on how to get your pumpkin fix this fall!

Anyone who loves pumpkins will surely enjoy this first event! The Beacon Hill Neighborhood is celebrating their 10th annual Pumpkin Fest, and from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm you will be able to carve, decorate, and paint pumpkins whilst also enjoying a great meal! Located at 75 Chestnut Street in Boston, the restaurant will have special pumpkin inspired items on their menu such as Harvest Pumpkin Bisque and more! Sounds delicious and this is a great event to take your family, friends and visitors. Find out more here

What better activity is there than going on pumpkin picking adventures just as fall has started? All over Massachusetts, there are tons of family farms where you can go out on to their fields and pick your own pumpkins at your own leisure! Once again, this is a great activity to spend the whole day with your visitors and family members, as not only are you guaranteed to be picking the freshest pumpkins but also at the same time you can soak in the beautiful atmosphere of the different farms. To find a farm near you, click this link for an interactive map 

Another community organized event, bring your entire family to the Mayor's Fall Pumpkin Fest located at the Frog Pond on October 17th, 2015. You can bring your own carved and decorated pumpkin, and they will illuminate and float it on the pond for you to create what will surely be an amazing spectacle at night with all the different pumpkins floating around. Furthermore, there will be refreshments, music, and family orientated activities throughout the day, and best of all it is FREE! 

This blog would not be complete without a list of places where you can satisfy your pumpkin cravings in the greater Boston area! Firstly, there is of course the iconic pumpkin spice latte at participating Starbucks, and also Dunkin Donuts has just introduced the new Pumpkin Macchiato on to their menu, so make sure you check either out when you need some coffee! However, if you are in the mood to support some local brews, make sure you taste the Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee at Polcari's Coffee Shop, located at 105 Salem Street, Boston, MA in the North End!

As the cold weather officially kicks in, people will be swarming for the ultimate comfort foods, which is usually anything with pumpkin flavor in it. Here are some dishes you have to try in the next few months! First off, make sure you head to Juniper if you are in the mood for some dessert. Located on 13 Central Street, Wellesley, MA, their pumpkin cheesecake will surely have you craving more! It is infused with spicy whipped cream, caramel apples, and candied walnuts, which is everything you would want in the fall!

Another pumpkin dish that will serve us well this fall can be found at Prezza, located in the North End at 24 Fleet Street, Boston, MA. Although the Italian food has always been top notch, the thing that sets it apart from other restaurants is the fact that the chef is always prepared for the changing seasons, and hence you must try the pumpkin ravioli, which is served with lobster and mascarpone, brown butter and sage!

Furthermore, when the cold weather starts to hit and all you crave is some nice, warm, soup, head over to Bistro du Midi, located on 272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. A beautiful French restaurant, make sure to try the mushroom consomme which features pureed pumpkin and ricotta cheese, and even more pumpkin that is roasted and used as a garnish in this savory soup!

If you are in the mood to try and cook your own pumpkin inspired dishes, make sure you check out the many farmers markets available to get your hands on the best pumpkins you can find! One market that we recommend is the Boston Public Market, located on 100 Hanover Street. This year long market is guaranteed to have the freshest produce available, and you will be supporting the local farmers by purchasing your produce here! Another farmers market that will offer you some of the best deals on fresh produce is the Haymarket, located on the iconic 96 Blackstone Street. 


Hope everyone has a great fall, and let us know what your favorite pumpkin dishes are!

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Horse

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Chinese New Year is an important traditional holiday in the Chinese culture and is celebrated on the first day of new year according to the lunar-based Chinese calendar. Translated from the modern Chinese name, the new year means Spring Festival, as the celebrations goes from the Chinese New Year's Eve to the 15th day of the next month, also making it the longest Chinese holiday. The tradition is centuries old and was meant to honor ancestors and deities although customs have changed over time. Today the eve of the new year is typically celebrated with an annual family reunion dinner and windows and doors are decorated in red paper-cuts with themes such as longevity and good fortune. Firecrackers and red envelopes containing "lucky money" are given to children in celebration. The color red and firecrackers both symbolize fire which, according to legend, drives away bad luck. Although the new year is traditionally a family holiday, many immigrant families in countries such as the U.S. lack extended family and therefore turn to the community to celebrate which is why it is common to see parades and lion dances in the streets in communities such as Chinatown here in Boston. This year the Chinese New Year begins on Friday, January 31st Want to experience Chinese New Year locally and learn more about one of largest cultural groups in the world? Here are some events that might interest you throughout Boston, whether you traditionally celebrate the Chinese New Year or are just interested in having some culturally enriching fun. Click on the event to be redirected to the official site for more information.

 

Chinese New Year Feast

Organized at the Whole Foods in Dedham Jan. 31st

A demonstration-style class shows you how to make a few classic Chinese dishes that represent prosperity, health, joy, and longevity such as dumplings and beef and broccoli noodles. What could be better than some warm and savory Chinese cuisine to brighten up a cold winter day!


Lunar New Year Festival

Organized by the Peabody Essex Museum on Feb. 1st.

Traditional lion dances, a screening of a film set in Boston's Chinatown, break dancing and swordplay workshops and more! If you don't mind a ride to Salem this event will demonstrate the many sides of the complex traditions involved with the Chinese New Year celebrations for adults and children alike.

Chinese Lion Dance Parade

February 9th from 11am-5pm on Beach St. and other nearby streets in Chinatown

What could be better than watching the annual lion dance parade held in Boston's Chinatown? Totally free, this parade is accessible by the MBTA. Local vendors set out traditional Chinese food along the path of the lion costume as it dances through the streets at the end of the New Years celebrations in mid February. Whether you celebrate the Chinese New Year or are just interested in a lively event and delicious food, this parade is the perfect finale to the vibrant celebration.  To learn more about the Chinese Lion Dance Parade check out images and descriptions of the Boston Discovery Guide from 2013. 

Do you, or have you ever celebrated the Chinese New Year before? How? We want to know

Boston: City of Culture

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, August 22, 2013


Boston is a very lively city, with many lively residents from all walks of life! There are so many different people from all over the world who call our lovely city home. While we do take great pride in our home town, we also give tribute to our roots through various different cultural festivals. At any given time throughout the year, visitors and residents can find many cultural activities in various neighborhoods in the Greater Boston Area. 

Here are just a few examples!



St. Anthony’s Feast 

Each year the people of the North End invite you to celebrate with them as they honor their patrons at the St. Anthony's Feast with colorful parades, religious services, strolling singers, live entertainment and of course an abundance of great Italian and American food.

Begun in 1919, by Italian immigrants from the small town of Montefalcione in Avellino, Saint Anthony’s Feast has become the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England. Named the “Feast of all Feasts” by National Geographic Magazine, this authentic Italian street festival has it all for people of every age: parades, strolling singers, live entertainment, contests and religious services are held daily.

The highlight of the Feast is the ten hour procession of the Statue of Saint Anthony through the streets of the North End accompanied by devotees, numerous marching bands and floats. The Statue of the Saint returns to his chapel as confetti and streamers cascade from the rooftops.


Cambridge Carnival International 

Cambridge Carnival is a colorful and festive celebration rooted in African traditions. This free festival, embarking on its 21st year, is considered a Cambridge Institution, and is the largest festival in Cambridge, with thousands of attendees. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade accompanied by rich rhythmic musicality promoting all types of cultures. Participants can be seen as revelers masquerading through the streets in dazzling handmade costumes, dancing to the beat of the Carnival. The festival is also an opportunity to celebrate Cambridge’s diversity, enjoy international foods, and purchase multicultural crafts from around the world!

What is Carnival? Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.



August Moon Festival 

The August Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most celebrated Chinese holidays. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and Chinese families celebrate the end of the harvest season with a big feast. People go to Chinatown to enjoy mooncakes, which are round pastries filled with lotus seed past. There are dragon and lion dances, whose origins also date back to ancient China.

Here in Boston it’s a big celebration. There is always lots of food and performances—everyone has a lot of fun! In addition to lion dances, there are also Chinese opera performances, martial arts, Chinese dough art, and Chinese folk dancing. If you head into town early, you can enjoy some yummy dim sum before the festival! 

These are only a couple of the cultural events that visitors can find in Boston. The city offers an array of different cultural events daily - you just have to explore! Check out their City of Boston calendar listing for festivals and cultural events around the city.  Have you been to any cultural festivals in Boston? What did you think?


Sources: Wikipedia

Year of the Snake - Chinese New Year

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, February 07, 2013

Lion Dance Parade in Boston
"Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is also known as the 'Spring Festival', the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally ran from Chinese New Year's Day itself, the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month. The evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year". This year's Chinese New Year's Day falls on February 10th. The New Year will be the year of the snake."

"Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year is celebrated in China and in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar New Year celebrations of its geographic neighbors."

Did you know?

  • According to the legend, Chinese New Year began with a battle against a mythical beast called Nian. Nian would always come to terrorize villages on the first day of New Year, eating wild stock, crops and even children. To protect themselves villagers would leave food in front of their doors, with the hope that Nian would be filled. They also noticed he wouldn't eat children wearing red, and was scared by loud noises like firecrackers. As a result villagers would hang red lanterns, make lots of food and light off firecrackers, all Chinese New Year traditions that continue to this day. 
  • The first through 15th days of the New Year all celebrate different things. Some people celebrate the second day as the birthday of all dogs. The eighth day is when people are supposed to resume going to work and school. The 13th day is celebrated by eating all vegetarian food, and in Malaysia and Singapore, the 15th day is marked a sort of eastern Valentine’s Day.
  •  The San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is the oldest and largest event of its kind outside of Asia, and the largest Asian cultural event in North America.
  • In China, so many people travel from urban to rural areas to visit their families for the New Year that their commute is the largest annual migration in the world. 

Chinese New Year's in Boston

Boston has the third largest Chinese community in the U.S, so New Year’s is a time of great celebration! The Chinatown neighborhood is located within the boundaries of Downtown Crossing, the South End and runs adjacent to the Theatre and Leather Districts. It is easy accessible by the Orange Line Chinatown stop. There is no shortage of restaurants available for traditional New Year’s dishes such as dumplings, noodles, and smoked meat.  Nearly every corner has a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal. For a New Year’s favorite, the annual Lion Dance Parade is particularly popular

NOTE: this year’s parade will be held on February 17th, not the 10th! 
source: wikipedia 

Chinese Mooncakes and the Mid-Autumn Festival

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, September 20, 2012


This September 29th Chinese in America will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival,  held during the full moon on the 15th moon day of the 8th lunar month. In the Chinese time zone celebrations will be on September 30th. This holiday has been celebrated for over 3,000 years and, after Spring Festival, is considered the second most important holiday of the year. Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few reunion holidays for Chinese families. On this day, Chinese family members will stay together, admire the full moon and eat mooncakes.

The holiday traces back to moon worship in ancient times, but the tradition of eating mooncakes, now a staple of the celebration, is a little more modern. Legend has it that at the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368, a dynasty ruled by the Mongols), the Han people's army wanted to overthrow the rule of Mongols. They planned an uprising, but they had no way to inform every Han people who wanted to join them without being discovered by the Mongols. One day, the military counselor of the Han people's army, Liu Bowen, thought out a stratagem related to mooncakes. Liu Bowen asked his soldiers to spread the rumor that there would be a serious disease in winter and eating mooncakes was the only way to cure the disease. He then asked soldiers to write "uprising, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival" on slips of paper, put them into mooncakes and then sell them to common Han people. When the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival came a huge uprising broke out. From then on, people have eaten mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate the uprising.


Today typical Chinese mooncakes are round in shape, and measure around 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches in thickness. Most mooncakes consist of a thin tender skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges shared by family members. They are generally served with Chinese tea, and very rarely, mooncakes are served steamed or fried.

Mooncakes are the must-eat food for the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was customary for woman to prepare mooncakes at home when the festival was approaching. However, as the production is labor-intensive and they are widely available in markets, very few people make them at home nowadays. The price of mooncakes usually ranges from $ 10 (70 yuan) to $ 50 (340 yuan) for a box of four. However, very expensive mooncakes have appeared recently with some reaching thousands of yuan for a box.

The fillings of mooncakes vary by region and tradition. Some common flavors include:

Lotus seed paste (莲蓉, lían róng): It is made from dried lotus seeds. Lotus seed paste is considered by some people the most delicious and luxurious filling for mooncakes.

Sweet bean paste (豆沙, dòu shā): There are several types of sweet bean paste: mung bean paste, red bean paste and black bean potato paste. Red bean paste is the most commonly used filling for mooncakes.

Some regional styles include:

Cantonese-style mooncakes

Cantonese-style mooncakes originate from South China's Guangdong Province. The ingredients used in the fillings are various, which reflects the Guangdong people's adventurous nature in eating.  The most used ingredients include lotus seed paste, melon seed paste, ham, chicken, duck, roast pork, mushrooms, and egg yolks. Cantonese-style mooncakes taste sweet.

Beijing-style mooncakes

This style is the typical variation in North China. It originated in Beijing and Tianjin. It features the delicate use of sweetness, moderate allotment of skin and fillings, and meticulous decoration. The common proportion of skin and fillings for Beijing-style mooncakes is 4:6. 

Modern mooncakes have taken on all kinds of unusual and luxurious flavors:

Ice cream mooncakes: These are made of ice cream, and made to look like mooncakes. They have become increasingly popular in recent years among young people and kids.

Seafood mooncakes: These are the most expensive mooncakes. They feature a fresh and slightly salty flavor. Commonly used fillings include: abalone, shark fin and dried purple seaweed.

Health food mooncakes: Health food mooncakes are a style of cake that is meant to benefit people's health. They are made of many healthy ingredients such as ginseng, calcium, medicated food and other things that are good for health.

Mooncakes are easy to find in Boston, especially if you’re in Chinatown. We recommend the Super 88 in Allston, or if you go down to Chinatown Hing Shing Pastry or Ho Yuen Bakery. Throughout Chinatown on the weekend of the 29th the residents will be celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. Invite your visitor to share this cultural event with you, and remember to share your stories with Global Immersions!  

Reblogged from: Chinahighlights.com, Chineseforturecalendar.com  

Taiwanese Food!

Global Immersions - Friday, June 22, 2012

In preparation for our upcoming group of Taiwanese visitors attending TALK Language School, we’ve been thinking a lot about Taiwanese foods. A world apart from the lo mein or sushi available on nearly every block, Taiwanese food is an often underrated slice of Asian cuisine. In Taiwan the idea is to eat small and often, and street side “boa’s” dedicated to snacking are always busy. From the easily found “bubble tea” to the more rare “stinky tofu,” Taiwanese food has a lot to offer. Here are some of the crowd favorites:

Braised pork rice (滷肉飯)

Taiwanese love their lurou fan, so much so that the capital city of Taipei launched a “braised pork rice is ours” campaign last year after Michelin’s Green Guide Taiwan claimed that the dish is from Shandong Province in mainland China. A good bowl of lurou fan has finely chopped, not quite minced, pork belly, slow-cooked in aromatic soy sauce with five spices. There should be an ample amount of fattiness, in which lies the magic.

The meat is spooned over hot rice.  

A little sweet, a little salty, the braised pork rice is comfort food perfected.

Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎)

 Taiwanese food

Here's a snack that really showcases the tastes of Taiwan. You've got something from the sea and something from the soil.

The eggs are the perfect foil for the little oysters easily found around the island, while sweet potato starch is added to give the whole thing a gooey chewiness -- a signature Taiwan food texture.

No wonder it was voted best snack to represent the island in a poll of 1,000 Taiwanese by Global Views Monthly in 2007.

Bubble tea (珍珠奶茶)

Bubble tea is representative of the "QQ" food texture that Taiwanese love and has found a solid following in America as well. The cute-sounding phrase refers to something that is very chewy, just like the tapioca balls that are the "bubbles" in bubble tea.

It is said that this unique drink was invented out of boredom. Liu Han-Chieh threw some sweetened tapioca pudding into her iced Assam tea on a fateful day in 1988 and one of the greatest Taiwanese exports was born.

Bubble tea is easy to find in Boston. Try it out at Infusions Tea Spa (110 Brighton Ave), Lolicup (219 Quincy Ave) or Leisure Station (625 W Kendall St).

Stinky tofu (臭豆腐)

Taiwanese food 

This is the world's best love-it-or-hate-it snack and Taiwan does it just right. 

The "fragrant" cube of bean curd is deep-fried and draped with sweet and spicy sauce. If you hold your nose, it looks and tastes just like a plain ol' piece of fried tofu, with a crisp casing and soft center like pudding. Breathe deeply and your nose will tell you another story.

Want to try these delicacies? Here are some top rated Taiwanese restaurants in Boston:

Taiwan Café, 34 Oxford St, Chinatown (617) 426-8181

Jo Jo TaiPei, 103 Brighton Ave, Allston (617) 254-8889

Gourmet Dumpling House, 52 Beach St, Chinatown (617) 338-6223

MuLan, 228 Broadway, Cambridge (Kendall/MIT) (617) 441-8812

For more information about Taiwanese food read “40 Taiwanese Foods We Can’t Live Without” by Hiufu Wong available at http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093?hpt=hp_bn5

Sources:http://www.yelp.com/c/boston/taiwanese;  

http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093?hpt=hp_bn5;



Memorial Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 24, 2012

On the last Monday of every May, Americans across the country celebrate the federal holiday, Memorial Day. Originally observed to remember the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War, the holiday is now a day of remembrance for all fallen American soldiers in wars. 



This Monday, May 28th, many Americans will visit cemeteries and memorials to honor those who have died in the American Armed Forces. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is also a day when families and individuals decorate graves and cemeteries with American flags. For many Americans, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer season. Many celebrate the holiday by  having barbeques, picnics, parades, and family gatherings. 

If you are in Boston for Memorial Day, visit Boston.com for more information on events going on around the city!

Sources:

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