PWD Register

A relatively new city, Changchun began as a small trading outpost, but began to expand rapidly as the junction between the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway, and the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway. Today, the city's major industries are the motor vehicle manufacture, electronics and food processing.

Through swift growth, Changchun has become the second city in China's northeast, and is the capital of Jilin province. Just across the border from Korea, the city has a definite Korean cultural element, with Koreans forming the second largest ethnic group in Jilin, after the Han Chinese.

Changchun has a number of local products that are unique and representative of Jilin and the surrounding area. Among the most interesting are the examples of local woodcarving. With a history that can be dated to over 2000 years, Jilin woodcarving often uses root clusters as the media. This leads to interesting shapes and patterns in the wood grain, and beautiful finished pieces. Other local products are ginseng and deer antler, both used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ginseng particularly, is sought after all over the world, and is known for fetching high prices, especially the ginseng found around Changbai Mountain. It is also used in northeastern cooking, and imparts a distinctive local flavor to dishes here.

The cuisine of Jilin and the northeast of China take influence from a number of sources. The cold climate and long winters have caused a rich starchy style of food to develop, with distinctive Korean flavors, imported from across the border. While typical ingredients are used in this style of cooking, there are a number of more exotic ones as well, with dishes based on bear paw, snow toad and deer tail being popular, often served at weddings and banquets. The bar scene in Changchun is not as frenetic as in major Chinese cities, but some might see this as a good thing! Longli Lu is the place to go to find a bar to suit your taste and budget.

Though there are four distinct seasons here, the spring and autumn are fairly short, with long humid summers and long snowbound winters. January minimums average -23C (-9F), and July maximums 27C (81F). When traveling to this region of China, it is imperative that you are prepared for all forms of weather throughout the year, especially if you are heading to the mountains: weather changes fast there, and a balmy day can turn to a freezing gale in a couple of hours.
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