Ask Beijing Today is our weekly attempt to make life in China less confusing. Whether it’s tracking down the papers to apply for a Chinese green card, dealing with KTV-crazy neighbors or finding the best buy on saffron, we are happy to help.

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This Week…

Q. What is a good restaurant to get Thanksgiving dinner in Beijing this year? It’s three weeks away, and some of the international places I’ve been to that served it are apparently closed.

A. Here are some recommendations for Thanksgiving dinner in Beijing that we found on the Travel and Leisure website:

This popular Xingfucun brasserie is pulling out all the stops, serving a honey agave-glazed turkey with red wine gravy. Turkey portions are available for small tables of two or three people all the way up to groups of 14.

For dessert, there’s pumpkin empanada with salted caramel ice cream topped with peppercorn honey. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, or a pint of Jing A craft beer (from $28 for a small turkey for two to three)

The Big Smoke Bistro
Lee World Building, 57 Xingfucun Zhong Lu, Chaoyang
(010) 6416 2683

If you’re planning to visit 798 Art District, FEAST’s Thanksgiving dinner would make the perfect end to the day. Located on the second floor of a stylish business hotel, the airy all-day restaurant is hosting a relatively restrained and reasonably priced affair, with pumpkin soup to start, roast turkey with chestnut and herbed bread stuffing for the main event, and pecan pie for dessert ($30 per person).

FEAST by EAST Beijing
22 Jiuxianqiao Bei Lu, Chaoyang
(010) 8426 0888

Great Leap Brewing
For the fifth year running, Great Leap is throwing a Thanksgiving bash “with socialist principles,” as put by founder Carl Setzer. The original Doujiao Hutong branch will be the scene of a potluck where the brewery supplies a deep-fried turkey and guests bring sides (free for anyone who brings a side to share).

6 Doujiao Hutong, Dongcheng
(010) 5717 1399

For more options, visit Travel and Leisure’s website:

Q. I have been working as a full-time teacher at a language school for four years. Due to personal reasons, I gave my boss notice in early August that I will terminate my contract with the school. Now, after almost two months, the boss refuses to give me my release papers and is threatening me with being deported back to my country. Any advice?

A. If you have worked legally with a Work Permit (WP) and Foreign Expert Certificate (FEC) and didn’t violate the contract, “deportation talk” is bluff. We’d say you contact the State Administration of Foreign Expert Bureau for help and advice. By Chinese law, your employer is required to submit the FEC Cancelation Certificate in 30 days after your last working day.

Q. My son is in Beijing. I am currently in the United States. Are there any online vendors from China who actually ship items to an address in China? I would like what I order to be delivered to him in Beijing. Currency would be dollars.

A. We would like to recommend two of the most popular online vendors in China:

Both websites are in Chinese, but if you open them in the Google Chrome browser, it will translate the information in your requested language.

Q. Sooner or later I will have to attend a Chinese funeral. What are the do’s and don’ts for this? I’m guessing black is out and white is in for starters.

A. The grieving etiquette of the Chinese differs from many other cultures. Although the Chinese do follow much of the same traditions as Western burials, there are still significant differences. Here are some instructions:

  1. Write a note expressing your sadness for the loss of the deceased. If you knew the deceased well, it is appropriate to write about a special memory. You could include a verse or poem, either composed by you or copied from another source, along with your note.
  2. Wear conservative clothing to the viewing or funeral. Black or dark colors are not required but are acceptable. The family usually wears white, which is the color associated with sadness. Wearing red to a Chinese funeral is considered extremely poor taste because red is associated with happiness and prosperity.
  3. Remove your shoes before entering if the funeral is in a temple. Doing so is a sign of respect for the building, the deceased and his or her family.
  4. Bow when you approach the family and/or view the body. Nothing needs to be said. You do not need to shake hands. The simple bow will convey your condolences very well.
  5. Place poems, calligraphy or a gift of money in or near the casket. This honors the deceased. If you give money, never give an even amount. For example, instead of leaving $10 or $52, leave $11 or $53. Odd amounts cannot be divided equally between two people. One person will always have more than the other. The symbolism behind leaving an odd amount of money is that you are wishing the best for the deceased and the family.
  6. Send white or yellow flowers. Gifts of flowers are common at Chinese funerals in the same way that people give food or flowers at a Western funeral. Make sure the florist understands not to use any red flowers, a red vase or any red decorations in the arrangement.
  7. Open the white envelope that the family may have distributed. Some families give a small piece of candy in a white envelope to each person at the funeral. This is to remind people that life has its sweetness among the bitterness. When you remove the candy, immediately discard the white envelope, which represents sadness.

Q. I’m waiting to receive a package, which was sent through the US Postal Service from the United States to Changchun. It’s already the 14th day, and I still haven’t received it. Do you have any suggestions?

A. You should have a tracking number. Otherwise email USPS customer service with all the details, and they might be able to track it down. When your package enters China, it will be handled by China Post, which is notorious for either being super late or losing your stuff. Next time you’d better use FedEx or US Global Mail. They are more expensive but promise you a traceable express service.

Yang Xin

About Yang Xin

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Yang Xin is a '90s girl who is obsessed with music, tennis, reading and pretty boys. She hopes her life and career will take her around the world.

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