With the Chinese Super League on hiatus until Friday, Beijing Renhe's Zvjezdan Misimovic took time in the off-season to visit former club Wolfsburg.
The attacking midfielder won the Bundesliga in 2008-09 with Wolfsburg and racked up a massive 20 assists that season, earning himself a move to Dynamo Moscow before making the switch to Guizhou Renhe, now Beijing Renhe, in 2013.
And, with top players moving to the Asian country in force due to the level of wealth available to sign big names, German outlet Kicker was eager to hear Misimovic's take on the cultural shift as someone who moved before the boom.
“Everything is different,” said the German-born Bosnia international. “The mentality, the organisation – and especially the food.
“You can't compare the food to Chinese restaurants [in Germany]. It's not exactly top-notch nutrition. For example, we ate lobster and carbohydrates before matches.”
The 34-year-old said team-mate Sejad Salihovic had a particularly hard time adjusting, and ate only rice and pasta for a long time.
“If you don't know what it is and what it could be, you like to stick with the stuff you're familiar with.”
Misimovic added that food isn't the only difference in China, however, with the physical recuperation being handled in ways he would never have imagined, while trips between domestic matches can also cause massive frustration for a newcomer to the country.
“Our doctors at Renhe, for example, focus on traditional Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture,” he said. “That doesn't help in football, but it's going to change.
“The standard flight should be three hours. But there are so many delays that sometimes you were happy to only be travelling for seven or eight hours. Sometimes we'd travel for two days before matches.”