In 2006, a novel named "Foot Capital" brought the foot massage culture of Changsha before the whole country. Originated in the northeast of China, foot massage flourished unexpectedly in Changsha.
There is a joke circulating in Changsha: "If you throw a brick down in Beijing, it will hit an official; in Shanghai, it will hit a multimillionaire; in Changsha, it will likely hit two people on their way to the foot massage centre." If you need recommendations, your Changsha friends will probably ask you to hang a map of Changsha on the wall and throw a dart. No matter where you throw, the dart will most likely land on a foot massage place.
The vast number of foot massage centres in Changsha also means more competition. From Thai style to Chinese style, back massage to foot massage – merchants have been fighting in these niche areas for so long that they are now moving to compete in other peripheral services. Some of the centres provide karaoke, movies, card games, tea and accommodation for the customers. Of all forms of additional services, Changsha's foot massage centres now face a fierce rivalry over their food. Each famous brand has its unique delicacy. Changsha's best food is now hidden in foot massage centres instead of those internet-famous stores by the street.
This article will introduce to you six highly recommended foot massage brands in Changsha, together with their signature dishes.
1. The internet-famous: Golden Impression (Jinse Yinxiang)
As a Chongqing enterprise that entered Changsha in 2018, Golden Impression successfully won a spot with its excellent marketing. It is being recommended everywhere on social media platforms such as Xiaohongshu, Dianping, and Tik Tok, which is why locals deride it as a place to hoodwink tourists. None of Golden Impression stores accept online or phone reservations. It is therefore normal to queue and wait there for more than one hour or two. However, you may order your food before your turn.
With over 40 food choices, beef rice noodles and steamed rice with beef are the best. The meat dumplings in spicy sauce is also a must-try. It is worth mentioning that all the delicacies there are free, and you can enjoy them at any time.
2. The professional blind massage: Yeahcome
The owner of this local franchise is also blind. Founded in 1997, it now has its own specialized chiropractic hospital and the largest blind massage training school in central and southern China. Its selling point is markedly different from other foot massage centres.
However, this professional foot massage centre provides customers with a surprisingly detailed menu, with food options ranging from desserts to mains, from tonic soups to famous local snacks. Yeahcome's braised food is more authentic than any other local restaurant in Changsha. For dinner, try their braised pork rice or potted rice. The dessert there is also highly recommended. A cup of green been slush will quench your thirst in the summer.
3. The countrified: Sixi Fuqiao
Sixi Fuqiao is often jokingly ridiculed for its aesthetic. At the entrance, we see statues of Buddha's heads together with a Napoleon painting. The designer also decided to use Greek stone pillars to complement a room with Guanyin’s statue, the goddess of mercy in Chinese mythology.
The technicians in Sixi Fuqiao immerse themselves in their work and seldom hard-sell any additional services, unlike how most foot massage centres function.
When it comes to food, you will be pleasantly surprised that this traditional foot massage centre used to sell wonton as its primary business. The wontons they serve are fresh and tender, receiving many compliments from the customers.
4. The strictest technician assessment: Wuwei
Wuwei, a brand from the Jiangxi Province, has been in Changsha for many years. To motivate the technicians, the centre has established a hierarchical technician assessment system. Newcomers must undergo a month of training up to ten hours a day and pass five exams before formally starting work. Wuwei also tests the technician's technique and understanding of human body structure from time to time. Afterwards, the centre will classify the technicians into different levels according to their performance. The lowest level technicians are known as "normal technicians", while the highest-level technicians are called "professors". This hierarchical assessment system motivates technicians to
Wuwei is known for its authentic traditional Changsha snack, which has rice noodles mixed with lard. Its braised rice noodle and steamed dumplings are also worth a try.
5. The luxurious palace: Qianshen Guizu
Qianshen Guizu impresses its customers with its luxurious decors. Almost every centre is as lavish as a palace, with spacious rooms and expensive-looking furniture. Technicians here are carefully picked, and they are said to have the best salary in Changsha's foot massage industry. All female technicians are dressed in a delicate cheongsam and pleasantly interact with customers. This is an ideal place for business entertainment.
Although limited in choices, Qianshen Guizu offers its customers delicate food as part of its quality service. According to some of its customers: "The food there is tasty, and the fruits are expensive and fresh. It is worth the price."
6. The top-rated: JoinComeLife (Jiankang Daolai)
JoinComeLife has won praise for its friendly price and excellent service. Founded in 2008, the brand has captured the hearts of the picky Changsha residents and accumulated a huge fanbase for its service. As soon as you walk in, you will be warmly greeted by a receptionist asking you if you want to dine in. The technician also pays attention to your food preferences while massaging. The customer service will push the food cart around from time to time, and you are free to try out anything. From sweet rice dumplings to cold noodles, the full range of cuisines can definitely satisfy your cravings.
The foot massage culture in Changsha unites people from all walks of life, and it is known as the best place for someone to relax. Imagine yourself lying on a bed, enjoying tasty food, watching your favourite movie while having your muscles relaxed – what more could one ask for?