I'm an alien worker here in USA. This happens a lot when I start chit-chatting with a stranger, he/she would ask "Where're you from?" "China" I say. Then chances are the following question would be "Which part of China are you from?"
I never figured out the best answer to the "which part" question. I guess average Americans don't know world geography as good as the rest of world knows about America, so why bother asking "which part"?
Then I thought this might just be a polite way of keeping on the conversation. Sometimes I tried to give a specific answer like my province or the nearby famous city, but almost always got a "I don't know where the heck is that and not interested in knowing" face. Otherwise, I'd just give a general direction like Southeast, but that makes me feel I'm being too perfunctory to the nice guy. Either way, the topic is quickly switched over with a bit of awkwardness.
What do Americans expect when asking the "which part" question? Is there a short yet nice way of answering that question without having to give a geography lecture?