Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Shanghai Round-up

Well another visit to Shanghai is coming to an end. I've been a bit slack with the pictures this time, but I have definitely made up for it in dining out! In the last 18 days, I have managed to have only 4 lunches and 3 dinners at home (well my parent's home.)

So here is a list of my favourite things this time...

Best Street Food

Smearing the egg over the thin crepe

Without a doubt it has to be jian bing. Traditionally a breakfast food, it can be found everywhere, particularly in wet markets which is where I bought mine.   For a measly 3 yuan (50 cents) you get a beautiful thin crepe which is smeared with an egg, spring onions, coriander, chilli paste (optional), a brown sauce (mine was soybean paste but hoisin can be used) and in the centre a fried dough cracker is placed. The result - a delicious combination of soft and crunchy, salty, sweet and spicy and is just an all round delicious breakfast.

Tastiest 'new' ingredient

That's right - century egg! I never thought i would say it. However, century egg adds a whole new taste to a dish. This cold dish in particular with tofu, century egg and pickles was particularly delicious!

Best 'western price' restaurant

Unsurprisingly it's got to be Ultraviolet however, some other favourites were:

Mr & Mrs Bund (visited it a second time)
Lost Heaven - a beautiful Yunnan restaurant

Best 'local price' restaurant

HL Sushi which is next door! Complete with sushi train it has a great selection for an unbelievably cheap price!

Best new discovery




Although I went to two water towns,  Suzhou and Luzhi, both which were great, I prefered Luzhi due to its smaller streets and lack of tourists. Both were stunning though and I'd highly recommend visiting at least one water town during a visit to Shanghai. 

Best Garden

Yu Garden - no, not all the little shops crowded with tourists, the walled garden inside the area. Remarkably this garden is tranquil, despite being located in one of the craziest parts of Shanghai.

However I should mention Lu Xun park which is near the Hongkou Stadium. It is definitely worth a visit on the weekends when all the locals congregate for tai chi, karaoke, badminton, singing, musical instrument playing, kite flying, whip cracking, martial arts and anything else you could think of! It is a huge park, complete with a lake in the middle where you can hire motor boats and go for a joy ride. The highlight of this place for me (and one of the strangest things I saw) was two men, who every time we walked past, played Jingle Bells on their harmonicas, complete with amplifiers. Hilarious.

Best Coffee

...Ummm well this is China so you have the option of Starbucks, Costa, Gloria Jeans etc. Not exactly coffee heaven although Wagas makes a decent latte. However the best coffee goes to Dad's Nespresso machine. Ever reliable and always on hand! 

Best Purchase

Definitely my fake glasses (although Mum and Dad may disagree)

The fake market underneath the Science and Technology Centre is always good for a visit for bags, shoes, accessories, pearls, iphone stuff etc but it is definitely hit and miss. One of my bags lasted about a week, another I have had for over a year so choose wisely!

Weirdest Shop

Fake food anyone?!?!?!?!?!

Places to avoid

The Shanghai tourist tunnel which goes under the Huangpu river from the bottom of Nanjing Lu to Lujiazui. It is a huge rip off and involves getting in a glass trolley (like a cable car) and going through a tunnel full of different coloured lights. I wasn't expecting great things, and to help improve the experience I had had a few cocktails but even then it wasn't great. Definitely avoid.

If you are looking for a nice way to cross the river from Pudong to Puxi or vice versa i'd suggest getting a ferry - for only 2 yuan it's the cheapest way to get across and you have a very nice view along the way.

Also to avoid - Crystal Jade restaurant. Maybe it is what we order but i've been there twice and never really enjoyed the food. It's a Cantonese chain which suits banquet-style eating but with so many other fabulous restaurants around, I wouldn't bother.

 So another trip to Shanghai is coming to an end - off to Hong Kong tomorrow for a week then back to freezing Melbourne. Given that it was 38-40 degrees for the first 10 days I was here and now it is in the low 30s, I think i'm going to feel the cold!

Sarah xx