I was impressed by the development and organization of Shanghai.
What they show to us has nothing to do with the generalised idea of China.
We had to look at the small narrow roads, to see the old China living, according to the expected standards, but in good harmony with the construction boom all over.
A street for leisurely enjoyment
Hengshan Road in Shanghai is only 2 km.long, but on both of its sides are several dozens of big and small amusement facilities. It is, therefore, known as a street of leisurely enjoyment. The street is an avenue with European atmosphere. There are luxuriant French planes on both sidewalks and many buildings of European-style architecture of the ‘20s and ‘30s. In the evening, many well-dressed people and young people in fashionable clothing come here to take a walk, play chess or cards in the tea club, have a drink in the bar , while listening to music spend some time in the bowling room or discotheque, enjoying themselves freely. Nice and fashionable
Tasty shengjian dumplings on Wujiang Road
I ate at Yang’s Fry Dumplings one evening during a visit to Shanghai in May 2008.
This popular little restaurant has two outlets practically next door to each other on the bustling food street of Wujiang Road. Whenever I passed by late in the afternoon or early in the evening there were dozens of people queueing to be served, as well as a handful of tables inside that were always occupied. I took this to be a good sign and so, late one evening, when there was no queue, I stopped by for a late night snack.
I had seen dozens of people ordering the local speciality dumplings (known as “shengjian”) and carrying them away in boxes or carrier bags. I had seen the dumplings being produced and cooked just inside the restaurant in full view of the customers, and they looked very tempting!
There was no English menu and the lady at the counter spoke no English. I didn’t know if there were different types of dumplings available, or if they just produced one standard type. I pointed at a large frying pan full of dumplings, smiled and held up 3 fingers to indicate the number of dumplings that I wanted. The lady held up 4 fingers, and I assumed that she was telling me that they were priced at 4 Yuan each, so I smiled again and nodded.
As my dumplings were being loaded into polystyrene containers and then into a carrier bag it became obvious that the language barrier had led to me buying far more dumplings than I required! The price of 4 Yuan was not for a single dumpling, but for a PORTION of dumplings. The 12 Yuan (1 GBP) that I handed over thus bought me not 3 dumplings, but 3 portions of 4 dumplings – ie 12 dumplings!
I took my dumplings away and began to devour them. Upon biting into the first dumpling, my hand was covered in a large splash of hot liquid. Unbeknown to me, Shanghai’s famous dumplings are filled not only with minced pork but also with gelatine which melts down into a tasty broth once cooked. I learned from my mistake and was more careful on eating the next one. The dumplings were very well cooked, served piping hot and topped with sesame seeds and green chillies. Although they were very tasty, 12 dumplings were far too many after I’d already had an evening meal, so a fair few of them remained uneaten.
You can read an interesting account of Yang's Fry Dumplings HERE
Yang’s Fry Dumplings is a great place to try Shanghai’s local speciality shengjian dumplings! This place is almost always busy, but it’s well worth joining the queue of hungry customers! Recommended!
Nanjing Walking Street
The Nanjing Road is popular walking street for the local and a must spot for Shanghai's visitors. Its clustered with shopping stores, cafe and restaurants. Go there before it gets dark and stroll along the street till late evening. This whole street will be blazed with colorful neon lights. Make you feel like being in Hong Kong.
I have never experienced a culture shock in the countries i've visited thus far. Shangai is the first. It's ironical that although being a chinese, i would actually suffer a culture shock here, in another chinese land.
There's no doubt Shanghai is fast becoming a vibrant and happening city. But the people are still lacking of basic etiquette. I had to commute daily using the public bus from my sister's apartment to the city. So everyday, i witnessed the crude behaviour of the people. Their pushing and clambering up the bus. Their shouting and spitting. The young bullying the old over the seats. And eevryday, i would hear arguments on the buses i travelled on. The louder one is, the greater the chance of getting your way.
And as i walked the streets in the city, lost and seeking help, i only received rude stares and cold silent treatment. Otherwise, i practically had to run after them to hear their replies! It's totally exasperating!
The only truly enjoyable experience i had is the food. Delectable!
A pretty waterside town which lies somewhat between Shanghai and Suzhou. Very pretty but also feels kinda too 'made for the tourist'.