Sunday, September 26, 2010

Discovering Shanghai

Shanghai 'The Must See' View

Believe me that Shanghai has always been in the list of 'Cities I Want to Visit' besides London, NY and Paris. I hope you can imagine the excitement of having that struck off in the checklist, I could... but I guess I'm happy it's now off the list as I did not enjoy the city as much as I thought I would.

1. Shanghai's MUST See

Monument to The People's Hero at The Bund

It's a developed modern city, big cosmopolitan, boasting a 19 million population, tourists flocking from left right middle up and down... but that's about it.

The 'Famous' Bund at night

I do enjoy and am glad to have finally been able to visit The Bund, or known as 'Waitan' in Chinese. It is a stretch of 52 beautiful architectural buildings housing some of the most important agencies such as consulates and banks with a mix of architectural influence and styles such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Art Deco, Romanesque and Beaux-Arts. Cliched but true that if you've never visited The Bund, then you've never truly been to Shanghai!

2. Shanghai Streets

People everywhere!

If you have Anthropophobia which translates to 'fear of people', then Shanghai is not the place for you. Why? Above picture explains it all. Before embarking to Shanghai, we were abit afraid that communication will be a big problem as it's a known fact that Shanghainese has a different lingo but we were surprised to find out that there aren't much 'original' Shanghainese around, most service staff are from other parts of China (much less similar like KL, where most KL-ites here are from all over M'sia), so we did scrape through with the language.

Anthropophobic yet?

Shanghai streets are typically flooded with people especially the more famous areas like The Bund stretch and shopping areas (Nanjing Rd).

Nanjing Road

For shopping, Nanjing Rd is the most famous. Here, you'll find big and small brands but honestly- I could walk the whole street but still can't find anything to buy cos it's expensive even after conversion! For a city as big as Shanghai, I could only manage a grey basic tee from MNG. Oh woe is me.

* I was told that counterfeits and fake goods are sold in different areas, Nanjing Rd is for the more upmarket.

3. Shanghai Food

Xiao Long Bao is synonymous to Shanghai as Tom Yum is to Thailand. I had wanted to try the apparently world-famous Nanxiang Xiao Long Bao (believe it made a short entry to M'sia once at The Curve but exited soon after) but we were told by a M'sian friend on a 6-month internship stint in Shanghai not to waste stomach space at Nanxiang, there's a much better one just across the outlet in In Point Mall @ Wu Jiang Lu.

The outlet's called 'Yang's Fried Dumpling' and has an unmistakable pink signboard with long queue. Our friend said he usually gets his lunch here, takeaway of 6 dumplings at a time, cheap, tasty and filling. The skin base is crispy as it is pan fried and has a juicy pork meat filling, similar to xiao long bao, expect to slurp on loads of piping hot broth! At only 5 Yuan (or RM2.50) for 4 pieces of these yummy dumplings, Yang's Fried Dumpling is a MUST TRY.

Having a guide around is really useful as you don't have to waste stomach space for bad food! Before we had Yang's Fried Dumplings, our friend brought us to a round of seafood feasting which comes in trays and eat till you drop. I can't remember where it is exactly but it seems that the whole street offers the same thing. We feasted on mini lobsters, clams, abalone, mussels, grilled meat and more seafood... and it's only apt to finish the feast off with a Tsingtao. It's cheap too!

Cold noodles, wanton soup and streetside lamb satay

Assorted noodles and kebab in mantou

More dumplings and porky noodles

We chanced upon 'Shanghai First Food Store on Nanjing Rd and was really excited about it but I was really disappointed as there wasn't much in the building except a food court, supermarket and some fast food restaurants. So I wouldn't recommend coming here and don't even waste your time.

4. English, anyone?

Cliocoddie haha

No China experience will be complete without some laughs on their English translations. I supposed things have really improved since the Beijing Olympics and now the World Expo, in fact I am really surprised that most signboards on the streets and metro have an English translation to make it easier for us tourists but most eating places only have menus in Chinese, you'll be lucky if there're pictures you can point to while ordering! If not, McD's is always the safest ;-)

Next up....

Stay tune if you want to have a sneak peek of what's inside the M'sian Pavillion and the Shanghai World Expo 2010 ;-)

* awesome photos brought to you by calvingsc
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