There is something about the Bund that gives Shanghai a special feel, like catching a glimpse of the Eiffel tower in Paris or walking on the Brooklyn bridge with the Manhattan skyline in plain view.
During my stay in Shanghai, I just kept going back for a stroll on the Bund and I decided to find a place to eat on the Bund. The restaurant Jean-Georges located at No 3 in the Union Building immediately caught my attention.
I really don’t need a lot of convincing and arm twisting in order to go try a new dumpling shop. Nanxiang steamed bun restaurant is probably one of the most famous restaurant in Shanghai. After watching an episode of No Reservations, I knew I really had to try this place.
Is it food? Is it delicious torture? I guess that Yang’s Fry-Dumpling could fall in both categories. Let’s make one think clear from the get go, I like my food spicy, but before coming to Shanghai I had never dealt with food so “molten lava” hot.
Yang’s Fry-Dumpling wins the palm for the hottest food in Shanghai. This shengjianbao dumpling restaurant is a Shanghai institution and comes highly recommended all over the internet so I was really curious to get a taste of these famous dumplings.
There is a considerable dose of irony in eating ramen in China. Ramen which most people would consider typical Japanese fast food was introduced from China a long time ago and it’s seem to have been around for enough time that most people forgot it’s origin. Ramen in contemporary Japan is still refer as ch?ka soba or basically Chinese soba.
It’s now possible to find 86 Ajisen ramen franchises in the city of Shanghai and on my second day in the city, I must have ran into 4 or 5 restaurants so I was intrigued. How would the journey back to the homeland taste? I was expecting a carbon copy of a carbon copy but who knows? Fake watches, fake ramen, let’s find out!
I doubt this is politically correct, but I left for Shanghai humming the tune “I Like Chinese” by the Monty Python. I briefly studied the city of Shanghai at university when I took an intro to urban studies, so I was always curious to see this city with my own eyes. China is moving fast and I was becoming afraid that I would not be able to catch a glimpse of Shanghai with it’s old shikumen (traditional 2 or 3 stories buildings) since they are being destroyed at an alarming rate.
I had 2 other reasons to visit Shanghai. First, the Shanghai Expo 2010 will be over this October and secondly I wanted to eat real Chinese food in China. My conception of Chinese food like almost everybody has been dictated by the worldwide interpretation of original homeland dishes by the ever-growing diaspora of Chinese chefs.
A first meal in a new city or a new country is like a first kiss. Would it be something memorable or just a speed bump on the road to unfulfilled desires.
I took the Maglev train into the center of Shanghai, nothing like a futuristic floating train to put you in the mood. Finding my hotel on East Jingling Road turned out to be a lot easier than I expected. Shanghai is pretty easy to navigate with its grid design.
From my hotel, my first destination was the Bund with its view on the hyper-modern Pudong skyline.