One evening, Hubby came home and asked me, “Would you like to spend the weekend in Shanghai?” That’s my husband…he’ll surprise you with questions like this! Doing some quick mental planning, I asked how long we’d be there – about 5 days. I said, “Let’s go!”
Luckily, there are loads of cheap flights for domestic travel within China (sometimes as much as 50% discount) and our friends in Shanghai would put us up in their aparment 🙂
Getting off the airport, I was stunned to see 4-5 long rows of travellers lining up for taxis! Then, Hubby told me that the city of Shanghai’s population (19 million) has just a few people short of the population of Malaysia (25 million) O_O
The good thing is that just as many rows of taxis are lined up to pick up passengers – we probably waited for about 5-10 minutes to get into a taxi. The guard with the whistle hustling the taxis is pretty efficient.
Climbing aboard the taxi, my first thoughts were:
“High crimes in Shanghai!” or
“Many taxi driver robbery or abuse cases in Shanghai…” or
“Taxi drivers in Shanghai are dangerous – the passengers need to be protected?”
What do YOU think when you see the poor taxi driver encased in a plexiglass shield like that? I’d be so claustrophobic driving around in a shell the whole day…
Anyway…our friends live in a *gorgeous* apartment in the Pudong area with a magnificent view of Shanghai bay. What a view, eh?
What I liked best is how GREEN the area is – definitely a piece of prime property in polluted and populated Shanghai.
They were really, really nice to have us there because we had a comfortable guest room and the lady was FANTASTIC about my toddler’s quirky and often un-cooperative behaviour.
Plus, I’d forgotten to pack his bolster!!! Luckily, she managed to persuade her younger son to ‘lend’ him one of his little bolsters for the next few nights – phew 🙂
DIN TAI FUNG RESTAURANT
One night, we went out for dinner on our own (to spare our gracious hosts a night off from our toddler! LOL) and were recommended this Hong Kong-style (Cantonese cuisine) restaurant in Super Brand Mall within the area.
Since we could get a good view of the famous Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Míngzhuta) outside the mall, we joined the tourists and snapped away. Personally, I thought it’s a rather gaudy-looking landmark in stylish Shanghai…
I liked Din Tai Fung restaurant’s simple interior decoration which has a cool-looking backdrop of watercolour sketches of famous Hong Kong and mainland Chinese celebrities. I can only spot Jay Chou there – I have no idea who the rest are!
What scored the most points with this mother is the child-friendly, Mickey-mouse themed plastic / enamel cutlery set they immediately set down in front of the toddler.
We were blessed with 10-15 minutes of peace to scan the menu as he kept himself busy (and out of mischief) arranging and stacking the plastic tray, spoon, cup and bowl 🙂
- a double-boiled chicken soup each (highly recommended for dead-tired parents LOL),
- siew loong pau / xiao long bao (steamed pork-filled, soup-filled dumplings) and
- some fried rice with pork strips
Double-boiled chicken soup
The chicken soup is fragrant and flavourful – the soup’s full of the chicken’s sweetness. I poured a few spoonfuls over the fried rice and the fussy toddler finished his dinner in less than 30 minutes (record time!)
I must learn how to cook such delicious chicken soup!!! First, I’ve got to get a double boiler…
Sorry for the sad-looking photo…too busy eating and feeding the tot 😛
Simple fried rice with pork strips
Known as the Yongchow (or yang zhou) fried rice, strips of pork are added to the basic fried rice. It’s quite tasty although I think it’s one slightly greasy step away from perfection…
Xiao long bao
Apologies for forgetting to snap a photo of one of the restaurant’s most famous dish. The little dumplings came in a bamboo steamer and just as our friends said, it’s one of the BEST xiao long bao I’ve ever eaten.
Even the toddler agreed to take bits of the steamed pork inside…
Do you know how to eat xiao long bao? First, place it in your China soup spoon and prick a tiny hole in the dumpling. Then, sip all the delicious soup out of the dumpling BEFORE you bite into it 🙂
Biting into your xiao long bao immediately is a tell-tale sign of how little you know of Chinese cuisine…plus, you’ll only squirt hot soup in your eye!
Here’s the address (in English and Chinese) to Din Tai Fung restaurant:
We had to rush back after dinner since Hubby had to confirm his flight information for his meeting the next day…
We had a really nice time in Shanghai, thanks to our hosts, who have invited us to visit anytime! Hahaha…we’d probably take them up on their offer if we can’t find any good hotel deals in this elegant, stylish city.
More to come on Shanghai…