2015 China Trip Day 4/26: Shanghai – More Food and The Shanghai Urban Planning Museum

Miles walked: 9.35

I weighed myself this morning, the results were unpleasant. Two days of unrestrained eating caused me to gain nearly 4lbs. G was up around the same amount as well.

I needed to cut back on my calories so for breakfast today I drank a big cup of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and sugarcane juice. I tried several juice bars during this trip and my favorite is the FRESH EVERYDAY chain because they use only the freshest fruits, operate in a hygienic environment, and the workers are very nice. The day before I tried their sugarcane and pear juice for 12RMB($1.93USD), today I tried their pomegranate sugarcane which was 26RMB($4.00USD). I liked both but my favorite still remains their pure sugarcane which is 14RMB($2.25) and not on their menu for some reason.

 

20151025_083733

G still ate a typical Shanghainese breakfast of jian bing except with fried dough this time and freshly ground green bean, red bean, soy bean, and black bean milk. Total for his breakfast was 6RMB($1USD).

 

20151025_074322

We then spotted a crowd of people waiting for a store to open. It was 8:30am on a Sunday, the store does not open until 9am, what could they be selling that would cause a crowd but not a line?

20151025_084803

It turns out it is for the Chinese caterpillar fungus which has risen equal the price of gold if not more.

20151025_084908

Next we made our way to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum which we had previously visited in 2010. I am still just as impressed with their large scale model of Shanghai as I was 5 years ago. Shanghai really does have this many tall buildings, and in the future I think it will surpass Hong Kong.

20151025_095225

9 million+ people ride the Metro in Shanghai daily. This does not include the amount of people who bike, use their motor scooter, car, and the myriad of public buses. According to Wikipedia, the population of Shanghai at the end of 2014 is estimated to be greater than 24 million which is larger than the entire island of Taiwan which according to 2015 estimate is 23.46 million.

20151025_110645

Another exhibit I found interesting was a bunch of comic strips drawn by Frank He Youzhi depicting Shanghai life during the 1930’s-1970’s. The comic below is an example of his work which depicts a man going door to door selling coal to housewives. Cooking and heating with coal was common during the 1980’s in Shanghai as was the use of chamber pots. Back in the 1980’s about half of my relatives bought coal and emptied their chamber pots daily.

20151025_112415

After nearly 3 hours of standing on our feet, G and I were very thirsty and hungry so we walked over to R&B World Teahouse. We bought this XL size drink for 16RMB($2.60). Made with real fruit, we saw the staff squeeze an entire lemon and lime along with a bag of green tea and some jello bites. There are many such drink places in Shanghai and it is one of the reasons that is making people grow fatter. I observed a lot more overweight people especially women during this trip than all my other trips to Shanghai. Way too many restaurants, dessert shops, and sugary drink places for one to indulge in.

20151025_120834

Our thirst was quenched but our stomach was growling. We decided to visit one of the best known stores in Shanghai for it, 舒蔡记. Dianping does not contain many good reviews of this place but since I only use Dianping as a guide and not the absolute last word, I decided to go anyway becauseI trust this blogger’s taste buds and he gave this place a very favorable review. In my opinion there are too many people who have not eaten enough good food on top of possessing not so great tastesbuds to begin with, running around writing reviews on Dianping. And on top of that there are many restaurant managers who offer discounts when one writes them a positive Dianping review. This is in addition to Dianping.com offering many perks to those who do write reviews of any kind.

My favorite food blogger does not disappoint. This is my favorite shenjianbao in Shanghai bar none. Fresh, porky but not too porky, with lots of broth inside each bun. I also like the outside of the bun, the chewiness of the dough is done exactly to my liking. This is a 9.5/10 in taste for me. Shanghai’s most famous chain of shengjianbao’s is Yang’s Dumplings which depending on the chain can range between a 6.5-8.5/10 in terms of taste.

20151025_121851

But as good as their shengjianbao’s are, their most famous item is their rice cooked in a huge round cast iron skillet with bok choy, salted pork, purple onion, shitake mushrooms, and lard. See the crisp crust of the rice which only come from cast iron, and that each grain of rice is plump with just the right bite.

20151025_122916

I will be doing a detailed review of 舒蔡记 sometime in the future as I visited this shop 4 times during my stay in China. I love it so despite the terrible environment and the “I don’t care to work here workers.” This is one of the very rare shops that I break my cleanness standards for.

G and I had to go home for another nap. The jetlag is still kicking our ass. We woke up only to meet my grandparent’s and cousin for dinner at沈大成(斜土路店). I always eat at this restaurant because it is the closest “good” restaurant that is near my grandparents (my grandmother has not walked 5 minutes outside of her neighborhood in years). Lots of food was ordered but I mainly only ate some vegetables and fried fish. Did you know pumpkin and asparagus make a very good combo? I ordered this dish as I am always on the lookout to discover interesting new flavor combos.

20151025_173517

This kao-zhi fish is a Shanghainese staple seen everywhere. Deep fried fish that is the size of my index finger fried to a crisp flavored with soys auce and sugar. Though this restaurant does not make such a great version I still ate it anyway because I love kao-zhi fish. Pity that this was the only time I ate it in Shanghai.

20151025_173243

And of course G could not wait a moment longer to have his favorite dessert in Shanghai, 鮮芋仙 and possibly the world. G first ordered this dessert by mistake during our China trip last year. He tried to return it because he dislikes grass jelly but I told him to just let it go because grass jelly is supposed to be good for one’s body and so he did expecting it to be the worst dessert ever. It turned out to be the best mistake ever.

20151025_193620

The still hot and soft taro glutinous balls with the smoothness and not bitter grass jelly combined with the finely flavored sugary shaved ice along with a splash of evaporated milk was a mixture of flavor and texture combinations that makes each bite a treat to the senses. I love this dessert very much as well but G and I always order one to share as we are both calorie conscious. At 22RMB($3.50) this is a steal!