On a Slow Boat to China: Shanghai

My parents and I spent a week in China this past August. It was the first time to Mainland China for all of us, believe it or not! We were so excited for the trip, and we looked forward to so many things. I, of course, looked up sights to see and things to eat. 

The 15-hour plane ride was full of excitement


Our time was divided between Shanghai and Hangzhou. It could not have been more different locales. Shanghai is a city in every sense of the word: it’s a bustling metropolis, with skyscrapers, department stores, offices, tourists, and residents, all alongside modest street stalls and small noodle shops. On the other hand, Hangzhou was a slower-paced historic and cultural town. 

Our first day in Shanghai was terribly jet-lagged…and rainy. We managed to explore a large golden temple, but were a bit miffed to find that we had to pay to get in.

(Say hi to Mama and Papa Teng)

We had dinner at the Kee Club, which featured quite a bit of wine. Dinner was Cantonese cuisine. 



The club itself is quite the sight. It is a converted mansion, and the architecture is beautiful. The interiors have an understated elegance and a quiet glamour to it.

During our stay, my uncle (my mom’s brother) joined us in Shanghai. We had dinner at Lao Ji Shi — a famous and highly-recommended restaurant serving “traditional Shanghai cuisine.” 

The food was good, but it wasn’t great. To be honest, I’ve had better Chinese food outside of Shanghai.

The fatty pork was indeed fatty, chewy, and flavorful. Serving it in an earthen pot also gave the dish a theatrical flair.


The steamed crab over sticky rice was fantastic. I insisted on ordering this after I had it in Malaysia at Noble House. It is on my list of “life-changing foods,” because once I had it, it stayed on my mind and I had to have it again. They put the crab on top of the rice and steam it together, ensuring that the crab’s rich juices would be infused with the rice. What emerges is a deeply fragrant and incomparable dish. (I want to go back to Kuala Lumpur right now just to go to Noble House.)

We visited Yu Garden. (But not before having a breakfast of sweet tofu with red bean and ginger syrup, and more soup dumplings. (There’s a famous dumpling place there, but the lines were absurd. We opted for a side street shop. You know it’s authentic when everything is handwritten, in Chinese, and not a lick of English can be heard beyond me and my father.)

 

 

 

 

 

(That’s me striking a Chinese opera pose, while my dad laughs.) 

We escaped the heat with afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel.

 

I can’t turn down mint tea with scones and clotted cream, no matter where I am. 

Then we ventured back out to be tourists and gawk at the lightship that is the Bund at night.

 

 

 

 

 


The Bund was quite the experience. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in a metro station.

Coming up next: Hangzhou adventures!


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