Eating tour of Shanghai in pictures

We left Shanghai with a lighter heart and heavier tummy, and this is why:

This beer cost 10 RMB. That's S$2. Basement of Times Square, Shanghai

You are not allowed to eat the menu

We didn't know that Ye Shanghai wasn't the same as Old Ye Shanghai, and we paid for it

French coffee in the French Concession

An inviting vegetarian cafe in the same district

Candied hawthorn fruit sold on the street, which we were later warned against, cos they're not hygienically prepared. Oops.

In case you didn't know how to drink Chocolate - at Whisk!

The best Peking Duck in Shanghai - Xindalu

Lillian's slogan borrowed from Carlsberg: Probably The Best Egg Tart In Shanghai

Franck's was a most delightful bistro on a most delightful street

Putting Naomi in a candy store is like putting Naomi in a candy store.

Best dumpling in the world. About to be eaten.

They mixed the sweet and savoury dumplings in the same bowl. Which was weird.

Best Taiwanese food in Shanghai is here, apparently

We were a little horrified at the lack of pedicure. Our Shanghainese relatives didn't share our concern.

Bound to be eaten - Shanghainese Hairy Crab

We found the cafe chain Wagas to be surprisingly good.

No, it wasn't a baby turkey. We asked.

Possibly the best meat dumplings in the world

At Hong Kong New World Plaza, they served freshly made beancurd (douhua) in a tub like this. And we emptied it like this.

These were the most delicious black sesame filled pumpkin dumplings we ever tasted

Naomi's late brother loved this Xinjiang kebab vendor's fare. So did we.

The skewered meats/vegetables were infused with the flavors that only some inedible fuel could create

Waxy corn

On our eating tour of Shanghai, we came upon a shop on Huaihai Lu that sold steamed corn on the cob. Perfect for nomming while walking back to our serviced apartment.

A couple of bites into one, I started asking Naomi’s mum how they managed to put sweet glutinous rice into every kernel of corn – because, you know, this is China, and they can damn well do anything they like these days.

So apparently it wasn’t a GM corn cob we were nomming on, but a naturally occurring variant of corn found in China, The Philippines, and Burma.

(No pictures. Hands were tied eating).

Home again

We had so many things we had to get a Maxi Cab to get us home. As you can imagine, not everything’s unpacked yet, and we also have the creeping feeling that Shanghai’s grown on us.

Heck. I think I spoke more Mandarin in one week than I have in ten years.

The French Concession's tree lined avenues were lined with trees lined with laundry

Franckly beats any French fare in Singapore

This is turning into an eating tour of Shanghai.

It’s been a couple of hours since Naomi and I returned to our serviced apartment from dinner at Franck.

It was no ordinary dinner. It was OMG THIS IS SO GOOD WE COULD LIVE HERE AND EAT HERE, IF NOT EVERY DAY, THEN AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK.

We entered the premises cautiously, having read some unflattering reviews about Franck’s brusque, French service.

Maybe things change very quickly in Shanghai, cos we were looked after very well by the attentive staff who even took the trouble of interpreting the completely French menu which was wheeled from table to table.

All this after we thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more, cos on Saturday, we booked ourselves a table at La Creperie and had the best crepes outside Breton, even though mine looked as if a seagull had puked all over a doormat.

And I can’t believe the hot chocolate we had at Whisk. It coats your spoon. It coats your tongue. It coats everything!

And even though they refuse to serve you water, their chocolate would make Max Brenner grow hair.

P.S. Blogging from an iPhone isn’t easy.

Best egg tart in the world

The last time we were in Shanghai, we had the good fortune of being stuck in a jam on the corner of Huaihai Zhong Lu and Maoming Lu.

Our friend Han Tong was in the taxi with us. And when we asked him why the heck people were queuing outside a hole in the wall, he told us it was because Lillian Cake Shop was one of the most famous confectioneries in Shanghai.

So yesterday afternoon, we happened to walk along the same street corner, and decided to see what it was about.

The girl behind the counter simply asked, “how many?”

And so we bought four of the best egg tarts on the planet. Still steaming hot, the soft custard had a crust worthy of it being called a Chinese creme brûlée, held together by the most buttery, flaky pastry.

OMG, we’re so gonna try to buy some to bring home lor.

Shanghai winter wonderland

This afternoon, Shanghai threw us a welcome blanket of the heaviest snowfall I’ve seen in years.

Much as we’d like to step back outside and play in the mush, Kai’s fast asleep on my chest, and Naomi’s ‘resting her eyes’ in the bedroom.

And probably for the first time since Naomi’s brother’s passing, this town feels like a happy place.

Useful Christmas Gifts #6: Nespresso Christmas Variations

If you wanted to buy someone a Nespresso machine (wah, so generous, can I be your friend?), but they already have one, you could, this festive season, buy them a couple of tubes of the limited edition Christmas variations. This is especially good if you’re always bumming Nespresso off your friends when they invite you over, and you feel a bit guilty for depleting their stock.

There’s vanilla, almond and caramel. If you’re not already a Nespresso Club member, you can head down to their boutiques at Ion Orchard and Takashimaya to try them and buy them.

Meantime, before you leave your computer to do so, check out the entertaining and niftily animated game again.

Still made by hand, but sold out like a business

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to have lunch at the Raffles City branch of The Handburger. The previous times we ate there, they hadn’t gotten their “brand new look” yet, and we liked their burgers enough to eat there several times.

So we had really high hopes for a tasty burger lunch, but they were soon dashed by a young waiter who appeared either really ill with a cough and cold or was putting on a show of being really ill with a cough and cold. He coughed and sniffled into the palm of his hand several times, then went and served food without first going to wipe up whatever he sneezed or coughed into his hand.

I complained to the manager on duty, who said he’d speak to the waiter. About fifteen minutes later, the waiter was still doing the same thing, prompting me to ask the manager what he’d said to the waiter.

The manager then asked me, “What did the waiter do or say to you?”, prompting me to explain the whole thing again, this time, loud enough for the other patrons to hear. He then apologized and came back with a receipt that said he’d wiped out the service charge on our bill. Really nice of him to do so.

Then came the food. We began to ask him why the burgers were so amazingly tough, and before we finished asking our question, he explained that that was a common query, and that management had told him to tell patrons that with the new setup (and brand new look), they now “separate the fat from the meat, so with less fat, it is no longer so tender”. We quickly abandoned our second question of why the milkshake was so watery.

You heard it here. The Handburger sells bullshit.

Useful Christmas Gifts #5: Walking With Dinosaurs

When he heard there was a show called Walking With Dinosaurs, a wiseacre I know said, “Hey, isn’t that when you join the entourage of a PAP MP election walkabout?”

I didn’t have much high hopes for it to be an entertainment highlight of our weekend either, but if you were to have seen our baby boy’s delight in watching what he calls “Didotaur” in action, you might just feel that the price of admission is worth it. (Tickets range from $38 – $148 for this 100min show).

Kai even sat in his seat through intermission, chanting, “Didotaur” for the whole 15 minutes. We had to go and buy him a Didotaur soft toy later because he kept signing (we taught him sign) for “more” after we left the arena.

So if you know of anyone with kids who don’t know what to do this weekend, buy them tickets.