As I write, I am sitting on the plane for the short journey back to Hong Kong, thinking back on our weekend break in Shanghai, and surprisingly (and quite scarily), still feeling like I have some space in my stomach. This is despite the fact that we have been steadily and continuously eating and drinking pretty much since we arrived.
Saturday, 1:00am – arrive at hotel
I really enjoy visiting Shanghai, not just because it’s something different for a change, but also because of its variety, its vibrance, for its energy, and for the plethora of options to satiate my eating and drinking desires. I remember visiting Shanghai over 7 years ago and preferring Beijing (where I lived at the time) so much more, but now I am truly excited whenever I visit the city.
This time I was even more looking forward to visiting because my brother is currently doing an internship there, and also because one of my best friends JL calls it home. She was fabulous and recommended a great restaurant and several bars to check out.
Saturday, 1:00pm – lunch at Din Tai Fung, Xintiandi
Craving some ‘baos’, we made a beeline for Din Tai Fung – yes, DTF is more expensive, and yes it is filled with 老外 (foreigners), but we knew that we’d be guaranteed some good quality xiaolongbao, and a nice variety of fillings. Literally translated as ‘little steaming basket buns’, the flavoursome soup inside the bao is achieved by wrapping the filling together with aspic made from stock, which melts into a soup when the bun is steamed.
We started off with some cold dishes (凉菜). One of my all-time favorite veggie dishes is dry fried green beans（干煸四季豆）. I usually prefer it when it’s served as a hot dish – Crystal Jade cooks it up really well, unfortunately more often than not it’s way too oily. At DTF it’s served cold, without a hint of oiliness and really quite tasty (I polished off most of it!)
My brother recommended we try this Chili Cucumber dish, and it was really refreshing, cooling with just a hint of spice.
Saturday 3:30pm – dessert at Bellagio
Afterwards we went to Bellagio, a Taiwanese outlet serving a strange mix of Taiwanese, South Chinese and Sichuanese cuisine, most famed for their dessert selection.
Unlike it’s rather grand name, the restaurant itself is quite low-key with more of a canteen feel to it, and I’m sure it’s not always the case but when we visited, the restaurant smelled like badly-dried clothing (you know what I mean?). Nonetheless, we were there to eat desserts, and fabulous desserts we did eat. Reminiscent of Hui Lao Shan, the menu features a few mango-themed desserts – I tell you, whoever came up with the idea of putting mango together with chilled coconut cream, then adding sago and pomelo is a genius! It’s a winning combination every time, as it was in Bellagio.
The ‘small’ serving was quite large, and if you are sharing desserts, then this one could easily feed 2-4 people. I’m not a huge fan of red bean myself, and only had a couple of bites, but I imagine it’s quite a treat for bean lovers!
After the feast we went for a walk to check my friend JL’s pop up shop in Tianzifang, an uber cool and trendy place to visit, shop and eat in Shanghai. The area houses many local boutique clothing designers, photographers, art galleries, accessories and craft stores and is a must-see when in Shanghai. I was there just to support my friend, and ended up buying one of her AMAZING coats!
Her materials feel luxurious, her designs are eye-catching and varied, the make is excellent (this is my 3rd OBA coat!) and she has something for everyone. I LOVE my new mustard yellow coat (I’m guessing so did the umpteen people who stared at it when I caught my flight back to Hong Kong. Seriously, I felt a bit uncomfortable! 😉 ). I feel like a million bucks in it, thanks J!
Please check out the OBA online store to see more of her designs. (Website is being upgraded and will relaunch on Saturday 1st September),
Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for a much-needed nap before Round Two!
Check out my next post: Shanghai Part 2!
Din Tai Fung – Xin Tian Di Branch 鼎泰豐 － 新天地店
Xintiandi south block plaza 2/fl 新天地南里广场 2 楼
Lane 123, Xing Ye Road (nr. Ma Dang Road) 兴业路123弄（近马当路）
Tel: (86-21) 6385-8378 (No reservations)
68 Tai Cang Lu 太仓路68号
Tel: (86-21) 6386-5701
For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org