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Gordon Chang is making prediction on China, Again! September 5, 2012

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Economics.
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‘Wheels Coming Off Chinese Economy’: Author



So says Gordon Chang.


How can anyone trust Gordon Chang! He was wrong before and he will be wrong this time too. Did you buy his book? Good luck to you.
There are other reasons why electricity production is down: the factories become more efficient could be one.

He didn’t say when the bottom will be because he simply doesn’t know. Even he said something, no one would believe him anyway.


Street Scenes in Shanghai January 17, 2012

Posted by hslu in China, Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel.
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Just a few interesting scenes in Shanghai

A man was making 油條 "you2 tiao2" the old fashion way


燒餅 has been done in a drum oven for hundreds of years in China

A narrow alley way doubles as living space for many houses here.

The guy on the left has a bicycle repair stand at an intersection in Shanghai. The woman had bicycle trouble and the guy on the right is lends a helping hand.


Make up while waiting for bus to come

A familiar scene in a Cantonese restaurant in Shanghai

Best in Shanghai dim sumA dog inside of a jewery store

A huge sax inside the Shanghai Paramount Theater

Job posting at the famous Paramount Theater



A plaque in front of the Paramount Theater (now a Dance Hall) indicating that this is a heritage building



The host of a street show organized by 靜安區 "Jing4 an1 qv1" or Jingan District.



Shanghai Manhattan Bund Business Hotel (上海曼哈顿外滩商务酒店) January 13, 2012

Posted by hslu in China, Chinese Food, Food, Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel.
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On our way from Shanghai PVG to our hotel in Puxi in early November 2011, I was able to give out tips to a few foreign fellow travelers on how to ride 地铁 to get around 上海as if I know my ways around here. I was very happy that I could offer some help though. Well, I better be because I have been here close to ten times since December 1985.

The hotel was Manhattan Bund Business Hotel (上海 曼哈顿 (外滩) 商务 酒店) which is only one block from The Bund and 5 minutes from 南京路步行街. It is behind the famous Fairmont Peace Hotel on The Bund. Our room was very small which was barely large enough for a bed, a bath room, a small desk and enough space on the floor for our luggage. But it was clean and everything worked just fine. Wireless internet was available in the room and in the lobby. It has a small café serving coffee and some light snack. The front desk staff and bell captain were both very friendly and the room only cost ~$45 a day. A great value for the location!
We walked around 南京路步行街 and found new stores opening up even in such a high-traffic, extremely busy tourist spot. I was surprised at the invincible force of capitalism in a communist country. A place called 大娘水餃 “da4 niang2 shui3 jiao3” or “Auntie Dumplings,” which I like to try but haven’t had the chance to, had apparently closed its door. Another cluster of small stores had changed to a brand new huge Apple store.

Another area at the intersection of 河南中路 and 南京東路 has changed to a new department store called Henderson Metropolitan. It appeared that it was aimed at higher income clients because we only saw named brand and high class stores in there. There were a few restaurants on the fifth and sixth floors and they had only opened for six days. We checked out the menu at one restaurant and saw their prices comparable to those at expensive restaurants in the US, too expensive for locals and probably 98% of the tourists at 南京東路步行街. We’ll see how long they can last.

As we walked away from the restaurant, a mid-aged woman said to us:


In essence, she said that due to high rental rates here, the restaurants had to charge you an arm and a leg to survive here.


I nodded my head in total agreement and said "Where would you go for authentic Shanghai cuisine around here?”
She said: “我在這兒打工的。他們的菜又貴又不好吃。下面的餐館比這家要便宜多了。山西路那邊也有好多家也蠻道地的。"

It turned out that she worked at that restaurant and were equally amazed at the extremely high prices. She told us to check out restaurants along 山西路 or Shanxi Road just a few blocks away.

I asked for a name but she couldn’t remember. We duly heed her advice and walked out of the shopping center with her.

Sure enough, 山西路 has eight or ten restaurants and many of them were still opened for business. We had 小籠包, 餛飩 and 青菜。 Sure enough, the price was very reasonable and it cost us no more than 50 RMB or $7.50 US, for the whole meal。

The Manhattan Bund Business Hotel was an ideal location because it has many shops, restaurants and fruit stands within a few blocks of the hotel.

We could recharge our sim card for my cell phone at a cigarette store. We could get 素菜包子 “su4 cai4 bao1 zi3” or vegetarian buns at US $0.20 each. If we wanted pastry and coffee, an 85oC store is right next to the 賣包子的 “mai4 bao1 zi3 de1”  or the bun shop. But we’d be paying US $1.20 to US $3.00 for a pastry and another US $1.50 for a cup of coffee. A busy but clean restaurant offered 稀飯 “xi1 fan4,” fresh 油條 “you2 tiao2,” 燒餅 “shao1 bing3,” 甜豆漿 “tian2 dou4 jiang1” or sweet soy milk, 餛飩湯 “hun2 dun2 tang1 or wonton soup and 飯團 “fan4 tuan2” or rice ball for less than US $2.50. Apple store was only 5 minutes away. Countless stores offered cloth, pants, coats, fake silk scarf, shoes at bargain basement prices.  High price shops such as Coach and Armani are but a few blocks down the street.

I ahven't seen a stone mill for a long time. We used to have one at home 40 years ago. We used it to grind soy bean to make doujianf. We used it to grind sweet rice to make nian gao. Most of the time, it was my job. Seeing that bought back memories from the old time in Taizhong, Taiwan.

They are about US $0.25 each.

Seeing this sign "十里洋场" made me think about "纸醉金"迷 and the glamorous old Shanghai of the 1930's and 1940's. I wasn't sure how good their food was though..

A worker unloaded 3 bags of rice at the same time at this clean restaurant serving very affordable breakfast. I am guessing that each bag of rice is 50 KG or 80 lbs.

Making 油条 and 烧饼 the old way.

The Bund and the Huangpu River were only a block away. We got to see The Bund at 2 in the morning, 5:30 AM or at 10:30 PM if we chose to. Many people flied kites starting from as early as 4:30 AM. Their kites were equipped with lights so that we could see blinking lights as high as 500’. By dawn, they would take down their night kites and replaced with a kite for day time. In the evening, tourist boats traveled up and down the Huangpu River. At 2 in the morning, there were only barges and ships big and small coming and going quietly.



We also got to see 南京東路步行街 after midnight. A crowded promenade gave way to a quiet street with only a few tourists who were just coming out of bars nearby. People getting off from their evening shift were finding their ways to go home. A team of at least 20 workers cleaned the street using big hoses such as the ones used by fire fighters. They told us that they’d do this every night. No wonder the place looked clean even with thousands of tourists from China and foreign countries.

Workers clean 南京路步行街 after midnight


Workers clean 南京路步行街 after midnight


Workers clean 南京路步行街 after midnight


An ad company changed an ad which was at least 60’ by 80’ in dimension.  They could do it within an hour with a team of three workers and a team captain. The guy told me that they do this all the time and their business was very profitable because so many business wanted to have visibility here.

The Old

The new.


All in all, we liked the hotel even though it was a bit small. I was told that we got a very good deal from either Agoda or Expedia because people who came in without a reservation would have to pay the list price at about US $80 or so for a day. However, I suspect that they would get a bigger room though.

上海一号私房菜 April 26, 2011

Posted by hslu in China, Chinese Food, Food, Restaurants, Shanghai.
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上海一号私房菜 “shang4 hai3 yi1 hao4 si1 fang2 cai4” is a very unique restaurant. It is not very far from 淮海南路 “huai2 hai3 nan2 lu4,” one of the busiest and most famous shopping areas of the entire Shanghai.

I didn’t know about the restaurant and had no idea what the restaurant was like when I saw the bright neon sign on top of this building. We were just finishing window shopping along 淮海南路 and I was in the mood of having some authentic 上海菜 “shang4 hai3 cai4” before going back to DC. When I saw the sign, I said to myself that this looked like a top class restaurant and I took Bao walked directly to there because it was close to 10 pm and I was afraid that the restaurant was about to close.

Well, the restaurant was very busy and we had to wait for a while. I was relieved because we’d have plenty of time to enjoy our meals.

The restaurant occupies the top floor of a  10 to 12 story building with marble floors, large paintings on the walls, gold-colored columns throughout the dinning area, large dinning hall with at least 50 tables and many private rooms for intimate parties and family gatherings.

The waiting area is almost as big as the dinning room of some restaurants and the hostess wear ankle-length Chinese  旗袍 “qi2 pao2” and a white feather like jacket. The decoration is old Shanghai, the ambiance is warm and I know the restaurant is doing great business in order to support this kind of 排场 “pai2 chang3.”

Well, this is the way I like it too.

After we sat down, we were handed over two thick menus and I almost had more fun going through the menu  than eating their dishes. There were simply too many to choose from.

The menu has 131 pages. In addition to pictures of hundreds of dishes, the glossy menu also included many pictures of Shanghai; 外滩 “wai4 tan1” The Bund, 黄浦江 “huang2 pu3 jiang1,” barges on the river, famous and not so famous people, city streets as they were in the early 1920 and 1930’s, movie stars, 青楼女子 “qing1 lou2 nv3 zi1i,” famous Chinese opera actors and actresses, old kitchen utensils and stories about Shanghai from the early 1900’s. I took my time going over the pages and the waitress left me alone as if she knew I wasn’t ready to order yet.

The menu is divided into 11 sections:

1.  Chef’s top 10 private menu,

2.  Cold dishes,

3.  Soups,

4.  Bird nest, abalone and shark fins,

5.  Shrimp and crabs,

6.  Fish

7.  River fish and shrimp

8.  Fowls and snakes,

9.  Pork, Beef and Lamb,

10.  Vegetables

11.   Desserts and sweets.

There are three 上海一号私房菜 in Shanghai.

The menu is about 1.5" thick.

It looked like this restaurant was good enough for Clinton as well.

Clinton's private collection when he visited China in 2003.

Varieties of Chinese teas at US $1 to US $3 per cup.

Honorable Red Robe tea at US $4 per cup

I ordered a bottle of 石库门锦绣 12 年 for RMB 198, or about US $30. Very reasonable.

A page from the menu.

Deepfried snake

This dish is so good that Buddha will jump over the wall to get a taste.

This bottle of rice wine was RMB 198. 500 ml.

沾酱黄瓜 RMB 7

菌汁小素鸡 RMB 10

手剥河虾仁 also called 大珠小珠落玉盘 "da4 zhu1 xiao3 zhu1 luo4 yu4 pan2." River shrimp with some kind of nuts. Very fresh and very tender. Lightly coated with clear broth.



椰榄菜四季豆, RMB 20

海鲜两面黄. Do not order this.

Not sure what this was. Probably 松软白糖糕

桂花酒酿园子, RMB 18

Famous Chinese opera actors.

Something to try next time.

We had a good time there because of the festival atmosphere at the main dinning hall. A Japanese company had their 尾牙 “wei3 ya2” (Year end banquet dinner for company employees) there. At the end of their dinner, the Japanese boss was forced to sing a song. All he could do was a short Japanese song but it was so bad that all I could say was 不敢恭維 “bu1 gan3 gong1 wei2.”  The VP also sang but he didn’t want to pass the mic to the others and everyone there had a great time at boss’s expense.

The guy in the middle of the picture surrounded by many female employees are the boss.

We also enjoyed our meals but I didn’t have time or the capacity to try more dishes.

The total bill came to RMB 560, or about $85.

If you have a chance visit Shanghai, make sure you try some of the dishes at this restaurant. Go with a few of your friends so that you can have a wide varieties. Their Chinese rice wines and 白酒 “bai2 jiu3” are very reasonable too.

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