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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.

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