Of course we were super excited to see the New York Times finally update their 36 Hours in Shanghai article back in November. The city changes quickly so they really should do an update every year from here on out. But I digress.
We were of course even more excited to be included for our Dumpling Delights tour (we had no idea the guest was a writer).
11. Sidewalk Snacks
Breakfast in China is best enjoyed on the street, still piping hot from the wok or steamer. The only difficulty is deciphering a Chinese menu. UnTour Shanghai (untourfoodtours.com), a street culinary tour company, simplifies the process by doing the ordering for you. The Dumplings Delights tour (400 renminbi) spans the breadth of China, from cabbage-filled jiao zi eaten in wintry northeastern China to delicate shrimp almond pastries from southern China and, of course, Shanghai’s famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings) — all in a two-square-block area. Fortunately, there’s enough walking between stops to justify such gluttony, though in anything-goes Shanghai, you’ll need little excuse.
But thankfully, the whole list is full of gems, so we were just happy that they did the city right. Anybody looking for ideas on what to do in Shanghai beyond the typical ‘wander and discover’ will be well suited to hit up any of these spots.
The full article is here, but here are a few of our personal highlights as well.
4.A Movable Feast
Jason Atherton is building quite a culinary empire in Asia. The Michelin-starred chef behind Pollen Street Social in London has opened six restaurants in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore since 2010, including the new Commune Social, a playful tapas restaurant where eating a meal feels more like barhopping. First, small plates of miso-grilled mackerel with wasabi avocado and cucumber chutney (88 renminbi) and oysters with Vietnamese dressing (48 renminbi each) are served at the informal tapas bar overlooking the busy kitchen. Next, diners head to the narrow, white-tiled dessert bar to watch the South African pastry chef Kim Lyle make inventive desserts like goat’s cheese, yogurt sorbet and honeycomb frozen with liquid nitrogen (55 renminbi). The last stop is the hidden cocktail bar upstairs for a PBJ (cognac, cherry brandy, peanut butter, strawberry jelly; 88 renminbi), a nightcap that doubles as a midnight snack. Commune Social, 511 Jiangning Road; communesocial.com.
Shanghai could never be criticized for lack of ambition. Not content with being merely a financial hub, the city has been on a museum building spree in recent years to establish itself as a global arts center, too. One of the more promising institutions is the Power Station of Art, which opened last October in a late 19th-century power plant that was renovated for the 2010 Expo. With its industrial feel and focus on modern art, the museum feels similar to the Tate Modern, and it’s already hosted several major exhibitions, including the Shanghai Biennale and the largest collection of Andy Warhol’s art in Asia (though the Mao Zedong portraits were left out for obvious reasons). After checking out the art, take in the view of the barges chugging lazily up the Huangpu River from the expansive fifth-floor deck.Power Station of Art, 200 Huayuangang Road; powerstationofart.org.
Also, you’ve gotta love the shout out to Fuxing Park. So true!
8.Dancing With the Retirees
When you’re all shopped out, a respite awaits on the other side of the former French Concession in Fuxing Park, where elderly Shanghainese come for gossip — and a bit of a show. Old men in Mao jackets chain-smoke and play cards on park benches, drawing hordes of onlookers, while small troupes of musicians gather in hidden corners to sing Peking opera classics. The main attraction, however, happens beneath the towering plane trees in the center of the park where well-dressed couples show off their best ballroom dancing moves to syrupy Chinese love songs.
Here’s a little video of that we took: