Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shanghai 2010: Chongming Island and Hairy Crab stirfried with Rice Cake

Mom bought bus tickets for us to visit Chongming Island, off the coast of Shanghai. It's this tiny little island that has always been more rural than the rest of the city, and my grandfather even worked there for a bit during the Communist Revolution. The good thing is that, although most of the local streets are still underdeveloped, a lot of the countryside has been converted into recreational parks and natural preserves. I thought it was cool how the Chinese government is starting to care more about the face of Mother Nature. My aunt just thinks they're trying to cheat the foreigners of their money.

Some of the old-style Chinese houses...
A field of some kind of vegetable. Dad thought it looked like jialan tsai or Chinese broccoli, but who knows?

Outside, we saw some stands selling the local specialties...sugarcane and rice wine
The bus deposited us right outside of a giant park that required a 70RMB (U.S. $7-8) admission fee - that's actually pretty expensive by China standards. But hey, we were at the entrance anyway, so what the heck?

Standing next to a statue outside the park. Even if I could read Chinese, I don't even know if I could decipher the characters with all the cracks in the rock.

World Expo Man! This guy is everywhere.

It turns out the park was a mistake. There really wasn't much there, and the few activities available were more catered towards middle school students out on field trips. But I did manage to get some nice shots.

I think the funniest thing ever was that right alongside the clean-swept beautiful path, we saw 3 normal-looking women in typical Asian-Mom outfits bending and pulling up some of the grasses. We all stopped and stared in bewilderment, and I guess one of the women, embarrassed at being seen, explained that they had found a fresh bunch of ji tsai or Chinese water spinach. Apparently they taste better when picked wild? I don't know, but it seemed a little off in a natural park. It was actually pretty embarrassing, but we got a good laugh over what some people will do.

We couldn't even find a decent restaurant within, so Mom and Dad bought stinky tofu, while I got a fried sticky rice cake (which wasn't very good)

Anyway, we left fairly early and went to visit the local wet market near the bus station.

Mom bought a huge pile of Shanghai hairy crab, and that night we had crab stirfried with rice cake. I once said that if I were to die tomorrow, I would request this very dish (cooked only by Mom of course) as my last meal - and I still hold true to that!

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