Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shanghai 2010 - Lujiazui and BaBaoBan

Today, we went to Lujiazui (downtown Pudong) before stopping at BaBaoBan for lunch - an incredibly fiery mouth-numbing Sichuan meal.

Things haven't changed much since the last time I went there, but then again that was only 2 years ago.

<--- This was me in December 2008

And now...2010: ------->

But when you think about, it's pretty amazing how quickly things have changed. My parents reminisce about how their first trip together to Shanghai just 20 years ago, Pudong downtown was a mud-lined dump that no sane person would feel safe enough to wander in at night. Things have changed so much in recent years, and China has really pulled itself together. Trust the Chinese to be efficient...especially when money-making is involved. Makes me kind of proud to share an ancestry with them.
Anyway, there's a huge famous mall that we visited at Lujiazui. It's always think that shopping in China is cheap, and it's true...if you look in the right places. Ironically, there also places like this whose products hold the quality and prices actually rivalling those of downtown Manhattan. So we didn't even dare buy any clothes...but they sure looked pretty.

The downstairs bakery was more fun (and more affordable):

Pretty mochi lined up at a Japanese shop

Next, we visited BaBaoBan, a Japanese-owned food mall (of sorts) with several levels of small restaurants and cheap, affordable eateries. It didn't seem like we would come here to eat again, considering all the options we had in a place like Shanghai, so we had to be careful what to choose. In the end, we stopped at a Sichuan restaurant for lunch. If there's one thing I learned that day, it's that Sichuan food is hardcore - not something you want to mess with lightly.
Pork Blood Soup Chicken Noodle Soup (definitely NOT comfort food)

Check out the chilies we fished out by the end of the meal! ----->

Afterward we got mooncakes (Shanghai style) from an outdoor vendor. Unlike the Cantonese/Taiwanese ones, these are made of flaky pastry wrapped around either a sweet or savory filling. I'm actually not fond of the ones back in California; in my opinion, these mooncakes are infinitely better. They came in three flavors: seaweed, radish, or lotus paste. The first two are savory, while the last is a dessert. I've tried all three throughout the times I've been to Shanghai, so this time we just stuck with the radish, seeing as how it's the traditional filling.

And, of course, I couldn't resist doing all the tourist-y things as well:

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