Shang­hai in 3 days

Res­i­dent sug­gests itin­er­ary for the ‘Paris of the East’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

Shang­hai is a mega city that’s the en­gine of China’s fi­nan­cial and in­no­va­tion devel­op­ment. It of­fers a cap­ti­vat­ing blend of moder­nity and old-world charm like no other place in the coun­try.

Lu­ji­azui dis­trict’s tow­er­ing sky­scrapers are a sym­bol of Shang­hai’s rapid as­cent as one of the world’s most prom­i­nent fi­nan­cial hubs.

Yet the count­less old al­ley­ways, shiku­men houses and un­mis­tak­able beauty of the for­mer French Con­ces­sion serve to tem­per the city’s im­age as a mod­ern be­he­moth with insatiable global am­bi­tions.

Shang­hai and neigh­bor­ing Jiangsu and Zhejiang prov­inces of­fer 144hour visas. But China’s most metropoli­tan me­trop­o­lis is wor­thy of three days’ ex­plo­ration.

DAY 1 The Bund

The Bund is a des­ti­na­tion in it­self, worth a full day.

Check into the Fair­mont Peace Ho­tel, a his­tor­i­cal prop­erty that dates to be­fore World War II. It fea­tures bril­liant art deco-in­spired in­te­ri­ors that pay homage to this style of vis­ual arts, which came into promi­nence in the 1930s.

Then, take a stroll along Shang­hai’s most fa­mous tourist stretch.

This wa­ter­front area over­looks the Huangpu River and the Lu­ji­azui sky­line, which is an­chored by the iconic Ori­en­tal Pearl Tower and the 632-me­ter-high Shang­hai Tower.

There’s no short­age of ex­cel­lent din­ing op­tions around the Bund.

Three on the Bund is home to a num­ber of ac­claimed West­ern eater­ies, in­clud­ing three restau­rants by culi­nary mae­stro Jean-Ge­orges Von­gerichten — Jean-Ge­orges, Mer­cato and Chi Q .

Re­lax at the Fair­mont Peace Ho­tel’s jazz bar on the ground level where the city’s most-renowned and old­est jazz mu­si­cians — they av­er­age about 80 years old — demon­strate age is just a num­ber.

A short walk from the ho­tel, The Nest of­fers a va­ri­ety of night­cap op­tions and an im­pres­sive se­lec­tion of so­phis­ti­cated bar bites.

DAY 2 Soup dumplings

No trip to Shang­hai would be com­plete with­out sam­pling xi­ao­long­bao, the quin­tes­sen­tial lo­cal snack.

Jia Jia Tang Bao is ar­guably the city’s most renowned hole-in-the­wall in­sti­tu­tion for this soup dumpling.

An­other beloved Shang­hainese snack is the shengjian­bao. Like xi­ao­long­bao, it also con­tains a de­li­cious broth but it is con­sid­er­ably larger, has a thicker skin and is pan-fried in­stead of steamed.

Lo­cals swear by those made at Fengyu, which has mul­ti­ple stores across the city.

Shang­hai Old Town

Ad­mire ar­chi­tec­ture that dates back to dy­nas­tic rule in Shang­hai Old Town, be­tween Remin Road and Zhong­shan Road.

You’ ll also find street ven­dors sell­ing snacks, sou­venirs and an­tiques.

Have lunch at Jian Guo 328, a pop­u­lar Shang­hainese din­ing es­tab­lish­ment that serves hearty, home­cooked fare at very af­ford­able prices.

If Shang­hainese cui­sine is too sweet for your lik­ing, head to Can­ton 8, which was in 2016 crowned as the world’s cheap­est restau­rant with two Miche­lin stars.

The es­tab­lish­ment serves Can­tonese cui­sine and a sump­tu­ous dim sum spread.

Fux­ing Park

Get a glimpse into the daily lives of the Shang­hainese at Fux­ing Park.

This man­i­cured green space hosts tai chi prac­ti­tion­ers, danc­ing mid­dle-aged women and old men chat­ting with cig­a­rettes in one hand and bird cages in the other.

Hairy crabs are a must-try Shang­hai del­i­cacy.

Xin Guang Jiu Jia, where cus­tomers are spared the has­sle of dis­sect­ing the crus­taceans, is cel­e­brated.

Cooks sep­a­rate the flesh and roe for cus­tomers.

Mas­sage

En­joy a sooth­ing foot mas­sage at Taipan Mas­sage, where the ser­vice is com­ple­mented with a free flow of bev­er­ages and small serv­ings of noo­dles.

Noo­dles

A name­less, hole-in-the-wall noo­dle joint at 166 Zhaozhou Road, near Ji’nan Road, of­fers an ut­terly lo­cal din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Fea­tured on An­thony Bour­dain’s

Parts Un­known travel-and-food se­ries, the “long leg” noo­dles here come with pork, lard, soy sauce, veg­eta­bles and a de­lec­ta­ble broth.

DAY 3 Break­fast

Green eggs and ham come on a sand­wich at Madi­son Kitchen, which also of­fers roast beef sand­wiches and peanut but­ter-and-al­mond cook­ies.

Con­tem­po­rary art mu­seum

Take a tour of the Shang­hai Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art.

De­signed by the ac­claimed lo­cal com­pany Ate­lier Liu Yuyang Ar­chi­tects, the mu­seum fea­tures a sur­real mix of con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese and in­ter­na­tional art­works.

Sight­see­ing tun­nel

Hop onto a tram at the Shang­hai Bund Sight­see­ing Tun­nel that takes you un­der the Huangpu River to Lu­ji­azui.

The ex­pe­ri­ence is ad­mit­tedly a lit­tle kitschy, but there’s no doubt that the psy­che­delic light­ing makes for great pho­to­graphs.

Ad­mire the breath­tak­ing cityscape from the ob­ser­va­tion deck on the 119th floor of the Shang­hai Tower, the sec­ond-tallest build­ing in the world af­ter the Burj Khal­ifa in Dubai.

Night­cap

Round up your last night with a night­cap at Speak Low, which came in sec­ond in the in­au­gu­ral 2016 Asia’s 50 Best Bars.

Helmed by Ja­panese cock­tail vet­eran Shingo Gokan, it of­fers cre­atively crafted tip­ples in cozy sur­rounds.

Con­tact the writer at aly­win@chi­nadaily.com.cn

PHO­TOS BY GAO ERQIANG AND ALY­WIN CHEW / CHINA DAILY

Clock­wise from top: The Bund, Shang­hai’s most-fa­mous tourist des­ti­na­tion, over­looks the Huangpu River and the Lu­ji­azui sky­line; Com­mune So­cial’s baked bone mar­row; com­mer­cial streets at Yuyuan Gar­den.

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