08 Jan Chinese food – quite simple, but somehow addictive!
The ﬁrst weekend we had after spending a week in Shanghai was spent being introduced to the fake and fabric market, and going to Zhujaojiao. The fake market was impressive, and not what I expected as I didn’t ever expect it to be in a mall-like building, but more out on the streets or in alleys at night, kind of similar to Night Market style in Thailand, for example. Somehow it was strange to see it in a mall, which seems so much more legit than the products they’re actually selling.
Zhujaojiao was the most signiﬁcant part of the weekend for me, since it was something new and different to shopping. There was some beautiful architecture, lots of small alleys and streets and bridges criss-crossing that with all the people who were there made it seem like a maze. There was also a large historical element to the town, which was refreshing as I hadn’t done anything like that yet. There was an old post ofﬁce, an old house that has been turned into a public space to see how the wealthy used to live in Shanghai. This was called the Kezhi Gardens, and was where we spent the most time looking around. It was a huge area with ponds and mini bamboo forests. It would have been a fantastic place to live back when it was functioning as a house.
There were also some very gruesome specimens in some of the shops there – ﬂattened animals and bits of animals that look like they belong in a science lab, not hanging from hooks to sell. This is such a massive indication of the difference in life styles between China and Singapore, but especially between China and Australia. Though I must say I was immediately put off my pork bun. The transport system in Shanghai makes it very easy to be more independent and go about the city to do begin my increasingly growing list of ‘Stuff I want to do in Shanghai’. The more people I talk to, the more I look on the internet, the more I walk around …the longer the list gets, there’s just so much to do here! It’s easy to get places on the very regular metro, and it’s cheap too. I haven’t braved the bus system yet, because it is far less likely that there’d be any English involved there; besides, the metro is simple and straight forward.
The food in general is very good, though I’m now more cautious of the fried foods as the quality of the oil and the amount they use didn’t work out so well for me. But noodle soups, dumplings are the best! Quite simple food, but somehow addictive…
The language barrier is something I didn’t fully appreciate until spending more time here; not many people speak English, far fewer than I thought there would be. Occasionally there are very helpful people who realise that a group of us English speaking tourists don’t speak any Chinese, and they’ll help out, which is great. However in places where I expected English might be spoken, in restaurants and shops mainly, that isn’t actually the case. Obviously I’m not upset or anything that they don’t speak English, because we’re in China, but it was just a surprise, and it would be up to me to learn Chinese to communicate properly with people here.