Just a weekend back in this sleepless city reminded me why I love the busy hum of Shanghai so much. I had forgotten how the hustle and bustle of city dwellers always creates such a contagious buzz, constantly making me want to explore more. With my lovely cousin Alexandra from London in town, I decided to fly back to Shanghai for a long-overdue visit and some delicious adventures (quick shout out to Alex: have a phenomenal time in Fudan University and I hope you adore Shanghai the way I did with London!)
When in Shanghai, definitely don’t miss the former French Concession area. It’s a gorgeous district to spend a weekend strolling through its various shops, museums, and bars, especially since it’s covered with luscious London plane trees (le platane commun, introduced by the French). Make your way through Tianzifang 田子坊, a renovated residential area that has now become an arts and cultural hub with lots of speciality stores. In particular, check out Tianzifang’s lovely Scent Library, fairy-tale like vintage Music Box Store, and the recently opened liquid nitrogen ice cream store, Freeze.
If you’re looking for a restaurant recommendation, one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Shanghai is Lost Heaven 花马天堂. Specialising in Yunnan cuisine, Lost Heaven is a trendy place to go in Shanghai with phenomenal food. The Da Li style Chicken smothered in green onions, crispy Yunnan wild vegetable pancakes, and hearty ‘Emperor’s Salvation’ are definite must-order-dishes.
Fun fact? ‘Emperor’s Salvation’ is Yunnan style rice cakes with preserved vegetable and ham. It is said that the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty was fed this by a village he took refuge in, and has ever since deemed it to be what saved him–thus, ‘Emperor’s Salvation’! With gorgeous tribal-inspired interiors and exotic food, Lost Heaven’s French Concession branch is a true gem–it’s on my to-go list every time I go back to Shanghai so definitely don’t miss it!
Or if you want to be adventurous but in a different way, check out Dashu Wujie 大蔬无界 (also known as Greenology). Boasting exquisite vegetarian and vegan cuisine, Dashu Wujie is a stylish vegetarian restaurant advocating healthy life style. Among its quality ingredients, you’ll find abalone mushrooms, truffles, and lotus roots frequently used in different delicious ways throughout the meal.
I definitely recommend the stuffed lotus roots and the sushi-like yam rolls–both were extremely tasty. We didn’t get a chance to try its Mapo Tofu but judging by the amount of people ordering the dish, that’s one not to be missed. Moreover, Dashu Wujie is also known for having an award-winning patissier so be sure to get their famous 7 layered vegetable cake and wasabi ice cream with chocolate torte (the wasabi ice cream goes weirdly well with dark chocolate!).
Looking to satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings instead? Stop at Whisk, a cafe on Shanghai’s Huaihai Road famous for its many chocolate desserts. Their upside chocolate lava cake, tiramisu, and hot chocolate is especially amazing–I definitely felt like I was back in Italy for a second when I had a bite of Whisk’s tiramisu! Although I didn’t have their hot chocolate this time around, I remember it being thick and creamy–perfect if you order a side of fresh churros to dip with them. Yum! Whisk also offers light meals–mostly Italian fare–if you’re looking to have a nice dinner with wine before your chocolate indulgence. Afterwards, be sure to walk down Huaihai Road as it is one of Shanghai’s most famous shopping streets!
But of course, no visit to Shanghai is complete without an iconic stroll down the Bund. Go at night and soak in Shanghai’s gorgeous skyline–just remember, night or day the Bund is going to be absolutely packed with people. Shanghai is truly another city that never sleeps so expect to be greeted with lots of people wherever you go!
A weekend in Shanghai is really too short when there’s so many things to do, see, and devour. I wish I could spend another week exploring the local markets and having some street food like I did when I was younger. But I guess a whirlwind getaway in Shanghai makes you appreciate how much you can see in such a short time! Until next time Shanghai, stay delicious.
Have a weekend in Shanghai and want a whirlwind of delicious adventures in 48 hours? Hope you clicked on the galleries above and enjoyed some Shanghai food splendor!
Lost Heaven (French Concession Branch)
Address // 38 Gaoyou Rd (south of West Fuxing Rd), Shanghai, China
Tel // 021-64335126
Website // www.lostheaven.com.cn
Dashu Wujie 大蔬无界 (Xujiahui Branch)
Address // Tianping Lu 392 (Heng Shan Rd), Xújiāhuì, Shanghai
Tel // +86 21 3469 2857
Website // http://www.weibo.com/dashuwujie
Address // 1250 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Huating Lu, Luwan district
Tel // 5404 7790
Website // www.whiskcafe.com.cn