So you’re in Shanghai, a city where the pace of life is not for the slow-walkers or easy-goers. Restaurants on the city’s iconic riverside are all gorgeously situated with a view of the Bund. With the increasingly glitzy tastes of Shanghai locals, French cuisine is the undeniable crowd-favorite these days. But what if you want to have a taste of old Shanghai, the Shanghai where street food is validated by the amount of people waiting in line–including regulars that have visited these run-down food carts since childhood. Where do you go? Ignore the Micheline Stars Trek to downtown Shanghai where you can still taste authentic breakfast foods and see street vendors serve fresh orders of egg rolls, sticky rice shaomai, and more.
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.