Started a new section! The column, The Shanghai study-abroad Journal, will tell you the local lifestyle and apple affairs.
No.2 The gourmet autumn of a big appetite
Hi. It’s been chilly in the morning and evening in Shanghai and I feel autumn is on its way. The temperature of Shanghai is just the same as that of Tokyo.
October 1st is the Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. The tourist spots in the Shanghai area are full of people for the holiday week. Knowing that I shouldn’t be in the crowds, I visited the popular sightseeing resorts, such as Yu Garden and The Bund.
▲Speaking of Shanghai, this view represents the city! (The characteristic tower on the left is the Oriental Pearl Tower.)
Yu Garden, a huge Suzhou style garden, was first created during the Ming Dynasty by a government employee as a comfort for his father. It’s the descendant of a good old Chinese atmosphere. In this garden, I had some xiaolongbao at Nanshou, a famous restaurant of more than 100 years of history. Speaking of Shanghai xiaolongbao, people say this is the place. The first floor is exclusively for take-out, the second and the third floors are for dining. The higher up you go, the more you pay. I was seated on the second floor and waited for 40 minutes to be fed. The dumplings were delicious, with a thick, soft and sticky shell, and full of bouillon. Originated in Shanghai, they are served at each restaurant with an individual flavor. The recommended way of eating them is to first bite a bit of shell to sip the gravy soup, then eat the rest all at once. “Mmm, delicious (Hao chi)!”
The Bund was once governed by foreign countries, including the U.K. It refers to the Western buildings and wharves of the former Shanghai International Settlement. The night illumination is superb. I was planning to cross the river where the Oriental Pearl Tower (468-meters high), the symbol of Shanghai, stands, passing through the illuminated tunnel. Unfortunately I was unable to buy a ticket at the site because of security purposes. I needed to book in advance. It gave me a chance to visit again someday while I stay in the city. On the opposite bank, where the Oriental Pearl Tower and the highly modern sky scrapers of office buildings are currently developed, the area is called Pudong. It is the center of the financial and business district.
▲The view of Yu garden at night is fantastic as well.
Well, the Chinese cuisine is called one of the three major dishes of the world. What do you like the most? Shanghai dishes are full of seafood with seasonal ingredients, and rich and strong sweet-and-sour seasoning is its feature. The word “Shanghai” may first remind you of a “mitten crab,” but I’ve not experienced it.
As a snack, I recommend a “Shengjian”, a fried bun. It’s an ingredients-wrapped bun with a thick shell grilled on an iron plate. It’s a little bulkier than a xiaolongbao, with a flavorful crispy shell and tasty bouillon inside. You’ll become its captive once you eat one. It is difficult to say which of the two is better.
▲Shengjian (fried bun) comes in three kinds of ingredients: pork, vegetables, and shrimp.
▲Shrimp Shengjian (fried bun)
We commonly see candied strawberries and candied apples at food stands at local fairs in Japan, while I often see candied hawthorn at vendors here. I tasted one sprinkled with sesame seeds and I liked the tart-sweet flavor and its apple-like texture. Hawthorn is originated in China and used as a stomach medicine, a dried fruit, and for cooking as well.
The “Apple and Pear juice” I tried at a café was good too. They make it fresh in a blender each time after an order. I would rather have it for breakfast since the apple and pear fruit bits are left and the thick taste is easily kept in the stomach. Right after my order I noticed there was a “Cucumber and Pear” too. I was a little surprised, but cucumber juice is sometimes seen in Shanghai. Later I found an “apple, cucumber and lemon juice” and tried one to make up for insufficient vegetables since I’ve moved here. It was a vegetable juice, mostly cucumber with some apple flavor.
|▲Left: Apple and pear juice||Right: Apple-cucumber and lemon juice|
There was a crowd of people around the vendor who sells fresh Pomegranate juice on the street. I again tried one. In my childhood my grandfather used to have a pomegranate tree and we often enjoyed the fruit in fall. I missed the taste so much and I couldn’t wait to have the good old flavor. In spite of my memory of the Pomegranate’s tartness, I tasted nothing but a light flavor, later I felt bitterness on my tongue. (Probably it came from the seeds.) I heard that the pomegranate originated in Persia and (Iran) was called “The Apple of Carthage.” The trees grown in Japan were mainly for garden plants and their fruit was sour.
▲Squeezing Pomegranate Juice
It is said that cooling your body is not good for your health, so there is no ice in cold drinks. You find many drink shops in every corner of the city, but you are to ask for some ice when ordering. I see a large number of Chinese people drinking without ice cubes.
I find so many good foods in China. You never mind your weight. Wait a second, do I look like Winnie the Pooh?
There are a lot of gourmet specialties for me to try and enjoy. Yes, of course, I know I have to study; I won’t forget my primary role.(^^)♪
Profile of the writer:
Currently a junior student at university. She belonged to the tennis club in junior high school and the Japanese Archery club in high school.
She decided to study abroad in one of the developing nations, including China, to learn about business including trading and sales. She was selected as one of the members of the joint public and private effort project, “TOBITATE (Leap for Tomorrow) Study Abroad Initiative” and is currently located in Shanghai. The first half of the term is spent learning the Chinese language and an internship at a Japanese-affiliated company will be added in the latter half.