Excellent Acne stationary, Yang's dumpling napkin, drinking a salted cheese from Happy Lemon, Seven Monologues of Marshal Tie Jia Stories from Rockbund Art Museum, a Maglev train ticket and tea flavoured pocky (!!)

Happy 2014! I'm playing catch-up with this space (as always) but I hope that everyone had a wonderful end of the year and a lovely start to the new one.

In all honesty, compared to my preparations for New York I did very little planning for China. My main goals were to eat a lot of xiaolongbaos (henceforth, "XLBs"), wander around perpetually drinking milk tea (mission accomplished!) and to hang out with my little sister. To my surprise, I ended up completely falling for Shanghai. The city is so cosmopolitan and vibrant - it was as if you could see the city changing before your eyes. There was an incredible mix of European, traditional Chinese and [super] modern architecture and influence, shopping seemingly everywhere (luxury mall game on lock), support for art & culture, and the food - oh goodness. Shanghai is the future, you guys. 

Some Shanghai highlights (or Shanghailights, if you will):
  • XLB heaven - I mean, I'm not at a point in my life where I can eat at Ultraviolet or anything but I made the pilgrimage to Din Tai Fung in Xintiandi for their famous XLBs and drunken chicken (verdict: excellent service & perfect little dumplings) and Yang's for fried golf ball sized XLBs  - a completely different kind of XLB that I'd never had before (verdict: I went twice, they were so cheap & so good) I also lined up for the Nanxiang Steamed Buns but after DTF & Yang's they were sub-par
  • The food - specifically the aforementioned cheese tarts/egg tarts/salted cheese chocolate drink/milk tea - seriously, Vancouver - please can I have? I feel like these foods (with the addition of deep-fried XLBs) are just crying out for a food cart here at home. Preferably a food cart beside my house.

Entrance ticket to The Bottle Opener, Jiag'an Temple lions, I'm lovin' it in China, China heart sticker from Golden Week celebrations, sister sister pictures
  • Tianzifang - a touristy/artsy neighbourhood among the alleyways of traditional Shanghai houses with a stop at Cafe Dan for lemonade and Japanese cheesecake as recommended by Masako 
  • The Skyline - the view of the Pudong side of the The Bund from the roof of the Captain's Bar. China is so good at rooftop bars and outdoor eating in general.
  • People watching - sitting on a bench in Fuxing Park as the sun went down
  • Walking everywhere - I stayed mainly around the downtown core of Shanghai even though I know the city is massive. I saw bikes carrying crates three times their height weaving through traffic, swaying laundry hung out to dry on formerly spectacular mansions in the French Concession, and walked by line-ups for cheesecake weaving on onto the sidewalk.