Sometimes, the best things in life are the ones that you are not expecting.
After spending a bomb during my Sydney holiday in December last year, I didn’t plan for any overseas trip for 2010. But within a short span of a month, I went to Shanghai, Phuket and Hong Kong. Back in August, I joined the Denizen team for a trip to Shanghai for their global launch of the new denim brand.
wanderlust (noun) – an irresistibly strong desire or an impulse to travel far away and explore different places.
Traveling is always fun, especially when you get to see new things, meet new friends, and of course, food. It’s always about the food, baby. Okay, maybe not everything about the food, but you know what I mean. It only make sense if you try the local delicacy when you are there. Like if you are in Japan, obviously you will fill yourself up with ramen, sushi and sashimi right? The same logic applies for everywhere.
Now, what is Shanghainese food? I have been told that there isn’t a definite cuisine on its own, instead the food is influenced by the nearby surrounding provinces. When we talk about Shanghainese food, I’m sure everyone will think of the famous Shanghai Xiaolongbao. Thank god I had one!
Our schedule for this short trip to Shanghai was packed very tightly. Other than spending time at the event venue, the rest of the time was spend in the hotel room, but boy, if it’s up to me, I would have chosen to stay in the hotel room all day long.
We stayed in Langham Yangtze boutique hotel Shanghai, which is conveniently located in the heart of the city. I wasn’t expecting much from the outside, but I fell in love with the place once I stepped inside. The hotel is at Nanjing road, China’s premier shopping street, which is pretty much like our Singapore’s Orchard road.
Other than ‘work’ and cooping enjoying ourselves inside the luxurious hotel, the denizen team fed us very well. We went to this fine dining Chinese restaurant at Xintiandi, which is an entertainment and dining destination in Shanghai. It is a very funky area which has been preserved and developed, with lots of Art Gallery, cafes and restaurants.
You know what is the worst thing that can happen when you are hungry and all you want to do is to eat and go back to bed? Having a multi-course dinner in a fine dining Chinese restaurant.
Even though the food was very exquisite, it was quite a torture trying to stay awake after a long day, and wait for each course to come. In total, we had around 15 courses, and it took us almost three hours to complete dinner. Yawn!
What’s a trip to Shanghai without its iconic Xiaolongbao?
On the second night, all of us made merry over steamboat. Countless plates of ingredients that could feed an army, were brought to our table, and for that two hours, we ate, and ate, and ate, and ate.
I believe the sole purpose of my existence lies in grabbing the thin slices of meat, and submerge it within the hot boiling broth, swishing it back and forth several times, and letting it melt inside my mouth. Swish-swish-swish.
Our event venue was at The Waterhouse at South Bund, an uber-cool boutique hotel which is operated by The New Majestic Group from Singapore. Many of you will have heard of Jason Atherton, the celebrity chef who used to be under Gordon Ramsay. His first independent restaurant Table No 1 is housed within The Waterhouse at South Bund, but I didn’t get to eat there though — what a shame. But you will never know what the future may bring, maybe I will get to stay in The Waterhouse at South Bund during my next trip to Shanghai. A boy can wish right? You never know..
Good Bye Shanghai, see you again soon!