Shanghai Noon / by Simmon Li

So, I travelled to Shanghai with my aunt to help her with some business stuff. I know I've only gotten a taste of what Shanghai is like but there are a few things I notice already about the city that make me like it much more than the Beijing I know. First of all, the subways are much more spaceous during rush hour. They're still bad compared to Toronto's TTC, but at the very least, they're not like Beijing's subway system. I think part of it is that there is a distance fare in Shanghai, whereas in Beijing, it's 2 dollars for the whole system. Another factor is that the people of Shanghai seem to live in a bit more urban sprawl than in Beijing. At least, that's the feeling I get. In anycase, the subway system is very nice.

Second, the attractive ladies are definitely in more abundance here in Shanghai. I don't know how to explain it, I think it's because it's hotter here, so everyone learns to take care of themselves a bit better. Everyone has a face cloth, and all that kind of stuff. I'm not sure, all I know is that I find myself saying "she's good looking" more often here in Shanghai than I ever did in Beijing. It's a small point but one worth mentioning.

Finally, the best thing about Shanghai so far? The food! Part of it is that Shanghai's culinary culture is much closer to the culture of Chinese food that I'm used to at home, so it's more noodles and rice, as opposed to buns and breads in Beijing. I think some of the best food I've had in China so far has been had in Shanghai, which is saying a lot, because I've only been here for 2 days, while I've been in Beijing for at least a week and a half. Oh man, the seafood noodle was really good. It had clams, shrimp, and octopus in it and it was delicious. I'm not actually a big fan of shrimp because I'm lazy, but it was a really good bowl of noodles. I think the best part of that meal was actually the noodle itself. In Chinese, it's called "lai mian", which directly tranlsated is "pulled noodle". It refers to the way the noodle is made, and the chef repeatedly pulls the dough to thin it out. Eventually, you get noodles. Anyway, the shop makes noodles itself and it was really good. The noodles and the soup were fantastic, not to mention all the clams! The second awesome meal I had was called "san jin bao", meaning "mountain tip bun" though the sign translated it as a fried dumpling (though they weren't wrong). Anyway, it was a peice of pork wrappesd in a sort of dumpling skin and fried. The bun gets its name from the shape of the skin that they form before they fry it. It actually looks a little like a mountain, because the tips are fried the most, so they look like they're frosted peaks of a mountain. Aesthetics aside, the bun is delicious. The most recent epic meal I had in Shanghai, I think, is my favourite. Shanghai sticky rice! I've had sticky rice in Canada before, but after having it here, I can tell that the stuff in Canada is just not the same. Basically, they take sticky rice, some fried greens, and a fried dough stick and wrap it all together. It's really good. The store itself was really busy too, but I can imagine why. I had it with sweet soy bean milk. Best breakfast ever.

Anyway, that's it so far in Shanghai. We're headed back to Beijing today on the new magnet train, which I'm excited about. It's a 5 and a half hour trip, which beats the old train (10 hours) and is cheaper than a flight.