China, Travel

Ye Shanghai, A Pearl in the East – Part 2: Cheng Huang Miao, Shanghai Old Street

Ye Shanghai, A Pearl in the East – Part 2: Cheng Huang Miao, Shanghai Old Street

It’s the second day of our trip. After a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel and munching on some yummy flaky croissants, the tour bus drove us to Shanghai Cheng Huang Miao ( Shanghai Old City God Temple). It’s a popular tourist attraction where it houses the famous Taoist temple, Cheng Huang Miao. At Cheng Huang Miao Old street, there’s a stretch of shops selling souvenirs, goodies, local specalities such as preserved fruits, dragonbeard candies and peanut candies. At every corner of the streets, you would also find some eateries selling local delights such as dumpling soup or the famous ‘Tang Bao’ or soup-filled meat buns that has to be savoured with a straw.

I’ve been here before back in 2010 during Shanghai World Expo trip with my university. Nothing’s change except this place was more crowded than before. There were even photo booths where you could have a photoshoot of yourself wearing traditional Chinese costumes or old Chinese military uniforms with a red scarf tied around your neck.
Starbucks has also invaded the Old Shanghai Street. This modern American cafe looks a little outlandish with the red Chinese laterns, black roof tiles and traditional Chinese wooden carvings on the pillars. It’s a strange sighting but it just didn’t make any sense to include an American icon in the supposedly Old Shanghai Street where you are suppose to feel a transition in time of how the streets of Shanghai look like 100 years ago.
After a short stroll, we decide that we should head into one of the shops or eateries to seek for some warmth. It was freezing outside. Our tourguide recommended this eatery which serves good dumpling soup and Xiao Long Bao which tasted as good as Nan Xiang’s.
 Nan Xiang, a stone throw away from Ning Bo Dumplings, is popular Chinese restaurant which is famous for their Xiao Long Baos but the queue was just too long! I remember queuing up for Xiao Long Baos at the small counter located on the first floor of the restaurant when I was there for the first time! But according to the tourguide, you need to climb all the way to the 3rd floor where the kitchen at Nan Xiang produces the best Xiao Long Bao. Even though it’s the same restaurant, the standard of their food is quite different! Perhaps the more skilful chef is working on the third floor.
Since we didn’t have much time, we settled for Ning Bo eatery where we sat down to have a little snack.
On the second floor of this Eating house, I found rows and rows of steaming hot and freshly cooked Chinese delicacies displayed on the tabletop.
These mouth-watering dishes…

Tang Bao
( Soup-filled meat buns)
Here’s our Tang Bao!
The hot broth and gravy flowed right out the bun as I tried to pry open with the pair of chopsticks to see what’s in the bun.
There’s so much broth in it that you have to use a straw to suck all the goodness out before you start nimbling on the meat bun.

Dad also ordered a bowl of dumplings. 
Tang Bao and dumpling soup have become my comfort food on a cold winter day.

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