When I was still in school I lived in Shanghai for a bit. I have… shall we say mixed feelings about China. On the one hand it’s a super cool country, buuuut on the other hand they’re not that great at democracy and individual liberty and stuff. While being there, I wrote a thesis on sports betting and had to enlist my brother to register himself at various bookmakers as this is definitely not something you can do from China. You also can’t use google. Or Facebook. Or many other things we take for granted on the internet. And this is of course only scraping the surface, from the vantage point of a privileged westerner. The Chinese people have more alarming concerns than not being able to use Google. Millions of people being moved to clean up the city for a world expo for example. Or citizens waiting 15 years to be allowed a passport. Stuff like that.
China’s oppressiveness is camouflaged juuuust enough for you to forget that it exists if you don’t pay attention. But if you start looking..? Well, then it’s… it’s pretty bad.
All of this said – I do miss Shanghai. A city full of life and possibility. A place were you can start the evening playing bingo at a luxurious restaurant were a waiter drives the top bingo-prize (an electric scooter) through the restaurant honking at every turn yelling “BINGO, BINGO, BINGO”. Then, you continue a couple of floors up the building, befriend a German billionaire with childhood issues and see the sun go up from his 20 000 € per night suite on the 84th floor of The Bottle Opener.
Nothing remotely similar has happened to me in Stockholm, I’ll tell you that. But Shanghai is really a crazy place, in good ways and in bad ways.
Similar to Stockholm though, Shanghai is a city with great food, both at the high and the low end of the price spectra. You can easily find a good meal for less than two dollars and you can (obviously) spend however much you want.
I miss the weird breakfast street pancakes with the brown, gooey, chili stuff and the crispy cracker. I miss the Hongkong duck at my go-to lunch place. I miss the street side wooks. Most of all though, I miss the dumplings at Ruijin Road. They’re just these simple dumplings in broth for 13 or so RMB (≈2$). But man… I got seriously hooked.
I’ve tried to recreate them with this recipe. They’re close enough to vividly remind me of the real deal, but I know they’re not as good.
They are very good thou! You should try them.