Saturday, 23 June 2012

dENiZEN We Are Explorers China - Shanghai As I've Never Known It

RAH!!! FINALLY I'm back to my dENiZEN adventures! Er...after a month since the last entry... *sheepish grin* But hey, I'm back yo? Haha~

Prior to this 2-week trip, and having been to Shanghai many times during my days as a flight attendant, can I say once again how ashamed I was that I only knew Shanghai as a place to get pirated DVDs and good massages? 

I never knew that Shanghai is beautifully known as the Paris of the East. And I was so glad that I got chosen to be the dENiZEN Explorer for China, because I got to know this huge country which my great-parents come from, so much more. 

It's amusing how I've always only thought of China as this cheena (associated stereotypical image of China & her people) place where it's just huge mountains, super a lot of (really loud) people, and uncivilized spitting. 


I realize that I have so much to learn. China is very much misunderstood. Especially by us Singaporeans who have become so westernized in the last 30 years. Never too late. And thank you once again, Fly Films, dENiZEN, & JWT Shanghai. You have no idea how much you've opened my eyes this trip back where my roots lay...

I never knew much about Shanghai before this trip, and thanks to Raymond and the dENiZEN team, I  found little nooks and corners like these....

A telephone booth at the French Concession. 

The French Concession is this area once designated for the French, and is located along Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Walk along Fuxing and Huaihai Road for interesting shops and cafes tucked away behind discreet gates. I somehow felt a little like I was in Asia's very own Paris. =)

We found this little cafe that sells all kinds of antique stuff, including doorknobs and vintage furniture. 

If you know of such a cafe in Singapore, let me know. I wanna visit, and order a latte and curl up with a  good book on a self-proclaimed off day. 

The beauty about shooting in Shanghai was that this is the Fly Films & JWT Shanghai crew's territory. Meaning, they know exactly where to go. For the best shots, the best food, and the best everything else. Jia Jia Tang Bao (that's the English name for the that signboard on top) is FAMOUS~ And judging from other blogs which wrote about Jia Jia, it seemed to be a restaurant that one would have to queue for.

It was quiet when we arrived! Yay!!!!

This many staff inside such a small space is an indicator of the anticipated crowd later on.

I was curious. I mean, hey, Shanghai Xiao Long Bao is not called Shanghai Xiao Long Bao for nothing. Then again, not all Chilli Crab or Chicken Rice in Singapore are good either. And there I was at the BEST Xiao Long Bao eatery in Shanghai. (Or so Raymond & Dana said.)

We ordered like 6 long (1 long is 1 basket) of the Xiao Long Bao. All different flavors of course. There was the Original, Crab, Prawn, Vegetable and 2 other ones I can't remember. 

I have NEVER tasted Xiao Long Bao THIS good. 

I used to think Din Tai Fung was amazing already. I mean, it still is. But ladies and gentlemen...

Ooooo the soup~ The souuuppp~~~~
Even Anish was enjoying it. And he has never ever had Xiao Long Bao in his entire life.
Miss it much Anish?

Each of the flavors are distinctly different as well. I'm salivating as I'm recalling and writing this.
And each long is soooooo cheap I wanna cry.

Prices range from the 9 yuan (that's like what, less than S$2???) for 1 long (10 Xiao Long Baos) for the Original flavor , to the average 15 yuan (<S$3) for other variations, to the priciest one at 96 yuan (S$18?) for Pure Crab.

There's no way you can find Xiao Long Bao (& I mean a full basket of 10, not the tim sum restaurant portion of 4-5 sub-standard ones) for less than S$2 Xiao Long Bao in Singapore. ESPECIALLY if it's good and famous. 

Help~ *withdrawal symptoms*

I want to go back there! I don't care!!!! 
And I am going to!!!! Muahahaha~ Watch this space~ *wink*

For those of you who are curious, Jia Jia Tang Bao is located at:

90 Huanghe Lu
Shanghai, China
+86 21 6327 6878

You're welcome. ;)

After we had our fill we went to this place called Tian Zi Fang 田子坊, also known as Tai Kang Lu 泰康路, or the SOHO of Shanghai.

Originally built as a Shikumen (a style of architecture back in those days) residential district in the 1930s, it started becoming more colorful in 2005/2006 onwards when more international business owners started business here and it has since grown to housing 200 over shops containing art galleries, cafes, bistros, boutique stores etc. 

Maybe our own Tiong Bahru district (namely Yong Siak Street) will become like that one day, I can definitely smell a similar direction. =D

It is Paris' le Marias, in Shanghai. A whimsical maze of alleys of shops you will not mind getting lost in. No 2 shops are alike, and I wondered if I could ever complete Tianzifang in a day. (I merely took a couple of hours in there for our shoot.)

The artsy galleries, romantic cafes, curious shop displays, quaint boutique's a myriad of colors, inspiration, and awe. 

I don't think I quite know how else to describe Tianzifang, except that there's nothing like it here in Singapore. The closest you can get is probably Haji Lane, or along Club Street/ Ann Siang Road. Still, they can't compare.

It is a little touristy, but I can't blame them. If I was a local, I would check out that place too. Why then would a tourist pass this up? =)

One restaurant that I would definitely come to. Every floor has a distinctly different theme and feel. And some floors are just so exclusive there is only space for one group of people. 

Maybe I'll cover it on my next trip to Shanghai. Soon. 

Old Shanghai~ Parisian wonder. With a hint of bohemian. 

How to get there? 

 Lane 210, Taikang Road, Luwan District, Shanghai
Subway: Take Line 9 & get off at Dapuqiao Station. Exit 1 to Tianzifang.
Bus: Take Bus 17, 24, 236, 304, 864 and get off at Middle Jianguo Road Ruijin 2nd Road Station
(For clearer Chinese instructions scroll down this page. I know English street names don't help much. Lol)Opening Hours: Shops open & close at different timings. But between 10am-10pm, you're safe. Bars close later.

I'm falling in love with Shanghai. So much to explore. How could 2 weeks be ever enough to cover China? 

I swear I'm coming back.


  1. Wow Silver I really like your this post on Shanghai! :D

  2. Yikes! Eating XLB without a spoon seems kinda dangerous to me. With hot soup ready to splurt out. Yes, Jia Jia is nice. But after eating there, you should have hop over to the opposite of the road and try Shanghai other famous snack, Xiao Yang Sheng Jian Bao. Will let you know of other delicious food and places to visit the next time you plan to visit Shanghai again.

    1. OMG I am going there next month! List the places already!!!! =D

    2. So fast? Can't you wait few more months? Trust me. U won't enjoy Shanghai in peak summer.

    3. CLK!!! I tried it!!!!! OMG it's SOOOOO good!!!! And yes, Shanghai is hot now, so I didn't really explore much. Which means I'm gonna have to get to know it better in fall. ;)

  3. very exaggerated way of eating XLB, but i like!

  4. V exaggerated way of eating XLB, i like!