Lisa’s Travels: Shanghai, China

A quick visit to Shanghai crammed with a ridiculous amount of noodles and dumplings.

SHANGHAI

In 2014 we spent a few days in Shanghai and really loved it. Can’t wait to go back. Here’s my Shanghai list, for what it’s worth:

We stayed at the Peninsula which we absolutely loved. Uber luxurious. Beautiful everything, great service and lovely breakfast.

The highlights for us were Untour Shanghai, the dumplings and noodles and the breathtaking view from the Bund.

Untour Shanghai offer some wonderful food tours. We really loved the street eats breakfast tour where we tried many different types of street food that (honestly) we would NEVER have been brave enough to seek out on our own.

One of the many highlights were the Xiao Long Bau at Jia Jia Tang Bao. These Shanghai soup dumplings are the most magical things. A dumpling with a chicken or pork filling along with a little hot soup all enclosed in the dumpling. We were taught that to avoid a burnt tongue and mouth, you need to pierce the top of the dumpling with your chopstick or teeth and gingerly suck out the hot soup, and only then can you pop the whole thing in your mouth.

Another highlight was the perfect Portuguese custard tart right at the end of the tour.

And we loved it so much that we signed up for an ‘oodles of noodles’ tour. We arranged a private ‘Untour Shanghai’ tour with some friends who were also in town and it was really fabulous and totally worth doing. But bring your appetite. We ate the most surprisingly delicious things in the history of surprisingly delicious things – peanut sesame noodles. Who would’ve thought?! If you don’t have time to do the noodle tour, at least go to Wei Xiang Zhai for the sesame peanut butter noodles. The absolute best. Then we saw some very talented noodle-makers make the most beautiful noodles from a lump of dough with their bare hands. No jokes. Bare hands. And we snuck in a visit to Mr Wu, for his O-M-G scallion oil pancakes – in fact Shanghai culinary expert Jamie Barys calls it a cult pancake. I think it is something that everyone should eat at least once in their life.

Check out Untour Shanghai’s website for tours as well as Culinary Backstreets for other restaurant/food ideas.

AND OTHER THINGS:

And also, while you are not busy eating noodles and dumplings you can do many other things:

A must-do in Shanghai is to have cocktails at a bar overlooking the mesmerising Shanghai skyline. It is breathtaking. And your photos will not do it justice. Our favourite outlook was from the Indigo hotel, where our friends were staying. It is quite a way up the Bund from the Peninsula but worth it.

There are many Jewish immigrants in Australia who arrived from Shanghai, most of them coming originally from Russia. The most talked about and popular Jewish tour of Shanghai is with Dvir from ‘Shanghai Jews’ who can be contacted through his website.  

LUNCHES:

We also enjoyed an authentic and fun Chinese hotpot restaurant, Hai Di Lao Huo Guo Hotpot, which, once you get the hang of how it all works, is a really interesting and delicious experience. And you can have a manicure while you wait for your table.

We found some very good, and, by our judging, the cleanest noodles and dumplings at Din Tai Fung. We went to the Portman branch and loved our meal there.

DINNERS:

I don’t have anything exciting to report here as we were not blown away by anything. I must admit we were pretty stuffed after eating dumplings all day…but…here is my very limited report.

Mr and Mrs Bund – probably the best we tried. It is a fun, nice restaurant with great music and nice enough French-ish food.

Lost Heaven on the Bund – A bit touristy, with average Yunnan cuisine. There must be better Chinese restaurants in this town!

M on the Bund – We didn’t go, but was on my list.

GALLERIES:

Loved the power station of art. It was absolutely amazing. But of course it totally depends what’s on. http://www.powerstationofart.com/en/

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Happy not-quite-a-long-weekend-but-with-long-weekend-feels everyone! And what a blessing that the sun is shining. We hope to see lots of pics of BBQs and lamingtons. When inspiration grabs you and you find yourself in a baking mood, here is our delicious lamington recipe, there's still time to whip up a batch. What's cooking at your place this weekend? (And we are indebted to Railea Don for this wonderful iconic recipe ❤️}

Ingredients
Cake
125 grams butter (unsalted)
185 grams Caster (Superfine) Sugar
2 eggs
250 grams Self-Raising (Self-Rising) flour (1 2/3 cups)
1/2 cup milk or fresh orange juice
Icing
500 grams icing (confectioners) sugar
3 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
1 cup hot water
250 grams shredded or desiccated coconut

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 28 x 19 x 4 cm lamington tin.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Gradually add the flour, alternating with the milk or orange juice.

Mix together well, then pour the mixture evenly into the prepared tin.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.
Cut the cake into 4 cm squares, trimming the edges if necessary.

Mix the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl.

Put the butter into the hot water to melt, and mix into the icing sugar mixture until thick and smooth.

Drop the cake squares into the chocolate, ensuring the cake is fully covered, then remove very quickly. Drain the cake on a wire rack for a few seconds. Using a large cooking fork, roll in the coconut.
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You can now pre order our beautiful organic cotton aprons via our website for dispatch mid Feb. We sold out of our first run in December and we'd love to order some more for all of you who missed out.

They are comfortable, durable and highly functional (so many pockets!), the ultimate kitchen accessory which will allow you to be as messy as you want - in style! Manufactured ethically in Australia by @creamcollection_pro we can offer you 2 sizes - small (Merelyn, Natty wear) or regular (Lisa, Jaks wear) - so head to our website and order yours today! Just click the link in our bio.
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