China 2013: Wan Shou Zhai, Nanjing Road, Grandma’s Home

We took an evening flight and landed at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport in about five hours, after which we got a cab for the 45-minute journey to Fraser Residence Shanghai. Fraser Residence was actually a compromise that Puey forged between Ade (who wanted the comfort of $300/night hotels), and me (who believed in $20/night hostels). We ended up paying a total of $630 for five nights at a Studio Deluxe; a very good deal seeing as it’s a spacious studio apartment with a living room and a small adjoining kitchen, washing machine (detergent included and refillable by housekeeping), comfortable bathroom, and a bedroom hosting a king-sized bed that easily fit the three of us. I’d gladly stay there again. Highly recommended!

We met up with Puey’s friend, Shi, on our first night. Shi had relocated to Shanghai for work a year ago, and he took the time out that night to show us the nightlife in the area. He brought us to M2 nightclub, which was an experience in itself, what with the club configuration giving emphasis to reserved tables for the multitudes of rich locals lounging disinterestedly on couches. We also got to witness Shi’s dance moves, something I’ll remember for a long time. Last of all, when I accompanied Ade outside the club for some air, a Caucasian suddenly came up to us to introduce himself and his shy local friend (“Rate my brother from 1 to 10! Do you believe that we are brothers?” he asked, pointing to the very Chinese-looking guy who spoke in a very different accent from him). We ended up striking a friendly conversation with the local, who recommended Wan Shou Zhai for some authentic food, among others. He was a good guy, and I felt a little sorry for him being pulled into his friend’s n00b pick-up schemes.

We took a cab down to Wan Shou Zhai the next morning, courtesy of Fraser Residence’s super helpful front desk. It’s a hole-in-the-wall, and a very popular one at that.
We paid for our order at the counter immediately after entering the space, where the man sitting behind a counter on the right side of this photo is. After that, we joined the queue in the middle of the eatery, eyeing crowded tables on both sides to see if we could snag three precious seats.
A video crew even started filming inside the place when we were there! It was pretty crazy how we were eating such delicious food while sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers.
The turnover was pretty high, seeing as people really just sat down, ate, and then left, so we found seats in no time at all. It was really squeezy, but I appreciated the hustle and bustle of this experience.
A bowl of peanut sesame noodles and a basket of xiao long bao. We also ordered a bowl of beef soup and then another basket of xiao long bao, because it was so yummy. By the way, our meal set us back a total of 21 yuan (SGD $4).
A satisfying meal slowly breaking down in our warm bellies, we proceeded to cab down to the famous shopping street in Shanghai, Nanjing Road. We dropped off at the eastern section and started walking from there, but I think we got distracted and diverged from our path towards the western section for a little bit.
Trams in various cute decorations are abound, shuttling people up and down the world’s longest shopping district.
Taking a picture with the new One Piece crew on Baleno’s window display! Photo by: Ade.
We bought a bag of roasted chestnuts for about 25 yuan. Ade turned out to be a master in peeling the shells, and would occasionally donate some of her perfectly-peeled chestnuts to Puey and I. Roasted chestnuts are just perfect for cold weather.
Stopping by at CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice was no coincidence; I spotted this branch on our way to Nanjing Road and positively frothed in excitement at the prospect of another chance to taste the sweet, sweet nectar they call bubble tea (after being introduced to CoCo in Los Angeles). So when we went off the main street of Nanjing Road, it was only natural that I had to make a stop there.
From left to right: Milk Tea with Pudding (my usual takeaway), Milk Tea with Pearls, and Three Brothers (Milk Tea with Pearls, Pudding, and Grass Jelly).
We went through a park that had such pretty trees and passed by two men playing badminton.
We took a picture with a Santa Claus at the expensive shopping mall!
We lucked out finding a Grandma’s Home in that same shopping mall. This was among the list that Zen, my LA food buddy, had given me of places to visit, so I was excited to try out the items that she had recommended. Unfortunately, we couldn’t seem to find most of the food items she had written in this particular restaurant… possibility due to it catering to a different set of people? Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed the food. Photo by: Puey.
I think Ade lent me her camera to take photos of the food. Here are cute bottles that we drank from. Ade and Puey had ordered something cool and fruity, while I went with hot milk tea. Photo from: Ade.
Roasted chicken in a claypot and a bowl of jellyfish. Photo from: Ade.
Rice cakes. Photo from: Ade.