I guess you could really call our trip to Shanghai the Trip of Dumpling Eating. We had dumplings for the majority of our meals. The famous xiolongbao (soup dumplings) are a Shanghai thing so OF COURSE we had to eat them as much as possible.
We did the “Dumpling Delights” tour with UnTour, and it included a tour of dumpling restaurants/stalls, and then some dumpling-making. Until this trip, I’d never had non-local guides on a tour before. But both UnTour and the shopping tour are run by English-speaking expats and it was surprisingly awesome. Everyone seemed really excited to live in Shanghai, and language was never a problem because they all speak fluent Mandarin.
While I was writing this I had to take a break to go order and eat some dumplings because my own photos were making me hungry. (Unfortunately, the ones I ordered weren’t nearly as good as any of the dumplings in this entry so it was disappointing.)
While we were waiting to meet our tour guide, we hung out in a park and I took pictures of signs.
I forget where we were, but the park was very pretty!
I am obsessed with osmanthus as a note in perfumes, but I’ve never smelled a real osmanthus flower. (They’re native to eastern Asia.) Unfortunately this plant had no flowers for me to smell. Someday, I will find a real osmanthus.
Anyway, we eventually met up with our guide and there was one other couple on the tour with us. The first stop was some side-of-the-road dumpling vendor (the best kind) selling these pan-fried delicious goodies. We immediately gobbled them up.
THIS LOOKS SO GOOD, WHY CAN’T I BE EATING THIS RIGHT NOW WAHHHHH.
Next stop, not a dumpling, but one of my favourite, favourite Chinese street foods — jianbing!
Jianbing is this egg crepe thing and this one was filled with delightful crunchy bits. We first had these on a trip to Beijing and they are seriously tasty. If I lived in China, I would eat them all the time for breakfast. I’m dying right now looking at this.
A random dumpling place that I’m sure I would never have ventured into otherwise.
I don’t know what this is called in Chinese, but it’s called yuba in Japanese and I love it. It’s tofu skin.
More dumplings, the boiled kind.
Then it was onwards to a dumpling-making class. The teacher didn’t speak English but the guide translated.
At the class, we made shengjianbao, which are basically soup dumplings that are pan-fried and them steamed. (Regular xiolongbao soup dumplings are just steamed.) They are a Shanghai specialty and SO GOOD. SERIOUSLY SO GOOD.
Mike’s dumpling is pretty good for a first try!
Ready to be cooked.
Maybe not the most beautiful shengjianbao ever, but still yummy.
After eating, we wandered through a wet market on the way to the last stop. Here’s some random eels.
I was insanely full at this point but I had to eat this dumpling soup. It was kind of spicy… not in a hot way, but in a full-of-spices way. I wish I remembered where this was so I could tell you go to there and order this soup, which probably costs $1. It’s times like these that I lament not living in a country like China where I can buy ridiculously delicious food for almost no money.
After the tour, it was raining a bit so we decided to walk over to the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum.
I took a photo of the map on the business card in case you ever need to find this place. It’s actually fairly confusing and it’s located in a block of residential apartment buildings that all look the same.
Here’s what the outside of the building looks like. Luckily there’s a small sign on the wall so you can find it!
You can’t take pictures inside the museum, but trust me — if you’re ever in Shanghai, you should check it out. I am fascinated by propaganda posters so this place was amazing. It’s also kind of surreal to be looking at all this Mao propaganda in China.
Sigh, now I really want to eat some dumplings. Good ones. From Shanghai. Preferably shengjianbao. So, IN THE NEXT ENTRY: …more dumplings, of course.