Monday, September 11, 2006

The wierd and whacky in Shanghai

Been pretty busy with friends coming to visit from Cowra as well as being invited to a girl from work's place for dinner. Both were lots of fun, however, our social calander is booked up all weekends bar one from now until my next prac in the middle of October! I had anothre glance at when my assignments were due and it is the 1st of October so, I really need to juggle my time well from now till then. It is wierd having assignment stress all over again. Its been a while now since my last assignment, a bit nervous about handling it and completing it. Its amazing what working full time does to you - I suspect it kills brain cells!

I was going to do chronological posts about Shanghai but I decided I will divide it into topics: wierd or different things, food, day and night scenes. I unfortunately only really had 2 out of the 4 days to explore. Alas on the second night, a terrible tummy bug got hold of me and I got the works. This included fever, cough and cold and the usual dehydration from both ends. Needless to say, I am now a bit wary about going back there. At least I had 2 days to have a good look around!

The following two pictures are from a shelf in a shop selling typical shanghai delicacies. It was located in their tourist tower (you know what I mean, alot of cities have one) called the Bright pearl of Asia (literally translated).

Amongst other things which were "normal" for me such as dried or fried marinated fish and shrimp, various candied or dried fruits etc. lay these interesting snacks. The yellow bulbs on the left are actually stewed garlic and the brown things onthe right are marinated, roasted duck tongues. All hygenically packed ... of course. I decided that those were a bit too strange as snack foods and besides, I had to buy the whole packet, what if I really disliked it?? Hence I gave these a miss.

Over on this shelf was salted chicken gizzards (the strange brown things) on the left and dried fish on the right. I happen to have had gizzards in the past and didn't mind them too much as they were in a soup. Hence, I bought a package of individualy wrapped ones to share with my sister. How were they? Pretty salty but a nice crunchy texture. Anyone who has had kidney in steak and kidney pie will know what I mean by crunchy. Not bad ... just that probably having two might blow your daily sodium intake.

Another interesting thing about Shanghai was these literally hole-in-the-wall places selling various cooked snacks such as fried bread, dough sticks, dumplings etc. The following picture is quite a large "shop" compared to some I saw which had a hole in the wall the size of some large computer monitors! Yet there was someone on the other side of the window and a small sign advertising their wares, mostly food or drink.

We passed this market in the tour bus on the first day, onthe way to our hotel. It was about 7 am in the morning and the street was milling with people. It was definitely a shared zone with people, cars, buses, bicycles, scooters and people all trying to get to where they wanted and all in different directions. People were buying their groceries for the day and this included vegetables, fruit and meat/seafood. If you look closely at the bottom right corner of the screen, you can see a small tank full of eels. These were live but were killed fresh on the spot when you purchased them.

Does this look familiar to you? Yes! It is gyros (yeeros) or kebab meat going around on a small spit, just in the middle of the street. The price is low like most food in shanghai - 3 RMB/yuan for a pita pocket, 4 for a burger or 5 for a large wrap bread. And 10 RMB for a large box of meat. This equates to $0.60 AUD for the pita pocket !!! Those grimacing about the hygiene should have thier gut feeling confirmed, around the corner was a guy squatting by a drain and sharpening the kebab knife in it!! *bleah*

No I definitely did not eat questionable food and ate at pretty high standard restaurants, yet I got a tummy bug. The rest of my family were ok but I guess it just takes one different order to get hit big time! Anyway, next post will show a bit more about shanghainese cuisine.


At 2:26 AM, Blogger Shauny said...

great stuff... looking forward to the next installment! :)

At 5:03 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Love the stories and the photos...sorry 'bout the stomach attack - but at least you didn't get it from the Gyros!

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Juliet said...

I'd forgotten about the gyros! Ugh, and do you remember how the guy had a bucket of dirty water next to the stall to wash his utensils in? Blurgh. I think the Shanghainese must have very strong stomachs.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S. said...

i think i would lose about 30 pounds if i were on that trip. i have this weird thing with textures and hygienic food practices, plus i just don't do organ meats. i dig your analogy to steak and kidney pie, though. i've never eaten a kidney, i'll take your word for it that they are crunchy!

keep posting, you gastronomical stories are hilarious!

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Flatfeet said...

Rachel jie, 60cents for a kebab! WOW, i can give a treat to a big group of friends!! LOL
Still, I hope u did have fun in shanghai.
Will email u soon.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger milgwimper said...

I love it Rachel! Well not about you getting the tummy trouble, but I love your photographs and stories. My brother just got back from China two days ago and is mostly sleeping so no stories or pictures yet. So, keep them coming! :)


At 11:32 PM, Blogger tucker said...

Hi Racheal
Have you managed to find "wan-tan mee " there in Shanghai ?
You must be craving for it !


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