11/06/12– Shanghai-ing entry 1

My first month of summer break been quite wonderful to me. I spent the first three weeks chilling in BKK. Not much details to go along with my stay there since its mostly home – lunch with friends – time with my horses. What more can I say about my routine lifestyle? My life to some people might appear fun, but its getting boring for me.

So on June 3rd I boarded my flight to Shanghai in search of some new experiences. Once in Shanghai I encountered the harsh truth that I’ll have to live under the grey sky, high humidity and almost 30 degree celcius for the next month or so. Its just miserable weather here!! From past experiences and what people said so far, there’s going to be about one sunny clear sky day every two weeks. This is just sad and it makes me miss Boston even more. I dream of walking down Newbury st with its beautiful trees and flowers, brownstones building, friendly/well mannered people and most important of all – bright blue sky. And of course, I miss my girls and the crowd I hang out with in beantown. Nostalgic.

Well, let me get on with my life here. One of the first thing I did once I had free time was to go get myself a weight scale. I know you girls out there care about weight as much as I do, so stop smirking! You people remember the old school scale that doesn’t use battery right? That’s what I’m using now. It cost me around 40 rmb ($7) which is wonderful! So as long as it serve its purpose of telling me my weight daily for the next 4 weeks then its fine. The other thing I did was to make a list of restaurants, cafes and other places I want to check out. I know, I know…I’m contradicting myself. I want to lose weight but I love to eat. I mostly used cnngo.com/shanghai to polish my list with the best places. My blog will be continue to be a food extravaganza.

The past week I went to Lang Yi Fang in Super brand mall, Lei Garden in IFC mall, 100 century avenue sky bar at the 92nd floor of the Park Hyatt hotel, M on the bund and FU1088. That makes it around 1000rmb ($180) of food. My mom will kill me. She said that her friend’s daughter only spend $400 in one month when she was here. Obviously, its unlikely that I can accomplish that much of stringiness with my lifestyle. And, anyway, its realistically unfeasible.

Here’s a quick review of each place:

1. Lang yi fang: a good decent price spot for local Chinese food. I love the sweet and sour fish. They actually deep fried the whole fish for you here and also dissect it so that you won’t be munching on bones. The sauce itself is awesome, not too sweet nor sour. Service is alright, I would appreciate it more if the servers didn’t stare at my American friend all the time.

2. Lei Garden: 850rmb for two people. We ordered 2 scallops, prawns in salad sauce, stir-fry vegetables, and deep fried fish. Here the presentation of the food is prettier than other Chinese places. The seafood are very fresh as expected from a high-end restaurant. Service is good.  I love it that we didn’t have to tip!

3. FU1088 is another Chinese restaurant we went to. I’ll be very straightforward – the food, especially, the shark fin soup was so good; however, the service was horrible. I can deal with a waiter who doesn’t speak English, but being rude and throwing plates is unacceptable. The worst part is that there was a minimum charge per person but they didn’t tell until after we ordered. That was a big turned off. In the end the dinner for two cost us around 1000rmb. Ridiculous! But on the bright side, you can never get what I got at this meal for this price in the states. Plus, I think shark fin is outlawed in the US, no?

4. M on the bund: I had Sunday brunch here on a very grey smoggy day. The view was suppose to be stunning but since visibility was so low, I didn’t get to enjoy the scenery. The people at this restaurant were mostly expats and tourist. By tourist, I mean Caucasians. For 248rmb + 15% service charge, I got two courses along with orange juice and unlimited tea. You can substitute the orange juice for mimosa, bloody Mary or champagne cocktail. There’s a nice selection of food on the menu. I would recommend the 3-course meal though, since the desserts looked heavenly. Over all, it was a great meal.

5. 100 century avenue: I went here on a Saturday night when there’s a live band playing. I don’t recommend this bar for anyone below 35 though, unless you want to enjoy the view of Shanghai. (Again) make sure you go on a clear day. It cost 75rmb for a gin and tonic. There’s no minimum charge if you sit at one of the high rise counter on the sides. They’ll make you order 350rmb worth of liquor per person though if you get a table. So make up your mind my dear fans. =)

6. M2: I didn’t put this on the brief paragraph above because it’s a club. This isn’t my first time here, but it is still the way I remember it. I wouldn’t say this place is local because there’s a good mix of Chinese and foreigners (mostly Europeans). Its around 50rmb for a drink. I thought it’s a bit watered down though. Anyway, they have good DJs here; however, the music got a bit repetitive. For those of you who are frustrated with the US 2am closing time, Shanghai will be a clubbing heaven for you. M2 closes around 5am.

To all the foodies out there, if you don’t like to splurge on food then don’t go where I go. Its that simple! Shanghai street food are good and most people are happy to eat those all the time. Beware of the amount of oil though, it’ll make you fat in no time.

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