When I was in Shanghai, I went out strolling/exploring by myself a few times. This is a short post on my experiences in Nanjing East Pedestrian Road and People’s Square/Park, places that I visited.
Nanjing East Pedestrian Road 南京西路步行街
This is a large vehicle-free (except on the pavement tram/train type rides) square lined with shops, restaurants and department stores. The nearest metro stop is East Nanjing Road. This area is full of people day and night. Outdoor seats are available.
Shops here sell clothes, silk products, and Shanghai specialty packaged foods. There is a shopping center that exclusively sells food.
Just an idea of what night time here looks like.
This is the ideal stop for walking to the Bund.There are a variety of high end department stores here. The above pictures show 2.
People’s square 人民广场
There are just so many people in China.And you wonder why the cars don’t stop for the people. This is an ordinary day near People’s square exit 1. With the introduction of the second child policy, there will be even more people, even less jobs than currently and even more unemployed young people.
Anyway. People’s square (the actual square) is another pedestrian street that is lined with shops, department stores and restaurants. The closest metro stop is People’s square, I do not remember the exact exit number, but one exit goes straight to the street level here, in fact this photo was taken from the stairs of the metro exit.
There are cheap food outlets as well as more expensive places. Click here for a short clip of the local area there.
肉夹馍 Rou Jia Mo, a meat filled piece of bread, is a traditional Xi An street food, there are a few stalls here that sell it too. The bread can vary from soft white bun to a harder, flaky pancake as in this case. The meat is usually pork.
During my evening stroll on a hot July night, I stumbled upon a small, green cylindrical kiosk selling Harbin ice cream, they had a small speaker on all night (and day I presume) advertising their ice cream in Mandarin, with flavours including original, mocha, tea, and liqueur. Curious and hot, I decided to get an original one. Wow! For an ordinary looking ice block and coming from someone who doesn’t like dairy based ice cream, this was so good!! The original ‘cream flavoured’ ice cream was not too sweet which was perfect for me, and you can just taste the cream. I absolutely loved it, too bad I couldn’t go back for another one. If you see it be sure to try one. Unfortunately I didn’t quite take notice of where the kiosk was located, but try your luck asking a local where to find “东北老哈大板冰激凌” (okay, that’s quite a mouthful… just show them the text or the picture above), or just wander up and down the straight street until you see or hear it.
People’s Park (人民公园) is more of a green parkland for locals, not really a sightseeing place for visitors and tourists. The elderly come here to do Tai Ji (yes, it’s Tai Ji not Tai Chi or Tai Qi… Also, it’s Gong Fu, not Kung Fu… and Dou Fu not Tofu) and others come to jog or stroll. It is quite a large park. This photo above was taken from exit 10 of People’s Square metro stop.
But there is one (strange) spectacle to be seen here. On weekends, many local elderly parents of single adult children come here to attend “Dating Markets” (相亲会) to advertise their children’s profiles or to advertise a ‘spouse wanted’ ad on pieces or paper, cardboard, umbrellas, trolley bags etc, and to exchange information in the hope of looking for a mate for their (unwilling) children… without their children’s permission. These adults children are often annoyed at or embarrassed by such actions so never come here.
The ads contain basic profile information about their children such as age, name, date of birth, occupation and university they studied at, and requirements of the potential spouse. Reading them, one would think it is some sort of competition, some requirements are quite outrageous, like “[The daughter in law] must be pretty and kind”, “must have a car/house”, “be from a certain industry” and “must never have co-habituated with other people [of the opposite gender]”. Click here to read my rant, and check out the video here.
You can poke a little one-of-a kind fun here by also making your own ad or even attempt to introduce yourself to one of the parents there… it’s cheaper than online dating!
Opposite the park is a food court where I visited with some friends. The name on the plaque in English is “Shima”. There is a really good variety of food here, far more and far better than any food court I have been in in Australia (I dare say this place has better and more interesting food than the entire Chinatown in Sydney). There are Xi An food, Shan Xi food, create your own stirfries, Korean food, Shanghai food, stirfries, spicy food, fruit juices, ice tea, soup, congee, noodles …
Unfortunately I don’t have too many photos but you can see a video of the food court and the location here.
The serving size and prices here are good and reasonable. It’s not a touristy place (no fast food here) but this also means no English menus (but there are pictures). The food court is cashless so you need to get a top up card at the counter near the entry, load it with money and use that, you get back what you don’t use.
This is 凉糕 ‘liang gao’ or ‘cold cake’, a Sichuan dessert. I’ve had this dessert before in Guilin in Guang Xi Province. It is a cold dessert made from glutinous rice and served with sweet syrup and condiments like crushed nuts, as was in this one. I liked it so when I saw it here I had to get one! (By the way, that is a table spoon, not a teaspoon so it was quite big).
Salt and pepper squid.
You can also get Rou Jia Mo here, as well as other Xi An foods like Lamb Soup with Mo or Yang Tang Pao Mo (Mo is a type of bread). I am not a fan of lamb but this is a fun way to eat lamb soup, you tear the pieces of Mo and soak it in your lamb soup (some places, it comes already in your soup).
The address of the food court is 258 南京西路 上海 or 258 Nanjing East Road, Shanghai. The closest metro stop is People’s square exit 10 or 11, across the road. The Chinese name is 食尚美食广场.
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