Should I ever disappear and you want to know where to find me, probably two of the first places you should look would be mornings along Wulumuqi street in the French Concession of Shanghai, or afternoons at Jia Jia Tang Bao on Huanghe street slurping down xiaolongbao, the famous soup dumplings of Shanghai, by the dozen. Both places are exactly the reasons why we...okay, I...travel.
river crabs on the street
w and I have been waking up early here in Shanghai. Partly the result of our internal clocks being whipped 15 hours ahead, and partly because we suck at laying around a hotel room when there's exploring, and eating, to be done. We rolled out of our hotel at around 7am yesterday, a beautiful sepia toned sky above us from the sun trying and failing to cut through the brown haze of pollution. We walked a few blocks down the street, crossing streets filled with scooters, bicyclists, and some of the ballsiest taxi drivers in the world, turned a corner, and up ahead I saw the Hum Bao Goddess appearing through the mist......
Okay, actually this one one hard working woman slaving over steaming bamboo containers of hum bao and shui mai (we drove by later that eveing around 7 with w's uncle, which mean she's pulling at least 12 hour shifts). Vegetable hum bao have rapidly shot to the top of my list of things to eat for breakfast. These were perfect, tender dough filled with bright, brilliantly fresh greens, mushroom, and chopped walnut. We also had their sweeter sesame paste filled hum bao...also delicious! Oh, and about 15 cents...U.S. ...each!! We wandered a few storefronts down and came across this woman in her street side stall making crepes. She'd spread the batter down, break an egg on top, spread that around (Left), let that cook a bit, fold it, spread some bean paste and a tiny bit of chili oil on, put a thin matzo-like cracker on top, fold it all up, chop it in half, wrap it up and hand us one of the best things I've ever had. It left my mouth tingling. Crazy stuff for abut fifty cents.
We're about to leave with w's uncle to go to go to Zhujiajiao , a classic river town outside of Shanghai, so the tale of the glory that is the Jia Jia Tang Bao dumpling will have to wait.....catch ya later!