Friday, June 18, 2010

A couple of Shanghai food photos

A trio of Shanghai's most famous snack,the xiaolongbao or steamed dumpling.These had a meaty interior awash with a hot broth or gravy.Other varieties contain crab and seafood and there are also vegetarian dumplings.The trick is eating them without scalding your mouth or dripping the gravy/broth over your clothes.These ones cost 1 yuan each and are available all over the city.

Local bakeries and stalls sell different kinds of bread and snacks.These are made of flaky pastry.A little oily and pleasantly but not overwhelmingly sweet.Again like the steamed dumplings above they cost a mere 1 yuan each.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

According to one guidebook I read the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has over 10,000 specimens making it one of the largest aquatic collections in the world.The aquarium is located in Lujiazui in the shadow of the Oriental Pearl Tower.Adult admission was 135RMB.Up from 120RMB stated in my guidebook dated 2009.But this is 2010 and the EXPO is on...
Anyways given that it took me nearly two hours to see everything and read the helpful English language captions it seemed a fair and reasonable outlay.
There are three floors and various watery environments such as the Yangzi River,the Amazon and the usual tropical reef fish and tanks.Not forgetting of course the almost mandatory penguin tank that lets you see both the birds swimming and nesting.
There were tanks devoted to single species such as stingrays and slow,ponderous jellyfish which had a backlit tank so you could see how transparent and luminous their bodies were.

You move between floors via escalators.In one instance as you descended you were surrounded on three sides by a huge see through acrylic tank.Fish darted beside and above as the escalator transported you to the floor below.The basement floor features a lengthy clear viewing tunnel that has you craning your neck or diving anxiously as sharks,stingrays and other sea creatures swim overhead and beside you.

There were obviously some species I hadnt seen before such as the Chinese alligator or even the Horseshoe Crab which shared a tank in the Sea and Shore area on the Second Floor.

There were,as I noted above,signs in English that named each species and gave some useful information about them such as their habitat and status.I recommend picking up one of the English language guides that is available.It also has hints about taking photography and other etiquette such as not using your flash and not tapping the glass of the tanks.
However this doesnt seem to be strictly enforced and is even ignored as parents prop their offspring up against the penguin or fishtanks or stand them on ledges and illuminate the area with their barrage of flashes.The sudden incandescence seems to stun the watching aquarium staff into inaction as much as it causes the penguins and fish to flinch and attempt to flee.

The Aquarium is worth visiting if you have a few hours to kill or the weather means other leisure choices are out of the question.The Aquarium has a daily feeding schedule that visitors can attend.Personally I gave the penguin feeding session a wide berth not wanting to be crushed by the hordes.Theres also the obligatory exit through the well stocked gift shop which leads through to an uninspiring fast food court should one be hungry.Not that I saw fish and chips on the menu...
The daily operating hours vary according to the time of year tho it seems usual hours are 9am to 6pm.Check the website at

Friday, June 04, 2010

People's Square(Renmin Park).

People's Square in Shanghai is pretty much the centre of Shanghai if you want to meet up with anyone from either Puxi or Pudong.The huge subway station is one of the major intersecting hubs connecting metro lines.Above ground various museums ,buildings and shopping streets draw people to the area.In the shot above you can see the UFO topped Raddison Hotel overlooking the Square.

One of the attractions within Renmin Park is a large pond.As yet the lotus flowers havent yet bloomed but no doubt are a drawcard later in the month when they do.There are lots of grassed areas with shrub and treelined paths. Despite the cloudy day there were a good number of people out and about taking advantage of the fine weather.

Above is a shot of the Shanghai Museum again set in the grounds of Renmin Park.It looks odd because it has a round roof and a square base.I read somewhere it was designed along the lines of a traditional three-legged cooking utensil called a ding.I havent been inside yet as apparently you need at least a day to do the exhibits justice and Ive been too busy on my days off or too tired to find the time.

One of the things I like about this area is the diverse architecture styles on display.In the foreground there is the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre while in the background you can make out the Radisson Hotel topped by what looks like an errant UFO.A lot of these buildings like the Exhibition Centre have roof top cafes so you can get a better view of the area.Again something to put on my 'to do' list.
Finally another view of what you can see as you walk round Renmin Square an odd mixture of architectural styles and eras.A sleek nondescript mirror windowed sky scraper lurches over a far more conventionally designed building.