Friday, October 29, 2010

Xinghua Lou

Located at 343 Fuzhou Rd is Xinghua Lou,a venerable Shanghai eatery dating back to the 1850's.At street level there is a bakery serving steamed buns and other local treats.If you enter the entrance to the left of the bakery and avoid the milling queues you can take the elevator up to the third floor restaurant.

The upper floor restaurant comes complete with English menu,white linen tablecloths and some splendid if slightly dusty chandeliers.The shot above and those below are examples chosen at random off the menu.

There are a variety of teas available including jasmine in the teapot above.The longer you let it sit or steep the darker and stronger it became.Very refreshing on a hot,humid morning and a perfect foil for the Cantonese food on the menu.

The steamed buns and Cantonese dim sums were tasty and well worth a second helping.The restaurant was filling up by the time we got there at 10:30am.We got seated immediately but noticed a queue for tables on leaving.The restaurant and bakery open from 7:30am.The prices were reasonable-dim sums from 10 rmb and other dishes from 20rmb.Worth a visit for brunch or an early lunch,I'd recommend visiting early before the dinner rush.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre

The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre is located in Peoples Square on Renmin Avenue.The photo shows the building from the rear overlooking the gardens of Renmin Park.The roof apparently is capped with four 'florets' meant to symbolise magnolia buds-Shanghai's flower.The Hall has exhibits and models that both look to the past and the future of Shanghai.

The Hall has five floors with photos of 1930's Shanghai and a video presentation titled 'The History of the Bund' and a model of Yu Garden on one floor contrasting with the upper floors displays of Integrated Transportation and Urban Planning with scale model ports,airports and subway stations.This photo shows a section of the Pudong New Area with the Pearl Tower towards the lower right hand side of the shot.

For me getting a grip on the size of this teeming city hasn't been easy.One way to get an idea of the immense size is to check out the model of Shanghai on the third floor.The model of the Downtown Area of Central Shanghai covers 600 square metres.At a scale of 1:500 it purports to show the 110 square kilometres of Shanghai that is squeezed within the Inner Ring Road.It is impressive even at a scale of 1:500.
The Expo site has been faithfully modeled as has the yet to be completed Shanghai Centre skyscraper or 'The Dragon' that will dwarf the SWFC and Jin Mao buildings which will be its neighbours once complete in 2014.Apparently the model has faithfully reproduced the buildings in Shanghai-I spotted my lowrise building having perched on the stairs overlooking the city model to get a better view.

Another set of model houses that shows the evolution and variety of housing that have made up a lot of Shanghai's residential buildings.

This rather garish golden revolving model entitled 'Morning in Shanghai' can be seen on the ground floor.Again the still under construction 128 story glass encased Shanghai Centre features alongside the Jin Mao and SWFC buildings.
The Exhibition Hall is well worth a visit even if just for the views from the fifth floor across Peoples Square to the Museum or over the gardens.From memory,entry was 40rmb and the place while not exactly doing a brisk trade had a fair sprinkling of both locals and tourists.I didn't make it in time for the 3D screening showcasing Shanghai's attractions but did walk around a temporary art exhibition on one of the floors.The Hall is open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm and Fri-Sun 9-6pm.