We woke up at 6 o'clock to join the Taiji exercise gang on the Bund. We then realized what a great location we were in. The Astor's Hotel situates at the entrance of the canal connected by a steel bridge to the Bund. From the bridge, we had a great view of Pudong, where all the new high rises are, on the other side of Huangpu river.
We headed north to the old city to find some local breakfast places recommended by a convinience store owner last night. Here, away from all the high rises, shopping malls, and restaurants, we are back to the old Shanghai, where grandmas walking to the market, and some folks in their PJ's getting their breakfast togo. In this one block, we spotted the local's favor food stand, a tiny store front, where this lady in her mid-thirties making some very good looking crepe. She obviously has mastered the technique -- using a piece of flat metal pan, similar to any crepe pan, she scoped some very thin wheat paste onto it, then she quickly spread the paste evenly in a circular motion. While the paste is thickening, she cracked an egg in to the center, then smoothed it out. The egg turned in to scramble egg while the crepe was becoming crispy. She then added chopped pickles, parsley, source, etc, then folded it into a long roll before cutting it into two pieces for us. The whole process took less than 40 seconds for 1.80RMB (0.22USD). You cannot get fresher crepe for this price.
We had an aggressive plan today to check out Shanghai. First stop, Yuyuan (Yu Garden), and the Old Streets of Chenghuangmiao now a tourist mecca. We barely spent half an hour there before we headed to the French Concession, a nice part of town that is good for walking. The highlight of French Concession is Xindiandi, a hip shopping and dinning complex took up a few blocks, a development project that restore hundreds of the Shikumen style houses, which were massively constructed in 1920 to 1940. We really enjoyed the little musuem there, which gives a great details on the projects and history of the community.
One of my quests in Shanghai is to have the popular Shanghai crab for dinner. This is a special type of fresh water crab found only in the Chengyanghu (Chengyang Lake) close to Shanghai. In the crab season in October, people all over China are crazy about this little creature, the size of 1/4 to 1/3 of a dungeons crab. The taxi driver dropped us off the Seafood Market, where over a hundred of crab stands were waving to anyone walking by. It was an eye opening experience to say the least. All the stands were selling pretty much the same things -- crabs, crabs, crabs at all sizes, all very small to US standards; different kinds of clams, shrimps, fish, snails, etc. most of them I could not name them nor had seen them before. All the living creatures were swimming in shallow water in the tanks waiting to be bought.
Most of the crabs cost from 25 to 60RMB (3 to 8USD) each. Out of curiosity, I asked for the largest one in a wholesale store. The guy fished couple for me from the bottom tank. They were almost half of a dungeons crab size. The asking price is 340RMB (40USD) each. We found a stand that was outside of a nice restaurant to buy couple crabs, some shrimps and clams. Then sent them to the restaurant's kitchen to cook to the way we wanted. This is the way restaurants around the market serve seafood -- none carries any seafood but take the food customers bring in and cook to order. It was a great dinner that put a perfect ending for the day.