Saturday, July 08, 2006

Takin' It to the Streets

I don't have the mental energy to write anything particularly interesting or insightful right now. It's about 9:30pm and we've been going since 8:30am with academics and administrative issues. So I'll just give a "prepackaged" tour of the rapidly vanishing street world of Shanghai.

Walk through this gate to enter what remains of the old Chinese district of the city. Only a few square blocks of it remain in this district. The neighborhoods, which are hundreds of years old, are being bulldozed to make way for the new high-rise condos and office towers.

One has to look pretty hard in Shanghai to find Ming Dynasty architecture - or at least architecture evocative of the Ming Dynasty - still standing. We ventured into this neighborhood in the first place to taste noodles at a little Islamic place (top photo above). Once again my experience in the city boils down to a search for more snacks. Anyway... it was about 100 degrees f with 75% humidity, so you can imagine Paddy melting as we made our way into these back streets pullulating with life, though I took the Duc's advice and simply embraced the heat. As you can see from the photo on the right, the width of the street is about 30 feet across (im standing in a shop on the opposite side of the street from this food vendor. Of course I couldn't resist just a little taste of their wares, especially I figure since I was taking their pictures. What I opted for was a kind of Chinese grilled quesedilla filled with a bitter chopped grass and garlic spread. And here's a glimpse into the dumpling place on the other corner across from our noodle shop. Notice the woman working her way through a bowl of noodles on the inside.
Well of course my noodles proved wonderful. Fresh hand-shaved noodles were quick boiled in water then added to a bowl along with raw onion wedges, green and red peppers, and large chucks of roasted beef. In the pic on the right you can see the guy who just hand-made the noodle dough shaving from the block into a vast of boiling water.

I'm squinting because the sweat is literally cascading down my forehead into my eyes. This is double the heat Paddy is used too, but well worth it.

The 'chef' then laddled hot broth -- some of the tastiest broth I've ever had (made with a beef stock created from the entire leg of a cow that simmers away all day, reducing to a deep complex flavor) -- into the bowl and topped with a large handful of coarsely chopped fresh cilantro. To top it all off I had on the table a pot of crushed red chillies in oil to use at my own discretion (used a couple of big spoonfuls). This was one spicey, yummy treat, and the meal set me back all of one Yankee greenback, which included a 20 oz bottle of beer. good!

Taeko has stepped up to the challenge of hanging out with me. She's been a good drinking companion and quite adventurous with the food too (she's also got a good sense of humor about dealing with the Chinese).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Super color scheme, I like it! Good job. Go on.