The Olson twins have taken Shanghai these last few days! Okay so we aren’t actually twins, but I just had my friend from the states come visit and was determined to show her Shanghai’s best. We have known each other since we were wee little things, grew up in the same neighborhood in Denver and went back to China with our families in 2004! It was so much fun to have her in town and she is off for the next few days traveling before we meet in Beijing next week for more Olson twin fun. The best part about having visitors is that you get to see where you live through fresh eyes. There is no rest for the wicked and everyday she pretty much fell asleep within minutes of the head hitting the pillow. I like to keep my friends busy and on the go go go!
A funny little video of our reunion at the airport.
After dropping bags off at the apartment, we went immediately to see the famous skyline, walked and ate dumplings, had a drink at the Starbucks Reserve and then I went off to teach for a few hours before reuniting at my favorite expat bar for drinks and dinner. I dropped her off at a spa for pedicure and massage to occupy her for a few hours and get rejuvenated from the travel.
The Captains Bar is right on The Bund and has a great patio view with delicious food and drinks. She comes to China and I feed her fondue. LIFE! It is also the only bar on The Bund that isn’t super ritzy and feels casual.
The next morning we arrived first thing at the Fosun Foundation museum for the Yayoi Kusama art exhibit. I LOVE THE DOTS.
Close to the museum is the Yuyuan Gardens. We have a picture in a circular door like this from years ago at the Botanic Gardens in Denver. Talk about a flashback!
A huge crab and pork soup dumpling! So big you have to use a straw.
We went back to my apt and got changed before heading to the Pudong Park Hyatt for high tea on the 87th floor with two of my coworkers.
AMAZING. Dragonwell tea, exquisite savory and sweet snacks and a beautiful view.
Aren’t we cute. I then left her to navigate the streets of Shanghai for a few hours before reuniting for the most amazing hotpot.
This hotpot place is EVERYTHING. It’s well known in shanghai and China for its customer service which is exceptional. They give you steamed towels to clean all the time throughout the meal, give you a hair tie if you don’t have one, cover your bags with a blanket to avoid splatter, dress you in an apron, will give you a free manicure while waiting for your table. It truly is exceptional.
We ate our hearts out. My favorite is the tomato soup broth. SO GOOD. You can get up to four different broths to soak your food in and order all the vegetables and types of meats you desire. If you get shrimp they peel it for you right at the table.
A personal highlight for me is always the noodles which they hand stretch right in front of you. You can almost feel the noodle grazing your eyelashes as they expertly whip them around in a fun dance.
The next morning we did not sleep in and headed for a private cooking class to make the famous xiaolongbao soup dumpling and egg rolls.
Chef Mike never disappoints and we had the best time. Wrapping those dumplings in the specific shape is no joke. He told me usually people get better the more dumplings they do, but I wasn’t. Ha!
We had so much fun, wrapped so many spring rolls and ate them all up. Americans eat dumplings with soy sauce, but it’s traditional to eat them with vinegar. It was odd to me at first when I first arrived in shanghai, and now I never use soy sauce. Vinegar is the way to go!
We grabbed a metro after cooking and went to the famous fake market! The fake market is an experience. Anything you want they have. I then deposited her off at my favorite Urban Planning museum and took off for work. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go in, but it’s okay as I’ve been probably 6 times. It’s still not old to me, I LOVE THE MODEL OF SHANGHAI!
We met back later in the night at my apt where we ordered some food and passed out before I got up early for work today and she went off on her next stop in China!
Come to Shanghai and I’ll keep you busy. A guaranteed good night of sleep at the end of the day with my itinerary.
See you in Beijing!