Monday, July 07, 2008

Shanghai - Tai Kang Artistic Lane

Hopping off the South Station of Shanghai, I hailed a taxi and made my way to He Fei Road, next to Dan Shui Road.

Taxi in Shanghai was surprisingly cheap, despite it being a metropolitan city. Getting to my destination cost me less than 40 yuan (slightly less than RM20) on a 20 mins ride.

friend's apartment in shanghai

Soon I was at the foot of the building of my friend's apartment.

Fancy little place in the middle of the French Concession.

shanghai morning view

My room was on the 31st floor, overlooking the beautiful downtown of Shanghai. I fell in love instantly. How can you not love a place as magnificient as this? I was eager to know more about Shanghai.

breakfast and a book in shanghai
My breakfast the next morning

The next day, my friend brought me to this little ex-residential road called Tai Kang Road.

entering tai kang road in shanghai

tai kang address sign

It has now tranformed into a modern art gallery area a year ago, with many narrow alley ways and cute tiny boutiques every corner you turn;

white persian cat in tai kang road
I found a white persian cat here

Tai Kang soon blossomed into an expat zone, equipped with fancy cafes and free wifi for foreigners who came to Shanghai for work.

jewel of tai kang road

tai tai drinking tea
And also for Tai Tai to meet up with their Tai Tai friends for tea.

What I found particularly amazing, was that there were still many houses that were occupied here. On one road, you find fancy expensive boutiques down to the end,

old but developed street

On the same road, you find old run down houses, with no plumbing system installed, the other way up.

old street

In one corner, you'll see an elegant shop stood out handsomely;

beautiful shop in tai kang road shanghai

With quirky taglines which I was sure it was not meant to be written that way.

items make room wonderful

In the other, you'll find panties and towels hanging dry on poles across the narrow lane.

clothes hanging next to shop

And aunties who walked around in their aprons making dinner for the evening behind (or in front? I couldn't tell the difference) their hourses.

aunty cooking outside

While the uncles did their manly stuff.

gambling session
Gambling is serious man business

This house was so small, there was hardly space to turn your body. No lights, no plumbing system, people here shower and do their business in the public shared toilets out in the common area.

tai kang run down house

rusted window and wok

I spotted a gorgeous liddle chocolate shop here. :D :D :D

exquisite chocolate shop in tai kang road

The chocolates weren't exactly expensive, like Godiva expensive kinda expensive, but it's expensive enough to keep my purse tightly sealed in my bag.

glorious chocolates

I do have to remind you, I was very very very tempted though.


How could one resist temptation such as this!

flaky chocolate

Hence I had this for tea instead.

something to bite

Shanghai "yum cha" style (afternoon tea). Small bites along the way that cost 5 yuan per plate. Too cheap!

And and and... I had this!

xiao long pao

Shanghai Xiao Long Pao!!!! 5 yuan per basket. OMG.

Ok, this wasn't that nice than the ones I had later. But it's cheap!!

Walking out of Tai Kang Road, I later adjourned to the Old Shanghai Market; or a market in the Old Shanghai area.

Where I bought some in-season lychee!!!!!



Never go for the King of Lychee (or Lychee King; "Li Zi Wang"), it's only nice looking; go for the slightly greenish ones that's so sweet you might want to drink coffee after eating them. I couldn't remember the name but do ask for a taste before you make purchase.

Also, I bought a fruit where I have never heard or tasted before.

hua mei

It's called Yang Mei. (Yang2 Mei2)

Looks like lychee, but it's definitely not one.

The market sells a lot of live stock.

From frogs,

big frogs

To water snakes,

water snake

To little mini lobsters,

live little mini lobster

ok ok, cray fish if you want to be so specific,

mini lobsters live

They look like this when they're cooked.

mini lobsters
And they're yummy

To chicken,

chicken corner


live chicken stock

I don't know about you, but I think it's so weird to be choosing a live chicken that's about to be your dinner later on. They skin these chicken on the spot once you've made purchase. Ewww....

There's prawns (or shrimps) too.

chopstick pick prawn
Haha, using chopstick to fondle with the shrimps.

To pork!!

pork butcheress
Not alive ones la.

This photo reminds me of a bloody female butcher who killed her husband for infidelity and sell his flesh to people to eat.

Back home, I tried out my new found fruit - Yang Mei.

hua mei in my hand

Red, soft, and small.

biting hua mei

Sourish. Sweet. Juicy.

bitten hua mei

It's like orange without the peel. Only it's harder, and red.

me biting hua mei

me biting hua mei close up

Yep, Yang Mei. Sorry can't type mandarin in this pc cause I'm right now in Krabi where I'm updating this entry from a small internet cafe because internet charges at Sheraton is RM2 (20 baht) / min. -.-


  1. woa..Nicole, nice trip u have..hehe..btw..that cat is damn nice lei..haha..never seen a cake like the one u carrying here..@@...wops..only notice im the first one to leave a comment..anyway..cant wait to hear from u luck and take care yeah ^________^

  2. Nice photos and travel post as usual. I'm looking at the gambling (is Serious Business (TM)) photo and are those the famous Chung Hwa cigarettes on the table there?

  3. Enjoy yourself at Shanghai!

  4. Ah yes Shanghai. I was there 4 years ago, enjoyed my trip during the autumn. Would definitely love to go back there again soon.

  5. Interesting alley..nice to discover things like tat once awhile..enjoy yourself in Shanghai..

  6. I love to read your blogs. Keep it on. :)

  7. Those are not small lobsters, they are crayfish.


  8. hey nicole... i've been reading ur blogs.. kewl !
    and i salute u !
    ohh btw i'm goin to suzhou via hangzhou in sept ...
    perhaps u could spare some tips yea ?
    oh and this is goin to be my first time to china... could u pls advise me on the visa application thingie ?
    thanx loads!


  9. The hau mei fruit that you showed look exactly like the PULASAN we have in bolehland. Something like rambutan, but the fleshs stick to the seed.

    If you are eating rambutan, dont peel the skin with your mouth, it might have dropped on to some cow dung before :P

  10. Was in Shanghai some years back. The Bund and the French colonial row is beautiful at night when lit by colourful laser lights. Remembered having seen a plaque outside Peace Hotel commemorating the 'Intl Opium Commission' in 1909. Should have taken a pic of it but didn't!

  11. if i'm didn't rmb wrongly, hua mei is
    arbutus in english :)they sell them in cans just like lychees and logans.

  12. Nice one.

    The uncles gamble while the aunties cook? It's not manly la...

    The "water snacks" or water snakes are not what they are. They look like eels to me.

  13. I was hoping that you'll write more about the Chinese(China) cultures and the way they live, and useful tips on how to travel there... but, oh well, I guess you're not into that kind of things. And... it's crayfish, not lobster =.=

  14. i like that persian cuTee....meow!! ;)

  15. You know that Persian cat looks kinda like long cat...LONG CAT IS LONG!

  16. i wanna be that hua mei!

  17. unlike you who may not have an idea on where your ancestors live... I still have relatives back in China. Even though I have never stepped my feet on China soil (I have to admit that China still has not attracted me to visit there as compared to countries like Europe, Australia and NZ)... my dad is planning a trip there soon. The purpose is to update our ancestral book and to do some charitable contribution to the village where my great grandfather came from... hahaha.

    But one thing I like about China is about their food... yummy!!


  18. nicole, u didn't tell us your occupation. you a journalist?

  19. nicole, can i lick ur ass?

  20. Hua Mei is a kind of plum, I guess!

  21. gosh... the xiao long bao... looks slurrpyly yummmy.... :D

  22. Nicole,

    Again, you are simply gorgeous. But, can you please don't dye your hair yellow? It is a bit awful. Nevertheless, I will still miss you...

  23. correction..china food is bad..the only province that has good authentic chinese food that we are familiar with is guangzhao...other than is almost unedible..

  24. that hua mei is nicer to eat with some salt....tastier ^^

  25. the mini lobsters are called crayfish.

    the hua mei looks damn tempting lor!!

    krabi!! frens kelli and nigel are there too! you guys have fun ya!!!

  26. FYI, in small town markets over here in Miri, Sarawak, they used to sell chicken alive, which u can pick and they will skin them alive in front of ur eyes.its cruel yeah but its a nice experience though.

  27. IMHO the best Siu Long Pau is found in Chen Wang Miau . Look for the one which is located in the center of a small lake . You cant miss that with the long lines waiting to tapau.

    Check here !!

  28. i heard a rumour abt the crayfish. The rear it in sewerage waste and the crayfish feeds of the shit! That is why there is so many of them in Shanghai because it is cheap to rear them. Duuno true or not but there is usually no smoke if there isn't any fire...

  29. I'm sooo going to Shanghai by the end of the year. Are the hotels there expensive?

  30. Nic

    U go everywhere without asking me or taking me along and then brag about trips to all and sundry as though the coconut shell is above my head!

    Lonely Planet

  31. I bet that tasted sweet as you... ;P

  32. The fruit is called a Chinese Bayberry. We normally get it dried outside of China.


  33. The water snakes so gelik lar !!!

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Hey there!
    I'm a Singaporean residing in Shanghai!
    Haha, looks like you had fun in Shanghai.
    Yes yes, Shanghai is great.
    I love 'em lychees too!
    They are incredibly sweet, aren't they.
    Yum yum!
    Little tip. They're best eaten really chilled like almost frozen but not yet.
    The best treat to cool down under the blazing summer sun.

    Do check out my blog!

    PEACE ;]

  36. Were they good? I almost bought some, but didn't.

  37. I am just back from Shanghai, nice city to see the East meeting West.

  38. that's eels not water snake.belut in bahasa m'sia.most popular food in japan

  39. Was there last month and I must admit and agree with you that Shanghai is a very nice modern city....and I was staying at the 17th floor Panaroma Hotel....damn expensive with over CNY2000/nite!! ..the only compliment is it's has great view of the Pudong Financial district across the river!!!
    The eels/not snakes are nice!!!

  40. Hi Nic, must say i'm a 1st timer to ur fact I'm new to blog's.. if u can belief that...anyway, gud read...assure u I'll return again.
    Have been to Shanghai too(in Jan) didnt see s much s u but I'll try to send u sum interesting 4toe...I did Yellow Mt too...Cheerio

  41. Nicole, where did you overnight? whos house is that? It doesn't look like a hostel or hotel. You overnight with other guy house? I paid you not enough?

  42. I would pay you to eat fruit for me.