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Shanghai Street Food #38 Modern 1906 Icecream: Madieer Bingqilin 马迭尔冰淇淋

The season of Lesser Heat is about to enter the Season of Great Heat. The Plum Rains of June have offered no relief, even though they seem to have arrived twice this year and stayed twice as long. You sweat. You simmer. You would give anything to cool yourself with something soothing.

Make your way to Nanjing Dong Lu. Follow the tourists in matching t-shirts halfway to the Bund. Stop, on the corner of Jiangxi Zhong Lu.

Sitting inside Shooting Star Day & Night Foods(xīnghuǒ rìyè shípǐn 星火日夜食品) is a little store whose specialty is milk ice cream. It was established back in 1906 in Ha’erbin, of all places and has one of the most intriguing histories of any of Shanghai’s street foods.

Ha’erbin, in Heilongjiang Province, was once home to a large population of Russian Jews who left the city with a profound cultural and architectural legacy. Joseph Kaspe, a Russian jeweller with French citizenship, built the Hotel Moderne on Ha’erbin’s main street. It became the largest and most luxurious hotel in the city with its grand ballroom, cinema, dining rooms and suites.

As a sideline, Kaspe had a bakery café on the ground floor selling bread and milk ices.

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