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Shanghai Street Food #2 Snack-on-a-stick

Anytime you feel a slight pang of hunger, no matter how little, or what remote corner of the city you’re in, there will be someone selling snacks. This type of food is known as xiaochi (small eats) and encompasses everything from steamed buns, dumplings, pancakes, noodles and fried breads. This lady is selling various food on a stick (hot sweet corn-on-the-cob on a stick, tofu balls on a stick, fish balls on a stick) and tea cooked eggs. They all sit simmering in bowls of steaming broth to keep them hot, and nothing costs more than 2 yuan. 

Each morning she will wheel her heavy wooden cart to a spot likely to have brisk trade – today she was parked on the zebra crossing outside the fabric market on Lujiabang Lu, and business looked busy, despite the traffic whizzing closely by.

Street food is an integral part of a food-loving life in China, so, for your benefit, I’m working my way through all of Shanghai’s street foods, one by one. This is Number 2 in the Shanghai Street Food series. Enjoy!

Number 1   Roast Sweet Potatoes
Number 2   Snack-on-a-stick 
Number 3   Liangpi – a spicy cold noodle dish
Number 4   Langzhou Lamian – hand-pulled noodles
Number 5   Cong You Bing – fried shallot pancakes
Number 6   Baozi – steamed buns, Shanghai style
Number 7   Jian Bing – the famous egg pancake
Number 8   Dan Gao – street cakes
Number 9   Shao mai – sticky rice treats
Number 10  Summer on a Stick – fresh fruits

Number 11  You Tiao – deep-fried breadsticks
Number 12  Dan Juan – egg rolls
Number 13  Shao Kao – street barbecue
Number 14  Bao Mi Hua – exploding rice flowers
Number 15  Chou Doufu – stinky tofu
Number 16  Bing Tang Shan Zha – crystal sugar hawthorns
Number 17  Mutton Polo
Number 18  Yumi Bang – puffed corn sticks
Number 19  Mian Hua Tang – cotton candy
Number 20  You Dunzi – fried radish cakes

Number 21  Suzhou Shi Yue Bing – homestyle mooncakes 
Number 22  Gui Hua Lian’ou – honeyed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice
Number 23  Cong You Ban Mian – scallion oil noodles
Number 24  Guotie – potsticker dumplings
Number 25  Nuomi Cai Tou – fried clover pancakes
Number 26  Da Bing, Shao Bing – sesame breakfast pastries
Number 27  Ci Fan – sticky rice breakfast balls
Number 28  Gui Hua Gao – steamed osmanthus cake
Number 29  Zongzi – bamboo leaf wrapped sticky rice
Number 30  Shengjianbao – pan-fried dumplings

Number 31  Mala Tang – DIY spicy soup

Sun! Sun! Sun!

At last! The sun is out! The washing lines, fences and trees all over Shanghai are groaning under the weight of two weeks’ worth of wet laundry, and all the bedding and pillows have been put out to air for good measure. People are smiling, a little bit (it is still freezing) and every now and then someone out walking looks up, just to check that the sky today, is in fact, blue.

Laundry Wars

I found a super dry-cleaner a while ago – one of the slicker operations in Shanghai, they pick-up and deliver your dry-cleaning to your home, AND they put everything in tissue paper. (I LOVE tissue paper), so it comes back looking more expensive than when it left home. And cleaner too. 

But running a business in Shanghai is cut-throat. Recently, a very public blog-posting war erupted between current and former employees of the business, on the Shanghai City Weekend website, for all of Shanghai to see, after the landlord tried to set up a rival business with the same name, on the same premises, and with some of the same staff. Happens all the time in Shanghai. But that doesn’t make it any less ugly. As explained online by one of the staff:

“When our business grew bigger late 2009, our greedy landlord, a local old man, made a dirty plot with two traitors out of our team, girls from ZheJiang Province and Mongolia. “

A dirty plot! Excellent! Was it a murderous drug-running gambling den sort of plot? Actually, no, as it turns out, just a really vicious detergent turf war. And being from Zhejiang Province – I’m guessing that’s some kind of insult. And being from Mongolia – apparently worse! 
The whole thing unfolded over weeks and pages and pages of catty and increasingly bewildering Chinglish. Here’s a few gems from the battlefield…….

“And you can decide if your guys till continue to use that dirty ,and discusting laundary anymore.
Yes ,we did get the money , and let me tell another stories ,, that moring , october 4th , we stay out side of DavidHO’s apartment form5pm to 2pm , we just wanted to talk about it . But he told us your guies wouldnt get the payment , it was not legal to pay u .”       (posted by kittenwowo)

“Poor little Chinese girl…what’re you talking about? What payment and what’s the legal issue? You sound like over-pressured, darling. You’d better go see a shrink.”   (posted by Clothespa)

“You have very good skill to pretend a good person . I am not the only person who be cheated by you …”    (posted by kittenwowo)

“Dear, before you pretend to be some real expat, please improve your English grammer and speling skills first. You’ve never made any progress for these years… Why don’t you leave my page and stop messing up all these?”    (posted by Clothespa)

“I am enough for that . I am looking for me new job .”   (posted by kittenwowo)

“Dear laundry sweeties, how about a cocktail at my place and some strip poker to leave this dirty  behind us ? ”  (posted by eric_sh)  

Always some predatory sleaze in the wings, isn’t there? Perhaps he was feeling over-pressured.

Ten Little Pandas

Shanghai Zoo is now home to 10 baby pandas from Sichaun province, born soon after the 2008 earthquake. They’re all bunking in together, no parents! Can you imagine ten 2 year olds left alone? All they do all day is wrestle, roll around, and bite each other on the butt. And leave piles of pooh. They’re not very graceful, they fall over a lot, and fight over whose turn it is on the climbing gym.  Pretty much the same things as human toddlers, but funnier.

Let go of my head!!

Let go of my butt!!

Lantern Festival Market, Nanjing

Alongside the Lantern Festival was a daytime market selling my two favourite things – food, and lanterns. Also crazy balloons…….

Toffee fruit on a stick…

Sculptured pineapples…..

And this little set-up selling hot, home-made silken tofu, ladled steaming out of the wooden bucket, and topped with chopped pickles, soy sauce, sesame oil and chives. If you don’t like tofu, it’s because you’ve never eaten it freshly home-made like this – don’t scoff, it’s amazingly delicious.