Wulumuqi Lu in the French Concession is one of the best food streets in Shanghai, not for restaurants so much as for fresh food supplies. Walking along Wulumuqi Lu is a feast for the senses (although the feast may have a few courses you’re not so keen on). In the space of one block you can walk through wafts of slow-cooked pork, freshly gutted fish, stinky tofu, ripe mangoes and sweet lychees. Followed by fresh ginger, steamed pork buns, rotting garbage and lillies. It’s the street of a hundred smells!
I have a few favourite shops and shopkeepers I’ll write about and photograph over the coming weeks. The first is the smoky pork shop. Smoked meat, pork in particular, is a staple of Chinese cooking, and a way of preserving the meat and enhancing its flavour. Smoky pork sits somewhere between bacon and prosciutto in taste, quite intense, and only small amounts sliced very finely are needed to give a lot of flavour to stir-fried vegetables. I wonder if I will ever be able to find these things when I get back to Australia, so for now I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts.
The guy who runs the smoky pork shop is always very friendly and waves every time I walk past or go in to buy something, but he had an acute attack of shyness when I tried to take his photo. So here are his cleavers instead. I’m so jealous! Look at how those blades gleam and the worn wooden handles shine, as they sit stacked side by side on his heavy wooden chopping block.