displays of Shanghai’s modern skyline.
Inventive lighting on hundreds of new
skyscrapers provided an unrivaled
spectacle. I also had a bird’s-eye
view of the World Expo 2010, which
attracted more than 70 million
visitors. Another bonus of my location
was that major attractions, such as
People’s Square, the Shanghai World
Financial Center, the upscale Bund
neighborhood and others, were only a
quick subway or taxi ride away.
As if the allure of the city wasn’t
enough, I also had the opportunity to
travel to outlying areas in search of the
best local meats and produce. I was
introduced to a wide array of fruits
and vegetables that are not available in
the West. These newfound ingredients
offered a delicious challenge in terms
of menu creation.
The Shanghainese people and culture
are full of surprises. Holidays and
family celebrations are punctuated
by fireworks—lots of them—at any
time of the day or night, ignited on any
street, sidewalk or small patch of grass.
The people’s enthusiasm matched that
of the pyrotechnics. Far from being
subdued, I found them to be warm,
loving and dedicated to their families
and friends, and, believe it or not, loud
talkers. Another surprise came when
I discovered how easy it was to order
foods from other countries. It was
a breeze to get high-end Australian
beef, French unpasteurized butter and
cheeses, and upscale Swiss ingredients.
The ingredients of the world were at
Located at the mouth of the Yangtze
River, the world’s third-largest river,
Shanghai’s history is rich. Historians
trace ownership of the area to
various governors as early as 221 B.C.
According to the Shanghai Municipal
Government, during the Jin Dynasty
of the fourth and fifth centuries, local
fishermen living along area rivers and
the coast of the East China Sea created
a fishing tool called “hu.” By combining
the name of the fishing tool and the
term for “estuary of big rivers,” they
coined a Chinese character, “hu,”
which came to designate the mouth
of the Yangtze River.
top: Purveyors sell small river fish,
ocean fish and seasonal crabs.
bottom left: Tofu in many forms: fried
squares and unfired raw, with assorted
bottom right: Markets offer an array of
eggs, including chicken and duck. Some
eggs have significant meaning and are
colored for special occasions as gifts.