Saturday, March 10, 2012
Yesterday we had lunch at Table No. 1 near my daughter's office. It's Restaurant Week in Shanghai and there are special offers; aren't we lucky. In fact, because of the cold weather, we find that SH is quite different from our previous visits. The streets are less crowded and the crowds at The Bund are gone. We walked 3 hours (yes) from The Bund to Nanjing Lu in 5 degrees weather! There was wind too and it was SO terrible. I had forgotten to bring a scarf so I wrapped a sweater around my head. Who cares. When we sat down to eat shen jian bao, I couldn't hold my chopsticks. It was a weird feeling. Table No. 1 didn't disappoint although I found the mains not exceptional, just very very good. There are so many more restaurants Yi and I want to eat in but Hub's indifferent. I want to eat at Old Jesse, supposedly SH's best SHainese restaurant. I also want to check out Trip (Japanese) and The Grumpy Pig (modern Asian). I also want to eat a Korean meal because the best Korean meal I've eaten was here in SH, not Seoul. I just read about a 3 Michelin star restaurant that opened recently. The food looks to die for. Restaurant prices in SH are very reasonable and you'd expect to pay about USD100 to 150 for the really fancy restaurants. I don't think you can do that anywhere else. But I don't think I'd do fancy restaurants this trip. Been wearing the same thing everyday. My nose has turned red from the cold and my eyes and head are stuffed. I like to dress better when dining fine. Our relatives have backed down and allowed us some freedom in scheduling our meals. I shouldn't be ungrateful because they really just want to spend time with us. And gossip about my girl I think because so far it's been "Yi's so good, she isn't jiao chi (princess, high maintenance) and she's so hard working. I know what's coming next. "Does she have a secret boyfriend we don't know of?" "She should be thinking of marriage!" I have my answers all ready. I am proud of Yi. I wouldn't be able to hack it here, especially in winter. She lives in Hub's grandfather's long tang house and there's no central heating. Long tang houses can be so beautiful but the old folks are used to the dipilidated state and don't want any renovations. They have apartments in another part of the city but they don't want to move because thier long tang is just a few steps from Huahai Lu. When the taxi dribers send us back, they tell us that "You are wealthy to live here, and you must be the original SHainese because these days only people who had ancestors who lived in long tang get to live there. Everybody else lives in apartments." I don't mind the old house short term but it's really tough going in winter. The bathroom is not only not attached, it's old and basic. I opened Yi's wardrobe and the handle/knob came off. There's a powder room upstairs but to shower we need to use the bath on the ground floor. I can't think of any of my friends' daughters who would live like this. This Sat morning, she ran out with her wet hair tied up and she's going to work. On a day off. I feel sorry for her. The relatives are a little upset that she's not coming for lunch.