A WEEK IN SHANGHAI
About a year ago, I was lucky enough to meet one of my now best friends, Kendall Browne. Fast forwarding to two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Shanghai with her, and discover the city that she grew up in and calls home. This was my first time travelling to Asia, so I was so excited about this experience. I can definitely say that it was everything I had hoped for and much, much more. From morning walks to get baozi to watching the sunset over the bund, it truly was an unforgettable week.
After a long 14 hour flight from Montreal to Shanghai with two crying babies on board (just our luck), we were ready to take on our long list of things to do, places to see, and food to eat. Here are some of my favourites…
Kendall’s parents were so sweet to take us to the most delicious Japanese fusion restaurant, with the most amazing view of the city. Located inside the Shanghai EDITION hotel, this place has the most gorgeous interior and I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of photos.
din tai fung
I had never tried Xiaolongbao before, but I can confirm that these were like little pockets of love. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I fell more in love after every bite. Although Din Tai Fung has many locations across the world, the Shanghai locations are supposedly the best. I won’t question it, considering Xiaolongbao is originally from Shanghai. It was so good that we had to go back for a second round on our last day before leaving, and I’ll forever be dreaming about Din Tai Fun until we can be reunited.
Having a classic breakfast at this little chic diner was the perfect way to kick off our Monday. Their bread is delicious and the few bites that I stole from Kendall’s smoked salmon dish were amazing. It’s located right at the corner of Wulumuqi and Wuyuan in the French Concession, making it the perfect spot to people watch in one of the many booths.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere of this place - a lofty apartment vibe offering delicious homey dishes and amazing appetizers. We shared a bunch of plates from a smoked salmon starter, to an amazing avocado, kale and quinoa salad. They have a selection of pizzas from La Strada, a place just downstairs from Mr. Willis and their margherita was definitely worth the stomach ache - the lactose intolerant life can’t stop me from food like this! To top it all off, I enjoyed a heavenly sticky date pudding for dessert and it was seriously to-die-for.
lost heaven silk road
I left Silk Road super full and super happy. This massive Western China fusion restaurant was created by the people behind the chain Lost Heaven. Every plate that came to our table was delicious, and I definitely recommend this one if you want to try dishes from many different places all in one spot. They serve favourites not only from China, but also Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan.
Hidden in Tiazifang, Bell Bar is definitely a must for a vintage bar vibe. From the outside, you would never think that it would be so welcoming and fascinating on the inside. The decor of this place makes it feel cozy and the atmosphere was so perfect for a couple of Moscow mules before dinner.
I really enjoyed this cute Mexican bar for it’s music, decor, and great drink selection. Kendall and I met with a friend here, and it was a great spot to kick off the night.
It’s no doubt that this speak easy was way above my price limit, but when in Shanghai, right? We went to the top floor and ordered two rounds of the prettiest cocktails I’ve ever seen. I’m talking everything from flames to a full-size umbrella being served with a fancier version of a Pina colada (which was obviously in a pineapple). It’s also considered as the top 20th bar in the world by Bloomberg, so I’m happy I left with some bragging rights. I think this bar is one of those places that you definitely need to experience at least once.
This modern cocktail bar is something out of a movie - low lit with round tables and a sophisticated vibe. That didn’t stop us from turning our outing into a never-have-I-ever drinking game though. VALPASSO specializes in their own brand of Prosecco, and we headed here after dinner at Silk Roak since it’s only steps away! Their cocktails were a great way to end the night.
starbucks reserve - shanghai roastery
Being a Starbucks lover myself, I was set on visiting the largest location in the world. It was one of those places that I put on my list simply because it’s a cool experience that although it might be crowded, you just can’t miss out on. I was so fascinated, exploring the two floors of this building and the special aspects of this flagship store - it’s so enjoyable even if you aren’t all that into Starbucks. What I loved most was being able to see the coffee being roasted on-site.
The view from the bund is simply a must-see when visiting this gorgeous city. We went on Sunday during sunset, and I loved every second of it. I’m also so glad we walked to get there, because it allowed me to see some of the different areas of the city early in the trip. It is a busy, touristic spot, but it’s still pretty high up in my favourites from this week.
There are so many beautiful water towns outside of Shanghai and we opted for Xitang, a gorgeous little town with thousands of years of history. It’s less touristic compared to some of the other popular water towns and it was such a lovely day trip. Located in Jiashian County, it was about an hour drive from the city, and totally worth it. We spent the day being tourists - taking photos, trying sweets from the many small boutiques and appreciating the quietness of this beautiful place.
Xintiandi takes up about two blocks of Shanghai, and is an area known for shopping, upscale restaurants and entertainment (and don’t forget - Xialongbao at Din Tai Fung in the New World Plaza). A Shake Shack location opened right before our trip, so you bet I had to get a shack burger and fries while I was there.
Located right downtown, Jing’an Temple is one of the most famous places to see in Shanghai - and I’m so glad we did. Inside is the largest Jade Buddha in all of China, and some seriously gorgeous architecture. Although it’s a large tourist spot, it wasn’t too busy when we went on Thursday afternoon. It was such a nice experience taking in the beauty of this place.
Walking through the artsy alleys of TIanzifang, filled with people and small shops in the French Quarter was up there in my favourites from this trip. The original architecture of this area has been preserved and there is so much to see with the many cute bars, cafes, craft shops, studios and galleries.
drops coffee studio
We came across this hidden gem on our way to lunch and I was torn between wanting to sit outside on the sunny patio or inside admiring the gorgeous interior. Obviously, we took advantage of sitting outside, and it was so perfect. They serve some delicious iced lattes too!
This cute coffee counter is great for grabbing a cup to go, or enjoying the gorgeous outdoor seating arrangement that RAC has in their courtyard-like area. Their oatmeal raisin cookies are also amazing and I’m regretting not going back for a second one.