Last week ended up becoming very stressful, with surprise deadlines, fingerpointing, angry emails and phone calls with another office we're working with. No fun.
Luckily, it's a three-day weekend. Mark and I went to Chinatown yesterday, for a delicious lunch at Joe's Shanghai. Joe's is legendary for their soup dumplings, which are similar to the steamed dumplings you get at regular chinese restaurants. The difference is a hot, soupy mixture that you slurp along with the meat filling. There is always 15-20 minute wait and a line out the door. Mark had gotten a hankering recently from watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations segment from Shanghai, so off we went.
Several years ago, my mom and I visited Shanghai, where we had authentic soup dumplings. We were in a tour group travelling from Hong Kong. Twelve of us packed into a little white van and drove around various towns and cities in China. I noticed that ours was one of the only non-government vehicles on the highway. With all the rapid growth, I'm sure it's a completely different picture now.
Shanghai was the last leg of a week-long tour. When we arrived, it made me, a New Yorker, shake in her shoes. It is MASSIVE and looks frightening. I will have to dig up photos and post them later on (I'd brought a camera with real film, so there's some scanning involved).
The city was overwhleming and in the midst of transition. There were newly constructed skyscrapers next to older parts of the city that looked like they were built in the 18th century. Much of the older parts were in disrepair, with their cobblestone streets and missing roof tiles. Our tour leader took us to a mall of sorts to wander around and grab soup dumplings for lunch. We had platters and platters of them delivered to our tables, and they were delicious and cheap. Mom and I stuffed ourselves until we couldn't eat anymore. (When we visited, the exchange rate was 32 Chinese yuan to an American dollar. The rates today show 7.5 yuan to the dollar. Big wampum change!).
The dumplings at Joe's are pretty close to the ones I had in China - hot, slurpy and delicious. We ordered one set of dumplings with the crab/pork filling, one without, and devoured them.
After lunch, Mark and I had 40-minute massages at one of the many reflexology places nearby. He had his feet worked over, while a petite woman took me into a private room and basically beat me to a pulp. My back is sore and helpless today, and I can feel my body mending itself.
I'd love to visit Shanghai and experience it again, including those dumplings. Maybe after the next deadline.
Photo by myself in Chinatown, where can get everything from Shanghai soup dumplings to fake jade buddhas and deep tissue massages.