Very good dumplings and noodle soups can be had on the streets in small restaurants for a dollar or two. When you look further afield I can recommend Yi Long Court, a very fine Cantonese restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel. Lost Heaven is a very good Yunnanese restaurant, get the Ti dishes, I enjoyed both branches of this place. For Shanghai dishes, go to Jesse.
The more developed parts of Shanghai feel much more like the United States than any part of Beijing does, yet many traditional neighborhoods remain and there is plenty of good architecture from the early 20th century. If not for the air pollution, this would be one of the best cities in the world. It’s not that cheap, though, once you get past food and taxis.
The long, tree-lined alleys of Chinese neighborhoods have led to a superior reconceptualization of the outdoor shopping mall.
There are policemen who seem to be there to teach drivers how to back into spots using parallel parking.
For eleven years I’ve been writing about “Markets in Everything,” but here in Shanghai I transacted in one of those markets for the first time. I went to “More Than Toilet,” a cafe/restaurant with a toilets theme. Your chair is designed to look like a potty, and I was served my watermelon juice in a model of a urinal, with an elaborate straw, $6 for the experience. (Who knows what I will try next?) The food that was passing by looked horrible, like Chinese Denny’s on steroids. I had blogged the original Taiwan branch of the place some time ago.
The luxury malls do not seem to have benches to sit down on and check your email. But since hardly anyone is shopping in most of those malls, perhaps that doesn’t matter very much.