Ni hao again!
Spring break hit pretty quick on this side of the world in a matter of 3 weeks after school started. The two-week vacation is centered around the Chinese Spring Festival or the New Year. The Chinese New Year was celebrated on February 5th, and it’s finally the year of the pig (aka it’s gucci to pig out and eat all you want this year)! Since the entire school was out, this was the perfect opportunity to explore a different part of China. Our study abroad group decided to venture off to Shanghai traveling in a bullet train from Tianjin.
All 7 of us got to know each really well and shared a 2-bedroom and 1-bathroom apartment in Pudong, which is about a 15-minute train ride from the inner city of Shanghai. Our visit to this wondrous city consisted of numerous visits to the city’s well-known and ancient Buddhist temples and pigging out on street food. Having to walk a crazy amount of miles every day didn’t make us feel bad eating the greasy street food that we had. Even if we didn’t walk as much, it would still have been ALL worth it.
A couple of us crazy adventurers embarked on food tours throughout two different parts of Shanghai for dinner and breakfast. Located in the French Quarter, the dinner tour introduced us to soup dumplings (I can’t put to words how delicious these were) and pork belly that melted the moment you put it into your mouth. Our food guide took us to amazing street food spots that night, like a pork pancake baked in a barrel-like structure. For the breakfast tour, our guide introduced us to numerous street food located in the historic Japanese area and we shoved our faces with fried pork dumplings (a unique dish to Shanghai), scallion fried pancakes with egg, and even trying a snake-infused and fermented wine (straight-up tasted like heavy spiced rum haha). Our food guide even took us through my first wet market, where they sell crazy amounts of seafood, produce, and meats! We saw this lady easily de-bone an eel in a manner of 3 seconds…
Next big stop, Disneyland Shanghai! This was our main motivation to journey out to Shanghai to see what Disneyland would be like in China. Our group finally knew what it meant to be a foreigner at a theme park since we had no idea what was going on in any of the rides since they were all spoken in Mandarin. It’s fascinating to see Jack Sparrow on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride not sound like Johnny Depp at all. Disney Shanghai even had their own Toy Story area and the 5-year old me in freaked out for a bit. Tron had the best ride, with an outdoor/indoor roller-coaster that placed you on a motorbike vehicle (think of the Mummy ride at Universal Orlando times 10!).
My last memorable highlight of this trip may sound insane, but I finally tried K-Pro. K-pro is a brand-new restaurant branch of KFC that serves healthier and fresher foods that is currently only available in China. With my fascination already peaked at how delicious KFC’s food is in China, I needed to get my hands-on K-Pro’s food. Low and behold, KFC recently opened one in Shanghai 2 months before. Having already watched a Buzzfeed video on K-Pro’s delicious food, I knew what to order (yes, I pigged out): sweet potato fries, a shrimp cobb salad with dragon fruit, a guacamole chicken sandwich, and matcha ice cream. This was easily one of the best fast food experiences that I’ve had and would 10/10 recommend going to if you’re in Shanghai.
Shanghai was a beautiful city to visit and definitely a nice breath of fresh air from Tianjin. I realized there’s so much to do here in China, and so little time left until we return back to good ol’ Florida.
Until we chat again 😛