WoAi’s Farewell Bash

The drinks selection

The drinks selection

And so the time has come to move out after 4 wonderful years. The “opening” party 4 years ago feels like yesterday and it seemed apt to mark the end of an era with a “closing” bash.

Just getting started

Just getting started

Guests flew in from all four corners of the globe to participate in this historic event (well, the ones lucky enough to be invited). Clooney couldn’t make it and I didn’t invite Brad Pitt cause he just brings the party down every time he comes!

The Sangria starting to kick in!

The Sangria starting to kick in!

I made some Sangria which seemed the perfect drink for a hot summer night. The last time I made Sangria, I almost missed my brunch the next day and threw up all over myself in the bathroom of Jean George, so I was careful not to drink too much this time and didn’t make any brunch (or dinner plans) the next day.

Let's dance

Let’s dance

It’s always funny to watch. Things start off slow and civilised, but there’s always a point in the evening, a very obvious moment, when things move up a gear and chaos ensues!

Kisses

Can I get you ladies more Sangria?

Show me love!

Show me love!

But everyone had a good time and my television didn’t get smashed, so I consider the evening a roaring success. Next stop : WoAi’s 2013 house warming party!

 

Posted in My Life, Nightlife | 5 Comments

Caturday Milk

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Enjoying some morning milk together.

Posted in Caturday | 2 Comments

Shanghai, Then And Now

I think this is absolutely incredible. Identical photos of Shanghai’s Pudong skyline taken in 2013 and not so long ago in 1987. The most recent picture was taken by Reuters photographer Carlos Barria, replicating the precise perspective of the 1987 image for a more stunning comparison. For an animated view, please do take a look here.

Now …

… and then.

 

Posted in Photography | 3 Comments

Fortune Cookie – American Chinese Food In Shanghai!

Complete with tacky neon sign

I heard that someone had the crazy idea to bring American style Chinese food to China and I just had to go and investigate. It’s either a really dumb idea, or pure genius!

The menu

Fortune Cookie is located on the fourth floor of the building that houses Piro (American), Vedas (Indian) and Xibo (contemporary Xinjiang), so it’s starting to become a bit of a destination. I guess the first thing that struck me was how clean and modern the place was. For some reason, I was expecting an older, run down joint, maybe because whenever I see Chinese restaurants in American TV shows, they’re usually a bit tatty.

Sweet and sour pork

It’s not a big place, or at least, it doesn’t look very big, but I didn’t have a look around the corner – perhaps there’s more seating round there.  I’m not sure if they can accommodate larger groups. I didn’t notice any tables that could seat more than 4-6 people, but I’d be keen to know if they can accommodate a larger group, because almost all of my friends now want to try it.

Take out cartons

I’m not very knowledgeable about American Chinese food and perhaps some of the classic dishes would generate more excitement if I was American, but nevertheless, I really liked the place and the concept. They even have those iconic take out cartons which I have never seen anywhere other than American TV shows, so I couldn’t resist taking one home.

Fortune cookies

What’s on offer is a selection of dishes you might find in a Chinese restaurant in the United States, including shrimp toast, sweet and sour pork, moo shu pork (a dish I’ve heard about many times but never come across before), Kung Pao chicken, pot stickers (fried dumplings) and orange chicken. And of course, no Chinese meal in America is complete without a fortune cookie!

Kung Pao chicken

I cannot vouch for “authenticity”, the food was tasty and well prepared  (and of course, you won’t find a bone of any kind in any of the dishes!). The bigger surprise for me was the service. For a place that’s been open barely a month, the service was excellent. All the servers seemed to be in a cheerful, almost playful mood, which was very consistent with the place in general – it’s hard not to smile when you’re there, even if you’re not one of the many homesick American diners who were just so deliriously happy to have discovered a piece of back home in downtown Shanghai. It reminds me of a time I saw some English people in the food section of Marks & Spencer in Shanghai.

So overall then, I was very impressed with Fortune Cookie and can’t wait to go back for a repeat visit to try some of the dishes I wasn’t able to try the first time.

Details:
4/F, 83 Changshu Lu, near Julu Lu
Tel: (021) 6093 3623

Posted in Food | 28 Comments

No Dogs Or Chinese

Happy times

It feels like yesterday I had my housewarming party, but it’s actually been 4 very happy years. Sadly, I am being evicted because my landlord’s grand children will be starting school nearby and so they will be moving back in. I really love where I am. For me it’s the perfect location, next to the Yu Gardens, a 10 minute walk to the Bund, to my office, to Xintiandi. So I am limiting my search for a new home to the same complex and ideally, the same block.

As I expected, the search for a new apartment has been a stressful experience. Some places are just unfit to live in, others are nice but overpriced. And some are unfit to live in AND overpriced. But yesterday, to add to the stress, I encountered a landlady who told the agent she will only rent to foreigners. When I asked the agent why, he said it’s because she feels foreigners cook less.  But as there have only been a limited number of apartments available, I decided I had to investigate even if the landlady was a blatant racist.

I instructed the agent to explain my situation (technically a foreigner, but ethnically Chinese) so there wouldn’t be any awkwardness when we met. I’m not sure what he told her, but she didn’t seem too welcoming when I showed up with my Chinese face. I poked around a bit but didn’t stay long as it was clear she wasn’t very keen for me to rent her property.

The agent of course, wanted to close the deal, so he discussed with her as we were leaving. She kept saying she couldn’t make a decision because there were so many people viewing and she only rents to high quality tenants. Charming. Bloody charming. She even said Japanese or Koreans are better if she couldn’t find white skinned foreigners.

Anyway, the apartment is currently being occupied by 3 westerners and the place quite frankly, was a complete mess. So I am not really sure why she feels westerners are better tenants, but I told the agent that I wasn’t interested, even if he miraculously managed to convince her that I was worthy of living in her apartment. It wasn’t worth the hassle.

In the shadow of the George Zimmerman verdict, there has been a lot written about race. I quite enjoyed this piece by The Roots front man Questlove about what it’s like being a black man in a posh apartment building in New York City. I kind of know how he feels!

Posted in Arrrrggghhh!, My Life | 20 Comments

How China’s High-Tech Workers Blow Off Steam

An interesting insight into how the people that make your iPhones spend their leisure time.

Tucked behind an open construction site, “Through the Summer,” as the nightspot is known, had it all on a recent Saturday night — plastic whistles, fruit plates, a toddler with a mohawk, counterfeit light sabers and a bawdy comedian who imbibed beer through his nose.

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, Nightlife | 2 Comments

Lionel Messi Uses WeChat (Weixin)

I don’t think there are many people left in China that aren’t using Weixin (WeChat). It’s like Skype, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp all rolled in to one great app. And it’s spreading slowly to markets outside of China and even outside of Asia.

If you needed proof, this TV ad featuring the greatest footballer on the planet should convince you.

Incidentally, my birthday party this year was organised exclusively on WeChat.

Posted in Business, Geek Central | Comments Off

Oblivious Card Players

Oblivious

Oblivious

It’s almost a weekend ritual for me to stop by K11 and grab a Tutti Melon frozen yogurt after brunch. When K11 first opened a few months ago, the place was empty and I felt sorry for the retail outlets and their staff, with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs.

That’s all changed of course, and K11 is packed at weekends and I’m happy to see the mall an unequivocal success, even if it means I have to wait to get a seat at my favourite restaurants.

I’m less pleased about these 4 idiots who decided that Tutti Melon would be a good place to hold a marathon card game. If you’ve not been, it’s a tiny space with about 7 small tables. You get your yogurt, eat and go, so the next people can sit down and enjoy their delicious dessert. But no, these guys occupied two tables for at least an hour, totally oblivious to the other customers holding their yogurt and having to eat it standing up.

You can probably tell that this kind of selfishness really bugs me. It took all my self control not to go up to them and tell them to take their poker game elsewhere.

Posted in Arrrrggghhh!, This is how we do it | 14 Comments

It’s Caturday!

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Tommy enjoying a break from the rain.

Posted in Caturday | 2 Comments

Sexy Sichuan Summer Sizzlers

Sichuan Summer

The heat in summer is pretty unbearable, but it’s not all bad news. In order to combat the heat, the girls in Shanghai tend to wear pretty much next to nothing. The most popular look and my personal favourite is the mini-shorts and heels combo that makes Daisy Duke look like an introverted nun.

I don’t have any pictures because I don’t want to look like a creep walking down the street with a long lens, sneakily taking pictures of girls in short dresses. But I don’t have to because someone else has done it for me and had his work published in state run news publication, Xinhua!

I’d add a NSW (not safe for work) warning, but if your office is anything like mine then most of your co-workers will be dressed in the same type of outfits anyway!

Posted in Amusing, Fashion, Sex in the city | 6 Comments