We had an early morning flight out of Urumqi (pronounced “Oo-Room-Chee”), and four and a half hours after takeoff we landed in the other Shanghai airport — Hongchiao — north of the city center. We got instructions on which bus would take us to the Metro, and we easily found our way back to Patrick and Tina’s apartment in the western French Concession. Patrick was there to greet us and wanted to hear all about our adventures but careful not to let us get too carried away because Tina would want to hear all about it as well later at dinner.
I managed to download all 750 pictures from our trip West, as well as the 350 emails, before we headed out to dinner at a neighborhood Sichuanese restaurant — a last trip on the spicy side, although Patrick warned us that it wouldn’t be “true” Sichuan” food because the spiciness would be throttled back for the Shanghai palate. Still it was fun and spicy enough:
–Sliced pork belly in sauce
–Vinegared cucumber skins
–Crispy rice and seafood
–Stir fried wild mushrooms
–Stir fried green beans and red peppers
–Mapu Tofu, cubes of tofu braised in a red pepper sauce
–Hot stone oil fried beef
and because Patrick (of course) new the owner and said hello, we got an extra dish of Hot Stone Oil Fried Shrimp. The Hot Stone Oil technique is just what it sounds like: the waiter brings a basin of VERY hot oil to the table with stones in it (to keep the heat I suppose), and then vegetables are added to the oil, along with green pepper corns (still on the vine), and then the meat (the beef was loose, the shrimp were on skewers). It makes for quite a show, and a delicious result.
Then this morning Patrick and Tina took us out to another of their local markets so that they could pick up a few things, and I could pick up a few bottles of good black vinegar to take home with me. Of course that meant street food for breakfast, and we tried some new things: a black sesame ball, a fried dough stick, an “Egg McShanghai” )basically a crepe on a hot pan with an egg broken into it and then sauces and spices added before it’s folded up so you can eat it with your hands), tea eggs, and soy milk. Oh boy, we’re going to miss this kind of breakfast…
…and reluctantly we now leave for the aiport. So long, Shanghai.