Shanghai Day 1: 田子坊, creative maze of boutique shops and galleries

Here we go, the China itineraries! It's been more than a year already since this trip, though I must say it was a destination that I have been thinking of going for a very, very long time. At least, a trip to the main China cities and towns - Beijing, Shanghai, Hang Zhou, Su Zhou. And also the more notably known - Bei-Shang-Guang-Shen (北上广深) which I explored more of in 2017. The first stop that we made in Shanghai was Tian Zi Fang, which we managed to experience by day and by night.

Tian Zi Fang (田子坊) is essentially a maze of arthouses, shops, teahouses, galleries, furniture shops. It is pretty extensive in variety of interesting art pieces, drawings, shops to see, though it was not particularly huge in area. You can be prepared to pay a premium for most items here as they are considered more unique and higher in artistic value.

What to eat in Tian Zi Fang (田子坊)

Look out for this red-shirted auntie dishing out little sweets and small cake pastries! It is such a caricature sight that we didn't miss her both late at night and in the day. They look so cute and precious, almost like plastic food models but they taste surprisingly quite delightful!

There was a little minimalist/ wood-based cozy eatery opposite of Tian Zi Fang that we shuffled in after seeing all the shops close after 10PM (I landed in the evening). We ended up eating this cling wrap mummified dumpling that was made of glutinous rice, pork floss, sausage ham and omelette. From the description you can probably tell it's not a very good initiation to Shanghainese food (ha ha ha) but it warmed my heart in many ways, to have this as my first dinner in Shanghai / China in my life. (And also because I haven't seen the boy for a few days and I finally reunited with him~)

Then again, I definitely could not judge this place based on only one dumpling (there were many items sold out). This place is amazingly lovely decor which I later find is representative of modern-day Shanghai eateries, especially the more 'hipster' ones.

Tao Yuan Juan Cun (Peach Garden Village) 桃园眷村(日月光店)
(Beside Tsui Wah Restaurant)

We also tried Moomoo (Yogurt Factory) 酸奶工房 where they sold this lukewarm yogurt in a cup with blueberries, this was very overpriced for what it is. It is essentially very 'original, natural' yogurt. I was expected froyo but then again, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. In my subsequent trips to China and interactions with Chinese people / cultural products, I realized they take their yogurts very seriously, and it comes in many different forms. Food isn't really the greatest attraction at Tian Zi Fang. They generally look photogenic / are in photogenic shops but taste-wise, it's really not spectacular. Chances are, it's because they are a huge tourist attraction - and most tourists visit a place once in a lifetime.

What to do in Tian Zi Fang (田子坊)

Definitely take time to wander down the many small streets criss-crossing throughout Tian Zi Fang, you might just find an amazing shop full of treasures! Most shops have more than one entrance, and it got slightly confusing for navigation. Every lane and street in Tian Zi Fang is incredibly picturesque, it feels like a giant Universal Studios-like bubble.

Watch these sand artists perform their craft on the streets as they do so wordlessly. They know how to boast without saying a word. Scanning the QR code placed prominently on their stall will bring you to their official account, and also makes payment a cashless experience.

Get a graphic tee to get into the mood! I ended up getting a graphic tee from this shop with a chrome yellow Buddha statue called LUSHANGHAI 路上海. It turned out to be one of my favourite tee-shirts till date 😊 They have plenty of shirts - hand-drawn pieces inspired from the zodiac or other animals. It turned out to be a couple tee as well that isn't exactly the same - which gets a little too cheesy sometimes.

Find one of these shops with so many charming trinkets, including wind-chimes! I got one in the end, with a cat figurine, of course. It has been in my room ever since I got back from Shanghai. ♥

One of the other things to do in Tian Zi Fang is to visit the Scent Library, which we didn't go but there were signs everywhere pointing to it. I got distracted at the kitty here - it is so cute, I really want to pinch its cheeks!! ♥ We were really rushing for time to go onto our next stop, Yu Garden.

We hopped onto the Shanghai metro to the next stop Yuyuan Garden:
Dapuqiao 打浦桥 (Line 9) > Madang Road (Line 13) > Xintiandi (Line 13) > Yuyuan Garden (Line 10)

Will be posting on the next leg of our Shanghai trip very soon, keep a lookout! 😊

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a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

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