Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shanghai, final snackies

I had planned on staying in Shanghai for a few days to visit friends, then take the sleeper train to Kowloon. Unfortunately, because of the spring festival, all of the train tickets for the entire month of July were sold out and the cheapest plane ticket available left the day after my job ended. That meant I had about twelve hours to eat all of the food and see all of the people I had planned to, so I winnowed my friend list down to one and my food list down to just two places.

One of my favorite food bloggers, Sandy Ley, writes a blog out of Shanghai and had recently discussed her "top five must eats in Shanghai" in an interview for The two things she listed that interested me the most were the Xiao Long Bao at fer her favorite xlb place, Ling Long Fang, and the complimentary nut mix at the famous expat watering hole el Coctel. I've been following her blog avidly for months and was excited to finally try some of her recommendations.

First off, Ling Long Fang was bangin. Just as Sandy describes it: sticky table tops, gruff service, delicious pork soup snackies. That said, I must admit I still prefer De Long Guan. Ling Long Fang was yummy but De Long Guan was even gruffer and stickier and served up some sort of crazy magic.

Next up on the list was el Coctel. I met up with my friend and Shanghai expat John and headed out for a bevie and some of those famous free nuts. This was my first time at el Coctel and it was really pretty awesome. The bar is based on trendy Tokyo style bars (I forget what they're called but I went to a really similar one in NYC a few years ago), dark, intimate, upstairs and a little jazzy. The cocktails we had were pricey but simple, impeccably made and delicious. And the nuts? Well the nuts were insane. I must admit that when I first read that the nuts were included on Sandy's top five eats in Shanghai I balked. The selection spanked of trying too hard to be hip, certainly some bar nuts couldn't be that great. But man oh man was I wrong. Most of the nuts weren't even nuts, I don't know what they were. It was like some non-sugary cracker jack or something. I couldn't stop eating them and after a few cocktails I wouldn't shut up about how good they would taste over milk. I'm telling you, next time I go to el Coctel I'm bringing some cold milk. Those nuts would make the best cereal in the world.

Well, goodbye Shanghai! Next blog post will be from Hong Kong, famous snackie paradise and my new home!

Ling Long Fan
10 Jian GuoDong Lu

el Coctel
2F, 47 Yongfu Lu at Fuxing Lu

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