JINGTHEORY Guide to Shanghai JINGTHEORY Guide to Shanghai

JINGTHEORY Guide to Shanghai

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Travel has always been the one constant in my life. Before I was old enough to grasp the changes, I was moving regularly with my parents to far flung places.  I’ve lived in big cities, countrysides and gridded suburbs. I was thrown into complex cultural and social structures that I couldn’t fully grasp at my young age but embodied viscerally. This routine came not without its own challenges and exasperations, but back then I really thought my experiences were normal.

Since then, I’ve come to rediscover travel on my own.  Perhaps an act of rebellion towards being repeatedly…

Jing | 14.12.13 at 01:02 PM |
Chengdu Instead of Beijing: NYMag's winter travel feature Salt and Sichuan peppercorn cookies that literally melt in your mouth, the perfect balance of sweet, savoury, and numbing. perfect noodles slathered in an elixir of vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and plenty of chilli. Mala pig brain 'mapo' tofu: spicy, tingling, wonderous silky textures.

Jingtheory on New York Magazine: Chengdu Travel

The question I get asked most frequently is, “What do I eat when I go to Chengdu?” For a food-crazed city like Chengdu, the answer to that question is boundless. A place where ancient food culture meets the dizzying pace of new dining trends, and where the term ‘foodie’ makes no distinction at all because everyone is a certified 吃货, its no wonder that Chengdu’s food scene is constantly evolving. New fly restaurants and snack vendors set up shop every day, but few have the staying power of some of Chengdu’s long-standing 老字号 time-honoured establishments.

I was recently interviewed by New York Magazine (!!!) on three of my favourite spicy dishes in Chengdu. Here’s the excerpt

Thanks to its famous, fiery cuisine, Chengdu was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2010. Local food blogger Jenny Gao ranks her top dishes from kinda to insanely spicy.

Mildly spicy:
Salt and Sichuan peppercorn…

Jing | 07.11.13 at 02:11 AM |

My Culinary Adventure in Chengdu Pt 1

I’ve been extremely lucky to have done a lot of cool things in my life, traveling the world over from the age of 5, eating in some of the world’s best restaurants, and fulfilling a lot of personal goals and aspirations along the way.

But nothing was quite as impactful as this past February, when I flew to Chengdu to join a film crew on the set of Ching He Huang and Ken Hom’s “Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure”. I was initially contacted by the producers to help with the planning of the Sichuan episode, but the more we talked the more they liked the story of my family in Chengdu, and so we became a major part of the script.

Growing up in the West, I never felt as connected to my family back home. All the grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins were a warm set of faces and names that I got to know around a dinner table over important holidays, like Spring Festival, or Mid Autumn festival, only to fade into the background when we got on a plane to head back to …

36 Hours In Shanghai - Jing Theory 9 a.m - The People’s Snacks Xiaoyangshenjian Shanghai First Food Store 上海第一食品店 (720 Nanjing East Road) 12 p.m. Lunch -  Whampoa Club 3 p.m.
Snack Time - Lin Long Fang (10 Jianguo Lu) Tianzifang at Taikang Lu

36 Hours In Shanghai – Food & Drink

So you are in Shanghai. Now what?

9 a.m.
The People’s Snacks

Head to People’s Square early to avoid traffic and chaos. Get dropped off at the corner of Huanghe Lu and Fengyang Lu and walk down the popular food street. There won’t yet be a line at Jiajiatangbao (90 Huanghe Lu), so settle down with a hot bowl of egg and seaweed soup and basket of crab roe xiaolongbao. Don’t forget to order sliced ginger on the side. Watch and learn how locals slurp their dumplings, and indulge in one of the most perfect foods in the world. Possibly the most talked about spot in Shanghai, you’ve finally tasted what all the fuss is about, and they weren’t lying.

That was a nice teaser, now walk across the street to Xiaoyangshenjian, the other fabled chain that serves what can be called the bastard brother of XLB, the shenjianbao. Rougher around the edges but just as delicious. Thick, bread-like pork buns are pan-fried and coated in sesame…

admin | 09.08.12 at 10:05 AM |
Snacking Chengdu • Jing Theory The archway greeting your entry, with Safe, government issued stalls with snow pear soup and 'iced sugar' fruit kebabs
One of several attractions along the way, a skilled craftsman blowing animal figurines out of a sugar concoction.
One of several attractions along the way, a skilled craftsman blowing animal figurines out of a sugar concoction.
This stall is the most photographed of all Chengdu street food, probably due to the colourful outfits and attractive chilies. In the first bamboo basket are 叶儿粑 Ye Er Ba, a classic. (Refer to the Snack A-Z below.)
Various meat skewers, pastries in a steamer.

Snacking Chengdu

Chengdu’s streets have seen a great transformation over the years. Once the capital of Shu State during the Three Kingdom period, the city has had a rich and colourful history. Food culture has been particularly important, in private homes, high-end establishments, and crowded streets. Street snacks in particular, have made a name for themselves around the world, and are my earliest encounter with truly mind-blowing flavour.

Not your average street fare, Chengdu’s snacks are diverse in selection and sophisticated in preparation, only sourcing the best ingredients, using intricate techniques passed down for generations. Once ubiquitous as ‘fly restaurants’ or street carts, they are becoming harder and harder to find due to recent government efforts to ‘clean’ city streets.

I’ve written previously about the impending death of food culture in Chengdu, and as if in attempt to preserve an…

Jing | 08.05.12 at 01:13 AM |


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