Autumn Soil. Photo by Scott Wright Limelight Studios Ultraviolet photo by Scott Wright Limelight Studios Descending underground for our first course Picnic in the park Drama in the Kitchen Ultraviolet Kitchen Photo by Scott Wright Limelight Studios

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet

Expectations are high when stepping into the black-lit altar of Paul Pairet. If your name is on the list for one of the ten coveted seats at Ultraviolet, you have probably been waiting three months for this evening. This is how far in advance the restaurant is usually booked. It is likely your birthday, or a special occasion, one that you wouldn’t mind splurging on. Since its opening in 2012, Ultraviolet’s price per head has increased 25% to 2,500 RMB, or $408 USD at last conversion.

An email directs you to Mr & Mrs Bund, Pairet’s other modernist French eatery on the Bund at 6:30 to be shuttled to ‘a secret location’. You sip on a glass of pear cider and size up your dinner companions for the night, a group of immaculately dressed strangers. A palpable sense of anticipation builds with every passing minute.

Already, elements are at work, influencing in your mind what Pairet calls “psycho taste”, the preconceived…

Sixi Village Tea eggs and baozi breakfast Sixi Village, Wuyuan Drying Eggplants, Wuyuan Wooden Door Carving, Wuyuan Traditional Wooden Home Little Likeng, Wuyuan

Wuyuan, China’s Most Beautiful Countryside

In northeast Jiangxi province lies Wuyuan, a cluster of villages widely considered to be the most beautiful countryside in China.

A six hour bus ride from Shanghai, one can easily spend a few days wandering around its ancient villages, swimming in mountain springs, and staying in farmhouses along the way.

Getting around on your own isn’t easy here. Public buses connect some of the biggest villages with Wuyuan city but are infrequent. Unless you’re driving yourself, motorbike taxis and hired cars are the best option, and there are plenty of both at the central bus station in town. Our local drivers turned out to be great guides, all of them fiercely proud of their hometown and eager to show off the best of the area.

It is easy to lose yourself in the atmosphere of sleepy Sixi village, a cluster of white-washed Hui style houses surrounded by golden rapeseed fields. The air hums, as if time is momentarily suspended.  The only movement is …

Locals lining up at 8 in the morning for cifantuan Fried crullers, pork floss, tea eggs, pickles and stewed pork, ready to be rolled into a ball The lady moves like lightening, it was a task to get her to slow down enough to take a picture. A beautiful morning in the Jingan Villas Pork cutlets stewing Stall at 590 Weihai Road Dumplings and noodles down an alley

Shanghai Breakfast Street Food Tour

This summer has been one of the hottest on record in Shanghai. Taking a walk outside is akin to being skewered on a spit and basting in one’s own oil on slow rotation .

Luckily, I was in Ethiopia for most of July and missed the worst of it. While I did endure two days in the Dallol region of Northern Ethiopia- known as the hottest and most lifeless place on earth- my friends here are unimpressed, “Well you didn’t have to leave Shanghai for that”.

The only window of respite is in the wee hours before seven in the morning, when the streets are most peaceful. Before the sound of blaring horns fill the air and a thick blanket of humidity descends, the elderly are out on their morning walks, exercising in the park and picking up breakfast for loved ones still sleeping.

It used to be that at the entrance of every longtang, a small alley of traditional shikumen houses, there was at least one stall serving traditional Shanghai breakfast of…


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