Where the east meets the west: Shanghai

Shanghai is the city where the Europeans and Americans have the strongest home-coming feeling. There are streets with European-style buildings, Michelin star restaurants with premium steaks and brunch, and numerous nightclubs where one can go crazy all night. “It is the greatest city in China.” Many visitors wrote on their Twitter posts.

After the Opium War in 1942, merchants from western countries, such as Great Britain, France, and the United States, flooded to this small fishing village. British added afternoon tea to the daily routine. French introduced social dance. Americans brought their…burgers. The fast-developing town was not only becoming a trading hub but also absorbing modern lifestyles.

Immigrants attended social clubs wearing suits and ate bread and steak for supper. Instead of water and tea, they drank milk, coffee, and beer. To satisfy those requirements, a complete supply chain. In the French Concession, three bakeries imported flour from America. British set up dairy farms raising 186 cows to produce fresh milk daily. Brewery factories were built up in the suburb. Local citizens started to imitate to entertain themselves in bars, the theatre of Paramount, and ice-skating court.

Today, Shanghai could be connected with any event with international titles, including Shanghai Expo 2010, international music festivals, fashion shows, world-famous art exhibitions. In central business circles, luxurious brands such as Gucci and Channel occupy the shopping windows. Western culture is dominant, and East Paris is beyond the definition of being modern.

However, that does not mean Shanghai is the least Chinese city. On the contrary, Shanghai retains its local culture very well. In Shanghai allies, grey bricks and tile roofs are typical architecture types. Coveted street food such as xiaolongbao (tiny buns with meat), Chengjiang bao (fried-pan bun with sucky meant fillings), mooncake with meat fillings, Shanghai wonton, welcomed by both local gourmet and visitors. Like other parts of China, Shanghainese pull great strengths to value their face. Public embarrassment is the situation they would like to avoid.

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