Mápó dòufu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province. It is a combination of tofu (bean curd) set in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension, and often cooked with fermented black beans and minced meat, usually pork or beef.
My trip to Shanghai last week was incredibly rushed, and not entirely pleasant. The reason for the quick trip was to take the Cambridge DELTA Module 1 exam at the British Council office, the results of which I’ll get in February. I didn’t have a good feeling about the exam, which left me in a not-so-good mood. It also left me with about 5 hours to play tourist in the city. Much of this time was spent navigating the labyrinthine world of the city’s metro system, trying to find places using the Google maps app on my new Nokia Lumia 1020, and fending off a seemingly endless stream of people offering me “massage.” I was feeling tired, stressed, and headache-y, and a bad meal that left me with intestinal trouble didn’t help. My one attempt to sample the city’s 小笼包 xiǎolóngbāo dumplings was also disappointing.
On the plus side, I was able to see the Shanghai Bund at night, and to get a quick sampling of the city’s infinite variety of architecture. I spent the night at the rather pleasant Mingtown Etour Hostel near People’s Square, and rather enjoyed the ride to the city from the airport on the maglev train at 430 km per hour. My plan to visit a foreign-language bookstore, however, failed completely when I discovered the store had closed at 6:30 pm. The city’s frantic pace and the condescending manner of many of the people, however, left me indifferent to spending more time appreciating the city’s other charms.
All in all, I was happy to get back to Chengdu.
Crossing a busy street with a stuffed toy, East Nanjing Road