Shanghai in pictures

I keep finding it hard to leave this city so much so that I’ve managed to extend it for another month…even though it means I’m going to spend a few weeks bouncing around. Before I get back to my smoggy, shovy, pushy, currently-adopted city, I’ll be heading to Bangkok for a hen’s night, Singapore for Chinese New Year and Koh Samui for a wedding. Not that I’m complaining.

I really like being in Shanghai, though the cold has definitely been a challenge. Fake Canadian that I am, I actually  freak out when I see the temperature go below 0. So far I am trying to keep my layering to about 2 to 3 layers, just in case it ever gets colder and I need to wear more. These are pics I’ve snapped on my little Samsung were mainly taken before it got too cold to work a touch screen without gloves (and that’s the only way to work one…need special gloves).

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Jing An temple is just memorable for me because for the first two months I lived practically next door. I finally took a peek inside on a free pray-day. It was a lot more chaotic than this picture suggests. People running around trying to burn joss sticks on open fire is a little scary.

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Made an important visit to People’s Square to find a husband. In the past parents used to congregate there and really share info about their kids to help them find a mate (much to their children’s embarrassment, according to my Chinese teacher. Nowadays, there are just as many matchmakers as parents, and probably even more tourists. If my crappy Mandarin is correct, I believe the sign above says something like “Mom! Here is where I’ll find my true love.”

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I like spending time in Tianzifang. An old Shikumen style sort-of tourist trap where there are lots of interesting stores. I’ve been about four times and still can’t find my way around. It’s like an ever-changing maze. But lately I’ve learned to just wander and somehow I end up where I need to be. Ridiculous I know.

2012-12-09 17.02.51Poor bunnies, saw them being sold while walking to The Bund.2012-12-14 17.13.39

A friend took me to this lovely furniture/cafe (popular in Shanghai) that my crappy photo does not do justice to. This is the address is anyone ever wants to pop in for a cuppa or a couch. The surrounding areas are also great for a walk. 145 Nanchang Lu, 南昌路145号

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Of course I can’t post about Shanghai without a requisite food picture. On Beijing Road behind the Portman Ritz-Carlton there’s a local dumpling restaurant that does these great steamed jiao zi. They were delicious, and gone in about 20 minutes which is what happens when you eat with your 21 year old male classmates.

I think there’s a real possibility that I could live here (if I don’t get run over by a cab, or a bicycle first). It’s still more affordable than HK though that’s probably changing soon. And somehow there doesn’t seem to be that many bankers here (which is a nice change). Beyond the pollution, the language (which I’m still struggling with) and the occasional food poisoning, I still think there’s a lot f possibility. It could be worth it, especially for views like the ones below.

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Spa Review: Chuan Spa at Langham Place Mongkok

Chuan Spa -  EntranceChristmas really is the time of giving and I’ve been fortunate to have been given not one, not two but THREE awesome spa opportunities while back in Hong Kong.

This review is really more of an ode to a therapist at Chuan Spa. The first time I went, I tried their Dermaheal facial as part of a machines-treatment-based story. The therapist, Jessie, was awesome, especially considering the facial was paaaaainful, mainly because it involved lots of little needles. Ouch.

This time I went to try their signature Chuan Yu Facial. Chuan Spa is inspired and based around Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts and so before each treatment you fill in a form to determine what element you are. The first time I did this in Shanghai at the Langham Xintiandi for an article, I was metal (the weather was changing), this time I was water (which I put down to being severely congested and as a result, probably dehydrated).

I sat in the waiting room for a bit and coughed so badly I think they hurried me into my room just to stop my hacking from tearing through their zen (I totally don’t blame them, I was so embarassed).

I’m not saying that the Chuan Yu facial cured me of my tuberculosis (ie. really really bad cough/cold/flu) but it definitely helped. A week later in Singapore, I now feel almost totally fine. Going to a spa while you’re trying to hack out a lung is definitely not ideal for you (or your fellow spa guests!) but maybe that extra nurturing and kindness you get from an expert therapist is the best medicine haha.

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Jessie put up with a lot of coughing through my facial and I felt extremely bad for potentially sending germs directly at her. She kept assuring me this wasn’t an issue and even brought me chamomile tea after which she said was known to be good for cough. The facial was really soothing, and involving a lot of massage and pressure points. It also included the use of jade in the treatment designed to stimulate circulation. I drifted in and out of sleep but I definitely felt the cool jade being pressed into my palms and on certain points of my face. It was actually really nice.

After the treatment, I was resting in the relaxation room, gazing out at Hong Kong’s smoggy scenery when Jessie brought me a cup of chamomile tea, supposedly good for the respiratory system but I was already feeling much better and hacking way less after the treatment.

Hot happy holidays in Singapore

Hello blog, it’s been awhile! I’ve been meaning to blog since Christmas but I was sick before it and then sicker after and then I came back to Shanghai where the internet hates me. Anyway here’s a picture post of my time back in Singapore. Warm Christmases are the norm for me but it was good to check out some new places. 2012-12-23 13.39.40

Visited a cozy brunch place in Katong called Rabbit, Carrot, Gun. The place as far as I could tell only had carrots, no rabbits and no (illegal) guns, but the lunch was great. So great that I of course did not take any pics (not a food blogger).

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Anyone who references my favourite childhood half-cartoon gets my vote for a fun place to visit.


Evening strolls and snacks are always fun in Singapore (yes they usually take place post-clubbing) but Marina Bay Sands is really way nicer at 3am when no one is there. Below is late night garlic naan from an prata place near my home. As you all know, I never say no to carbs no matter what time it is.


Christmas in my family is a big affair. Six aunts and uncles and their spouses, 23 cousins and second cousins and their spouses and kids. Basically it adds up to a big Christmas feast…but because we spent so much time demolishing it, all I have left is a photo of the Christmas pasta.


And yeah these are all my instagram photos, you can follow me there @karentanfong too. At least that gets updated a little more often!