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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Eating Out 2 - Sheng Jian

Soup dumplings aka "siu loong bao" is a very popular food in Shanghai. One of the variations of siu loong bao is "sheng jian" (生煎) or fried dumplings, where the top part is fried to an aromatic crunch while the soup still maintains inside the dumplings.

Our favourite "sheng jian" shop is Yang's Dumpling. It is a popular chain found in many malls.

We usually order their springy mung bean noodles (粉丝) to go with the fried dumplings.

Springy and chewy mung bean noodles with fishballs, tofu puffs and black fungus

Sheng jian with crunchy, golden-brown top and sesame-seeds-covered bottom

I don't like the thick dumpling skin but I like the meat filling. Mummy doesn't eat meat so she eats the dumpling skin and I eat the filling :)

The kitchen is just beside the dining area and from the large glass window, we can see how the kitchen helpers work with their fast, skillful and efficient hands! (This photo was taken from the take-out counter beside the glass window)

A slightly different version of sheng jian from another shop... with black sesame seeds

Here's something not related to sheng jian but it is quite uniquely China...

Red dates yoghurt ;)

Surprisingly, it tastes really good! Both daddy and mummy love it but not me. I still prefer mine plain or fruit-flavoured :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

International Friendship Day and Friendship Woes

How I ended up schooling in an international school is entirely due to a twist of fate and maybe, luck. Up until late last year, daddy and mummy were still preparing me for Std 1 in one SJK(C) near our home back in Petaling Jaya (we only got news of our impending move to Shanghai in late Oct 2012). Everything that they had planned for me earlier did not materialise. Instead, we were all thrown into a whirlwind of events, including a complete lifestyle-restructuring, before settling comfortably here.

Well, here I am now, enjoying the many privileges of studying in a "guo ji xue xiao". Fostering international friendship is probably one of the best experiences for me so far. Mummy is happy to note that I have made friends with children from around the world. They are J from Korea, T from India, P from Spain, J and Y from Singapore, H from Malaysia, E and M from Taiwan, C from Brazil, A from Italy, M from Hong Kong and R from Japan.

Last Friday was International Friendship Day and we were encouraged to wear traditional costumes from our native countries. Luckily mummy did not forget to bring along my baju kurung. I have been wearing this same old outfit for all the cultural events in my kindergarten since I was 4 years old!

From left: 4 years old, 5 years old and 6 years old in the same baju during my pre-school years at Peter & Jane kindergarten.

Now... soon-to-be 7 years old but still donning the same baju... in China :) Oh, and it's not that I did not grow physically. Mummy bought a size 8 and had it altered (shortened the bottom) for me to wear when I was younger. It fits perfectly now and she doubts it will still fit next year ;)

Circular for International Friendship Day... I guess my ethnic costume should be cheongsam but err, nevermind... :p

From the circular that I brought back from school, mummy understood that there would be some snacks on sale too so she gave me RMB10 as pocket money to buy something to eat. This was my very first pocket money and it was an equivalent of RM5.00!! Daddy and mummy only had RM0.50 the most during their time but of course that was more than 3 decades ago hehe. I have never bought anything before in my entire life and mummy had to give me lessons on how to buy things… how to pay and receive change if there is any.

Mummy was eager to find out what I had bought with the RMB10 so that was the first question she asked me as soon as I alighted from my schoolbus that evening. To her shock and disbelief (couldn't believe I could be so naive and silly), I told her I did not get to buy anything because I gave the money to a friend. This friend saw the money in my purse and asked for it. I wanted to please her so I handed the money to her without any hesitation! International Friendship Day ma… whatever my friend wants, I give la… @_@ (ok, I did not say this. It's just mummy's sarcastic remark)

Mummy was not very happy with my "whatever... anything goes... never-say-no" mentality. She felt that I was being taken advantage of and I was also an easy prey for bullies. Earlier on, this friend also demanded for my dough figurines (3 of them that I made every week at my craft class until mummy had to intervene and put a stop to this). She also took away small gifts (rewards) given to me by my teacher for my academic achievements. Mummy did not know how to deal with this problem so she handed it over to my class teacher.

With friends come joy as well as problems. I feel very comfortable talking and playing with my friends but I find it extremely difficult to approach them when they borrow my things without returning them. I dare not open my mouth to ask. This has led to some of my belongings (mostly small items like erasers or pencils) dwindling in numbers. Despite numerous warnings from mummy to take care of my belongings, the situation kept getting worse. From one to two to four missing coloured pencils, I came home one day with just these...

More than half gone! How pathetic...

Daddy and mummy kept telling me that it is not difficult to ASK for whatever borrowed from me that is not returned. After all, those things belong to me and they are righteously mine! I really hope I can overcome this fear soon! (Fear of approaching people to ask for something)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We Adopted a Panda

... a toy one, that is haha :) It was love at first sight during our recent trip to Ikea and daddy thought there's no better place to "adopt" a panda if not in China. It was also inexpensive at only RMB29 (less than RM15) so mummy gave her nod of approval and the cute little panda came home with us. Introducing Le Le 乐乐, my new companion...

Soft, fluffy and cuddly :)

It all began here...

My new BFF

Now, this post is not so much about how much I love Le Le. It is where Le Le originated from that surprised us. It is easy to assume that Le Le was locally made. We thought so too but we were wrong. Out of the hundreds of toys that I have, I can safely say that 99% of them are made in China. Le Le falls into the 1% because she is made in Indonesia!

Isn't it ironic that something so China-related and bought in China was not made in China? ;)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Yu Yuan Garden

Two Saturdays ago, we played tourists again and visited Yu Yuan Garden - the most famous garden located in the heart of Shanghai Old City. It is a classical garden built during the Ming Dynasty in 1577. One of the unique charms of this place can be seen in its ancient building designs with pagoda-like roofs.

We did not go into the special garden specifically (will leave that for our next trip here) but we just walked around the bazaars surrounding the garden. The place was super crowded and teeming with tourists!

This mini town consists of only Chinese traditional buildings like this...

Just outside one of the many bazaars selling all kinds of stuff that attract tourists, from handicrafts to food

The massive Saturday crowd

Local sweets and goodies

Trinkets and small souvenirs

China's most loveable mascot

We walked on the "nine-bend" zigzag bridge. Saw some fish and tortoises in the shallow pond below

Scenery as seen from the bridge...

When east meets west... It is not surprising to see Starbucks or Haagen-Dazs sitting amidst this very traditional Chinese garden :)

We had a light snack of stinky tofu, egg tarts and herbal jelly (gui lin gao)

I also had a "small" cotton candy... (I wanted it very badly and mummy requested the seller to make a small one for me. She made this for me and said "nah, a small one for you..." @_@)

Cheeky face :p

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Eating Out 1 - Noodles and Dumplings

Eating out is a once-a-week treat for us. Mummy cooks on all the other days, including on Sundays because we usually spend the whole day resting at home (err, the resting part is not for mummy though because she still needs to slog in the kitchen to feed us - daddy and me, haha!). Our Saturdays are reserved for outings and it is also the only day that we get to dine out.

We usually go for simple meals... something not too heavy, meaty or oily. We like noodles the most. This is one of our favourite noodle shops and we order exactly these same stuff every time we eat here... ;)

My favourite soup dumplings a.k.a xiao loong bao a.k.a 汤包... 6yuan (RM3) per basket of 8 pcs. This is best eaten with some vinegar but I prefer to eat them plain.

Daddy's minced meat noodles 炸酱拌面... 10yuan (RM5)

Mummy's mixed mushroom noodles 菌菇拌面... 10yuan (RM5). The noodle portion is BIG (the bowl is deep) so I usually share with mummy

Yummy wantan 小馄饨... 4yuan (RM2) for a bowl of about 15pcs

During the strawberry season, mummy would also hunt for strawberries in a fruit shop opposite this noodle shop. China strawberries are the best we've ever eaten! They are absolutely fresh, juicy, SWEET and of course, dirt cheap too at only 10yuan (RM5) per kg. Imagine, only RM5 for one whole kilo!

Both the noodle shop and fruit shop are located along this quiet street near our home. On weekends, especially in the afternoon, we can see many elderly folks chilling at the roadside playing mahjong and cards :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Teeth-less and Teething

Recently, I lost two of my front teeth... both my left and right upper lateral incisor. Both the teeth became shaky at about the same time. The first to go was the one on my left. It was on the 3rd morning of CNY when daddy and mummy heard a whimpering sound from the bathroom. The tooth had come off while I was brushing my teeth. When daddy came to my aid, it was already dangling loosely with blood trickling down the tooth. Daddy gave it a gentle tug and the tooth was freed :)

The right one started giving problems about a week later. It gave me a hard time during meal times. While struggling to eat my lunch one afternoon, I summoned daddy to be my personal "dentist" again. I begged him to pull the loose tooth out for me.

Last pic of me with only 1 missing tooth...

Holding a piece of tissue paper for better grip, daddy did the job quite "professionally". In just a matter of seconds, the tooth was already in between his fingers! :)

I complained that it was a bit painful this time and he quickly "sayang" me back hehe...

Here are some of my no-front-teeth moments...

Enjoying my very first McD sundae cone

Teeth-less but happy in the park

Teeth-less but happy at home

No front teeth to eat corn? Never mind, just peel with my fingers...

These "no front teeth moments" will not last long because mummy noticed a new tooth sprouting already... Yay! Surprisingly, the new tooth is growing on the right side (where the milk tooth fell off later).

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cherry Blossoms @ Gucun Park

We visited the Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival in Gucun Park two Saturdays ago, on 23/3. It was a wet and gloomy day but mummy was desperate to go because the flowers were in full-bloom and she was afraid that the beautiful sight might not last long. The cloudy dark skies and the lack of sunlight was not photography-friendly at all. Most of our photos turned out dark, dull and not-sharp. Anyway we had a great time walking around and exploring the huge park.

Gucun Park is a very "young" park. Opened in 2010, this park is only 3 years old so the trees here are basically still in their "infantile stage". With over 10,000 sakura trees in 28 different species (although we only saw the white kind), it is the largest cherry blossom park in Shanghai. Another main attraction here is a fairly large amusement park in the Children's Carnival with many rides similar to those in Genting.

We spent only about 3 hours here. We would have stayed longer if not for the hostile weather... the rain plus the chilly winds made us all very, very uncomfortable!

The park entrance cost 20yuan (RM10) each. Children below 130cm get free entrance.

The Wonderful World of Ruoyi

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