The Old City of Shanghai


Away from the tourist areas of The Bund, Pudong and Yu Gardens lies the Old City area of Shanghai where a maze of small streets and alleys takes you into another time.


The Old City of Shanghai, also formerly known as the Chinese city, is the traditional urban core of Shanghai, China. Its boundary was formerly defined by a defensive wall. The Old City was the county seat for the old county of Shanghai. With the advent of foreign concessions in Shanghai, the Old City became just one part of Shanghai’s urban core but continued for decades to be the seat of the Chinese authority in Shanghai.


Notable features include the City God Temple which is located in the center of the Old City and is connected to the Yuyuan Garden. With the exception of two short sections, the walls were demolished in 1912, and a broad circular avenue built over the former wall and moat: the southern half was named the “Zhonghua Road” and the northern half the “Minguo Road” (together making up “Zhonghua Minguo”, or “Republic of China” in Chinese). (The northern half was renamed “Renmin Road” (“People’s Road”) in 1950 by the new Communist government of Shanghai). The Old City was for decades largely coterminous with the old Nanshi District, which is now part of Huangpu District.
Within the maze of small streets and lanes you can find an incredible choice of food being served on the street. You will also see a variety of herbs and spices being dried on the streets and then sold at small roadside shops.
The video above shows the process of making the Bó bǐng. Bings are usually a casual food and generally eaten for lunch, however, they can also be incorporated into formal meals. Both Peking duck and moo shu pork are rolled up in thin wheat flour bao bing with scallions and sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce. Bing may also have a filling such as ground meat. Bing are commonly cooked on a skillet or griddle though some are baked.
Some common types include:
Cong you bing (蔥油餅; scallions and oil bing)
Fa mian bing (發麵餅; yeast-risen bing)
Laobing (烙餅; branded bing)
Shaobing (燒餅; roasted bing)
Jian bing (煎餅; fried egg pancake, similar to crepes), and a popular breakfast streetfood in Hong Kong.
Bó bǐng (薄饼; literally “thin pancakes”) refers to a thin circular crepe-like wrapper or “skin” (薄餅皮) wrapping various fillings. This is sometimes called “Mandarin pancake” or “moo shoo pancake” (木须饼, mù xū bǐng) in American Chinese food contexts.
Yuèbǐng (月餅; mooncakes) a type of bing usually produced and eaten at the mid-autumn festival
Luo buo si bing (萝卜絲餅, shredded radish bing) is a type of panfried bing consisting of a wheat dough skin filled with shredded radish
Bings are also eaten in Korean culture, the most common being jian bing, which are consumed together with seafood.
These Bó bǐng seen in the video above were seen being made in one of the tiny back streets of the Old City area in Shanghai. This street was full of food vendors making and selling a large variety of foods and made a very colourful and lively venue for street photography ….. as well as food sampling.
The street is the focal point for shopping, eating and even getting your haircut. You may also see in some of the small narrow alleys strings of meat hung up to dry.
These small back lanes of the Old City is typical of how life has gone on unchanged since many decades ago. Only one small sink with water outside the house to do all the washing, cleaning and cooking, a tiny outside cooking area and of course no heating for the cold winter nights. You can see here the ingenious way of using straw to lag the water pipes to prevent these freezing in winter.

Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia

Stuart Taylor of HighlanderImages Photography has been making images for over 25 years and can offer a diverse range of photo imaging services with a focus on Asia and a documentary/photojournalistic style. These services include planning and executing a photo shoot on location but importantly all the post-processing and image preparation needed for the specific finished media format required by the customer. Stuart’s experience and knowledge in all of these aspects makes HighlanderImages Photography a one-stop-shop for a comprehensive and professional image production service.

Stuart can be available for a variety individual assignments or projects and he specialises in areas such as photojournalism, commercial, architectural, real estate, industrial, interior design, corporate, urbex, adventure, wilderness and travel photography. Stuart can also offer some innovative and advanced techniques such as HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Panoramic Photography.

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