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Writing about Shanghai, chicken feet

Chicken Feet in Shanghai

Chicken Feet in Shanghai

Getting chicken feet in Shanghai can be quite a literal experience, as I found this week when I walked into a neighborhood mart. If you look squat in the middle of the picture above, you’ll know what I mean.

I’ve been to Shanghai twice before, so I gave the scenic tour a miss. No hopping into tall towers or boat rides in colorfully lighted barges on the Huang Pu. Instead, I just let myself soak in the weather, the people, the common everyday life, la vita quotidiana.

I did go for a freezing walk on the Puxi side of the Huang Pu, and admired the skyline of the Pudong side of Shanghai, and the next day, blogged a little about it here.

I walked into swanky malls, and side-streets in search of a winter coat, which remained elusive, because Shanghainese shops being the trendy lot they are, had begun stocking colorful, chiffony Spring fare!

I took long, brisk walks at lunchtime each day, all muffled up in mittens and scarves, ending up at one restaurant or the other. The menus were all in Mandarin, with pictures, but I could not be sure what the ingredients were.

That did not deter my gluttonous self, of course, and I went ahead ordering strange dishes by hand gestures and smiles alone. The waiters thought I was a one-woman freak show, but took my coat anyway, hung it over a chair beside me and covered it with a sack sort of thing. Don’t ask me why, they did that to the coats of all the customers, so it must be normal. They then cheerfully brought in steaming plates of whatever it was I had ordered, mostly smothered in oil, frequently unidentifiable as one type of meat or the other, but delicious all the same.

I got wet in drizzles, I smiled at strangers, I wrote a story or two, researched an article here and there, dashed off an indignant e-mail to the general manager of the hotel about the lonely little neon-tertra starving in a vase in the room (undoubtedly kept there for feng-shui purposes), shopped a little, ate a lot, nearly lost my nose to the cold but still kept walking out, and generally had a much-needed break.

The nose is back to the grindmill now, and I leave you with a slideshow of some of my pics from Shanghai:

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • indigobunting says:

    Oh, that was wonderful, thank you.

  • keriandkim says:

    my mom was born there. she’ll love to read this!

    I’m glad. I’ve been to Shanghai a few times now, and I like it there.

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Very interesting! It looks like a great and diverse city! And thank you for sharing those with us.

    Welcome home and I loved whatever song you chose for the slideshow. 🙂

    Yes, it is diverse and interesting….. from my post you’d think Shanghai is all about eating, but there’s actually much to see and do!