Tag: shanghai

2019 – Another Year in Review

2019 – Another Year in Review

I had so much fun doing my 2017 and 2018 review, so here we go again, starting with the exact same sentence:

2019: it’s been a crazy year!

January

I spent half of the month in Germany combining work and seeing friends and family, while Thorben returned to Shanghai a bit earlier. He brought some North German culture with him and hosted a GrΓΌnkohl dinner. I also finished the planning and booking for our big 2019 vacation – a long awaited trip to New Zealand.

February

Over Chinese New Year, we explored New Zealand. We spent 1 week on the North Island and 2 weeks on the South Island and went skydiving! It was a great trip, maybe my favorite one so far, and I wish I was already planning the next one.

March

March was a food month: It was restaurant week again, and I had fun eating and also making lots of food. I also started my BonApp “career” (I’m now a power user πŸ˜‰ ). My mom turned 60, so I surprised her on the morning of her birthday and spent a fun week in Germany.

April

Spring really started in April and brought beautiful weather and even more beautiful cherry blossoms which I enjoyed with friends at Gucun Park and during Thorben’s long birthday weekend. Work took me to Wuzhen Water Town, another amazing place in China. There was lots of great food as always, for example the dumplings we made at our friends’ house.

May

As usual, May was the best month of the year because it’s my birthday, which we celebrated with lots and lots of food (surprise) and great people πŸ™‚ Other highlights were my sister and Timo’s visit and a trip to Disneyland. I also started a new job in May and Thorben went on a trip to Thailand with his colleagues for their annual outing.

June

June was filled with travel: We took a trip to Kuching to celebrate Eid and see Orang Utans and I went on a business trip to Germany which I could combine with some belated birthday celebrations and a trip to the BUGA. I also said good bye to a friend with a fun food tour through Shanghai.

July

Work, dinners, brunches, birthdays, walks with Khan … July was a pretty normal Shanghai month for me. It was hot and humid, but not as bad as the 2017 summer. Thorben started a new role in July and went to Germany for business.

August

August continued with work and food and friends and fun πŸ™‚ I also tried crayfish for the first time and talked about it on TV. The month finished with restaurant week and a party at the W, neither of which I blogged about. Oops.

September

In September, I finally went to visit my sister and Timo in Singapore. We had lots of great food and I enjoyed their pool. Back in Shanghai, Jana came to visit and we did a tour of a chocolate factory and ate a lot.

October

Our Golden Week trip took us to Indonesia. A few days with Marlyn’s family in Jakarta and a week on Flores: we saw Komodo Dragons and other beautiful islands close to Labuan Bajo and explored traditional villages in Bajawa.

November

In November, I baked a lot of Christmas cookies, while Thorben was on another business trip in Germany. I took advantage of 11/11 to get started on my Christmas shopping, in preparation for the annual US trip. We spent Thanksgiving in Arizona, eating, shopping and having fun with my host family.

December

The biggest event of the year happened in December: I became an aunt! Christmas parties, cookies, dinners … December in Shanghai went by really fast and on the 19th we flew to Germany to celebrate Christmas, birthdays and spent time with friends and family.

DIY Food Tour

DIY Food Tour

We just got back from our Golden Week vacation a few days ago and I’m very behind with the blogging. Spoiler: We went to Indonesia and it was great! Before I get into it (still got lots of pictures to sort), I still have a couple little things to share from before our trip.

Marlyn and I had been wanting to recreate the food tour I did in June, and we decided it was time in the middle of September when it finally got a bit cooler. We met after work at the metro, booklet from the tour in hand and ready to eat our way through China and take selfies πŸ™‚

Stop 1 – Cantonese

Our personal food tour was off to a rocky start because the planned first stop, the Xi’An Burger, had been closed down πŸ™ It didn’t get much better at the second stop – a Cantonese restaurant. They had sold out of the barbecued pork, this dish I was most excited to eat again at that place. Fail. We tried duck instead, which was okay, but not nearly as good as the pork. The pineapple bun and a mango tapioca dish were good; those cheered us up again.

Since we met around 20 min before the food tour starts, we kept seeing one of their groups. They usually came into the restaurants when we had already started eating. We made sure to hide our booklet and pretended we were just in the know about local restaurants. Not sure we succeeded πŸ˜‰

Stop 2 – Ningbo

The second stop – the Ningbo place – was much better! We got my favorite 2 dishes from the tour, fava bean puree and crispy bamboo chips. Marlyn was skeptical at first, but came around after giving it a try. The beans really taste much better than they look!

Stop 3 – Sichuan

Third stop: Sichuan Noodles, no rabbit head this time πŸ™‚

Stop 4 – Shanghai

And finally, some xiaolongbao to finish the night.

Just as we were about to call it a night, we saw the guide again. He ducked into a small bakery, telling the group “I’m just gonna buy something for later”. So obviously we went in right after he left and requested 2 of whatever he bought … which gave us our dessert πŸ™‚

To anyone who wants try food from across China: Come visit and eat with us – Marlyn and I are ready!

China’s Crayfish Craze

China’s Crayfish Craze

It’s crayfish season in China, and everyone is loving it. Everyone now also includes me. Similar to hairy crab, crayfish are seasonal, messy to eat and pop up everywhere when in season.

I hadn’t really given them any thought, just that it looked like a lot of work to get to the meat. In June, Tim approached me, as a friend of his was planning to do a piece on crayfish. She wanted to have a foreigner to try it, so that’s how I ended up peeling, eating and talking about crayfish on camera, about 2 months ago.

In total, I was there for 3 hours of filming. First, we watched the chef prepare the food, then I got a briefing how to eat them, engaged in a 2 minute competition of who can peel the most and then finally got to taste them. Of course, I lost that competition, but it was fun and even though it was a lot of work, they were yummy! After we were done shooting, I got to eat another plate of them πŸ™‚ Here are some “behind the scenes” pictures:

If you want to know more about crayfish, and see me on camera for 2 minutes, you can watch the video below or read the article and see the clip here. I make an appearance at 3:27.

Also, I didn’t quit my day job, it’s also news to me that I’m a food blogger. Tim says that if it’s on TV, it must be true πŸ˜‰

A Shanghai Tourist Weekend

A Shanghai Tourist Weekend

Over the long weekend, my sister and her husband came to Shanghai. Now my whole family has been to Shanghai πŸ™‚

The weather was perfect, bright blue skies, 26 degrees and no humidity! That meant we spend a whole day exploring Shanghai on foot, with 27,852 steps to be exact. In the morning, we did a walking tour of the French Concession, including stops at Xintiandi, Fuxing Park and Tianzifang. Despite Thorben’s worries, I didn’t get everyone lost, we arrived at all the planned stops πŸ˜‰ And because the weather was so lovely, we also went to the Bund and Jing’An Temple in the afternoon.

The rest of their visit was more relaxed with brunches, a trip to the park, dinner and some shopping. Thanks for coming to visit and come back soon! πŸ™‚

Last night, we made dumplings

Last night, we made dumplings

We don’t only go to restaurants or order takeout … sometimes we also work hard for our food. Yesterday, we went to a friend’s house to make dumplings. April had already gotten the dough from the fresh market and prepared the filling before we arrived. I think the filling was made out of chicken, cabbage, spring onions, ginger and some spices.

So to be exact, we didn’t really make dumplings, just stuffed the filling into the wrappers πŸ™‚

My technique still needs some work, but we had fun and they tasted really good – both boiled and pan fried. Great Chinese-Malay-Luxembourgish-Canadian-German cooperation for sure!

Long Weekend Birthday fun

Long Weekend Birthday fun

Last Friday, it was Qingming Festival, which meant a 3 day weekend for us! This was the first time we stayed in Shanghai for a holiday, but we had just as much, or even more, fun. Sunday was Thorben’s birthday (32 – getting old πŸ˜‰ ) and we pretty much celebrated all weekend.

The weekend was off to a good start with “Social Retox after Dark” on Thursday night at the W. It’s a monthly night brunch they’re doing with free flow drinks. The food was delicious and it was a fun night.

Friday, we tried out a new spot for lunch and had yummy southeast Asian food and then checked out the largest Starbucks in the world, which opened in Shanghai a while ago. It’s huge and filled with tourists/people but it was still pretty cool to go see it once πŸ™‚

For the exercise part of the weekend, we helped 2 of our friends move that day and then had a poker night at our place. Saturday night, we went to “The Big Fat Sober Party” – a cool event with food, mocktails and stand up comedy.

For Thorben’s actual birthday on Sunday, we had a big brunch with almost 30 people and then enjoyed the great weather at a park – it was sunny and 28 degrees πŸ™‚

Overall, a fantastic, sunny, friend, food, and fun filled weekend!