This is what I have been eating for breakfast every morning. Egg fried rice with preserved mui-choy. There were plenty of other choices in the buffet spread, but I really liked the spicy and mildly salty taste of the preserved vegetables.
We ate quite a few meals in the hotel coffeehouse since that was what the organisers arranged. Trouble was, the buffet spread remained the same so it got extremely monotonous after about the 3rd meal (excluding breakfast). Colleague was approached by the resident manager for comment, and she told him she was sick of the food. The manager, who happened to be from Singapore, was quite efficient because there were new dishes served at lunch the next day.
My gripe with the hotel was not food-related. In fact, the South Vernal restaurant at the second floor serves excellent and very refined Shanghainese dishes- our simple dinner of dumplings and cucumbers in garlic sauce turned out to be the best meal of our trip. Anyways, it seems that the city has a considerable power supply problem. At least 2 power outages happen every day; the hotel generator then kicks in but the aircon is not turned on for at least 30 minutes after each outage. It being high summer does not really help either.
After three days of lamb and more lamb, the tastebuds hankered for something a little more fresh-tasting. Not knowing where to go, we decided to explore the area around Parkson's for a change. Parkson's did not have any restaurants so we crossed the road and found ourselves in a five storey building that is made up of eating outlets. Settled into a restaurant on the second floor. Cool strips of julienned celery tossed with dried shrimps and a cold soup of snow fungus and red dates were just the thing in the hot weather.
But the ugly pumpkin eight treasure rice was plain awful- the syrup reminded me of the rice glue that kids play with in kindergarden, well at least kids of my generation. A more elegant and far tastier version can be found at the South Vernal at our hotel- the syrup light, the toppings of quality red dates, fruits and nuts very flavourful and a smooth layer of red bean paste in the middle a delightful surprise find.
Above: a group of men studying the lucky draw analysis at Parkson's.
Some street scenes below. The round bread is called nang and is cooked in the tandoori-like oven all over the city. Fruits are plentiful, girls eat watermelons by cutting it in half and scooping the contents into their mouths directly.
Pink popcorn and toy cakes seem to be the thing here too: