Shanghai for me changed a lot this time. Perhaps because for the first time, I got a really good sense of what it's like to live there.
The food was amazing, as always. A few vegetables were in season, so we had a lot of greens that you can't find anywhere else. A trend is spicy dishes, which was an interesting take on local ingredients. Dinner at my uncle's place was memorable, as it always is. A mark of a true chef is when you can take the same ingredient, prepare it two seperate ways, and yet express the inherent qualities in each.
I drank a lot of Chinese red wine. Allegedly, they're 100% grown and produced in China. And they were awful. Obviously manipulated to remove all traces of tannins and structure. Hideous use of oak chips and staves in place of barrels. Just an artificial tasting product, something which deserves to be poured down the drain. But in a country where tolerance for alcohol commands a higher level of respect than an appreciation for it, who gives a shit?
I am shocked by some of the things that I saw. I love Shanghai dearly - it's my hometown, I'm 100% authentic Shanghainese. The majority of my extended family is there. But I don't think I could ever live or work there.