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Lapis Thai at Tianzifang (Shanghai) March 30, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in China, Food, Reviews, Travel.
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Following on my previous post about the hip and trendy Tianzifang in Shanghai, this one is about the restaurant we visited for lunch.  There are literally dozens of restaurants at Tianzifang, and all of them look pretty darn good — from traditional Chinese to Italian to Japanese to Thai, you can be sure you’ll have a decent meal wherever you go.

On advice from my sister, we decided to go to Lapis Thai (Thai Cuisine and Lounge).  According to the business card it is only one of three stores in Shanghai, with a fourth one opening in April 2011.  From the outside it doesn’t look like much because all you can see is the bar, but all the seats are upstairs.

From the inside, with all its traditional wooden fittings, wine cabinets and cushions, Lapis Thai looks and feels like a relaxing place to be.  There are certainly lots of expats dining there, which could be an indication of the type of tastes the restaurant caters for.

Anyway, needless to say, we had a feast.  A huge feast. I know.  You want pictures?  I got pictures!

First, we got the assorted snack platter, which included shrimp cakes, spring rolls, fish cakes and satay sticks.  Very good, similar to the type of appetizer platter we get back in Sydney.

Second, green curry with beef.  Again, the type of stuff we can get at home, but this one dare I say was better than what I’ve had in Sydney.  This one was creamier, more flavoursome, and the beef was very tender.

Third, and I have to apologise for the blurry photo (darn camera couldn’t focus and I didn’t check), fried broccoli and yellow curry and coconut — this one was a highlight because I haven’t had anything like it before.  The curry was also creamy and fragrant, superb stuff.

Fourth, and sorry again for the photo, the spicy and sour pork neck salad.  Another highlight.  Tangy, with a terrific zing.

Fifth, sweet and sour chicken.  An oldie but a goodie.

Sixth, stir fried fat noodle with chicken.

And last but not lease, the sensational pineapple fried rice.

The verdict?  Excellent food with solid variety.  The flavours were on the strong side, especially the sweets and sours, but I like my flavours strong.  The prices are slightly dearer than your local Shanghainese restaurant, but still very affordable for the average tourist.  Definitely recommended for visitors to Tianzifang.

8.5 out of 10!

For more information, check out the Lapis Thai website here.  The Tianzifang store is located at No. 14, Lane 248 Tai Kang Road, Lu Wan District, Shanghai.  Other locations can be found on the website.

Tianzifang Outlet in Shanghai rocks! March 28, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in China, Travel.
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One of the wider alleyways of Tianzifang

Shanghai is a city where it feels like there are an unlimited number of places to go, sites to see, stores to shop, restaurants to eat.  So if you’re short on time, one place I would definitely recommend is Tianzifang outlet.

Sure, it’s kind of a touristy place, but it has all the things you would want — culture, quality restaurants and unique shops.  You can easily spend a lazy morning or afternoon there, wandering the pedestrian-only narrow alleys that remind me of those old Chinese streets you see in movies.  The place is set up like a little maze of these alleyways, each lined with shops and tasty restaurants with a variety of cuisines on both sides.

The Chinese characters say 'Tianzifang'

Some of these tiny shops sell interesting things, stuff you wouldn’t usually find elsewhere.  Intricately made wallets and bags, hilarious Chinese communist propaganda goods, schmick household items and everything in between.  Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s cool just to take a look around.

But I did buy something.  A samurai sword umbrella.  Check it out.  Pretty cool, huh?  It was a bitch to bring it back though — had people asking to check it every couple of steps!

I also had lunch there at a nice Thai joint.  Post coming shortly.

By the way, I bumped into a friend and former work colleague while I was there.  We used to work in the same team, and he sat in the office next to mine before he moved to Hong Kong for the big bucks.  We caught up when we were both in Taiwan on holidays at the same time and also when I went to HK last year (after India).  But this meeting was completely coincidental.  He was there sightseeing for the weekend  Talk about a small world, huh?

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