Now is the time to get out to enjoy life
After months at home, people have returned to work and hope to enjoy the beauty of summer. With most venues open again in Jiading District, there’s a great choice of places where you can have fun on your own or with the family.
As a national non-intangible heritage, Nanxiang Xiaolong is the name card of Jiading. Apart from traditional xiaolongbao with meat stuffing, those with yolk and malantou (kalimeris) stuffing have gained popularity in recent years.
Two sweet flavors — cocoa with mushrooms and banana stuffing — were promoted at the Nanxiang Guyi Garden Restaurant during the May Day holiday.
In the kitchen, cooks were busy mixing cocoa into flour, stirring and kneading them to make a dough. Mushrooms and fresh meat were added. After being steamed for five minutes, the cocoa-mushroom flavor was ready for customers.
A resident surnamed Li took her 5-year-old granddaughter to try out the new flavor. The little girl liked the one with cocoa and mushrooms the best.
“It tastes a little bit sweet. Combining with mushrooms is very special,” said Li.
Wang, another diner, also gave the creative flavor a thumbs-up.
The cocoa and mushroom variety has changed three times, from traditional white dough to green spinach dough and to brown cocoa this time, according to Chen Yihong, the seventh inheritor of the craft, who endeavors to try new elements while keeping the original taste.
“On one hand, the reason we promote dough with different colors is because it is hard to figure out which stuffing is inside if all the dough is white. On the other hand, we want to constantly bring forth new experiences for customers. Color, smell and taste are all vital.”
The xiaolongbao with spinach dough and mushroom stuffing didn’t sell well, so Chen wanted to figure out something new. Cocoa is similar in color to mushrooms, so he decided to use cocoa as one element.
“People may think that cocoa tastes bitter, but after combining with wheatmeal, customers smell the aroma instead. Children are big fans of the cocoa flavor,” said Chen.
Banana xiaolongbao is another new member of the family and the first with a fruit flavor. Except for traditional white flour, yellow pumpkin and green spinach juice are added to make a special three-color dough.
Chen said it wasn’t easy to put fruit into the dough. Different fruit, such as melons and apples, were tried but it was the banana stuffing that won the approval of cooks.
The dough displays three colors, yellow, green and white, standing for yellow peel, green leaves and white pulp, immediately catches the eye of customers.
Li Jiangang, the sixth inheritor, has led the team to develop new tastes since 2016.
“So far, we’ve developed 12 tastes, accounting for 40 percent of the sales from 10 percent in the past,” Li said. “We found that more youngsters become our customers, and the market is changing fast. So we have to combine tradition and innovation to gain favor with customers.”
Guyi Garden Restaurant
Address: 218 Huyi Highway
Wo Jia Cultural and Creative House
Covering an area of 600 square meters, the Wo Jia Cultural and Creative House opened to the public on May 8 in the Juyuan New Area. It is the first one in Jiading to combine cultural and creative products display and sale, guoxue (traditional Chinese studies) and aesthetics experience, project talks and a bookshop.
On the first floor are cultural and creative products with Shanghai Liberation elements. Products from world-renowned museums are also on display. A “life tree” stands in the center, while cute animals gather there.
A series of books from Artron Books on themes including art, parent and child, food and guoxue are on display along the corridor to the second floor. Residents can enjoy more than 20 activities including dongxiao (bamboo flute) playing, leather carving, tea art and wood cuts on the second floor.
Wo Jia Cultural and Creative House cooperates with over 70 museums, including the National Museum of China, China Arts Museum and the British Museum, and universities to promote art and parent-child activities, aiming to create a cultural gathering platform in the Yangtze River Delta region.
More activities, including cultural and creative products promotion and free arts and crafts experiences, will be launched in the future.
Wo Jia Cultural and Creative House
Address: 1052 Jialuo Highway
The crayfish season is arriving. You have probably tasted various flavors such as spicy, garlic or braised in soy sauce. But here in Jiading there is a place for fishing crayfish — the Huating Melon Themed Park.
It is well known for its various activities in different seasons and its pretty rural scenery.
There are some tips when fishing crayfish. First, you have to choose a leeward sunny position where crayfish prefer to gather. Be patient after casting your line into the pond and stay quiet. When a crayfish nibbles at the bait, lift your rod slowly and use a net to catch it quickly.
Huating Melon Themed Park
Address: 889 Wushuang Rd