Here's life on the street in all its infinite variety
The earthly life is hidden in streetside stalls. Shopkeepers are just ordinary people. They live reasonably well in ordinary days. They like to arrange their daily life as neat as stitches. They are beaten by life like white iron, dazzled and bent down, but they still insist on their own. They are creators of life and witnesses of time and part of Jiading’s daily life.
Italian pizza and guotie
A food stall on Guyiyuan Road mainly sells pizza and guotie (pan-fried beef dumplings). The guotie are crispy at the bottom, tender and juicy inside. They are often sold out as soon as they come out of the oven.
The pizza here is so tasty that no one cares whether it is authentically Italian.
Auntie Wang, the shopkeeper, says proudly that her business has been running successfully for more than 20 years. No takeaway service here but only loyal customers who have frequented the food stall over the past decades.
Auntie Wang’s pizza and guotie are part of the childhood memories of many Nanxiang natives. Although some of them later moved to downtown Shanghai, when they come back to Nanxiang they come here to enjoy a taste of home.
Address: 630 Guyiyuan Rd
Qiaodong Sisters noodle shop
Two sisters came from Nantong in neighboring Jiangsu Province 30 years ago. They opened a noodle shop to the east of Puhuatang Bridge in Xuhang Town.
The shop selling wonton skin, dumpling skin and wet noodles is a favorite with locals. Pasta products are freshly made here every day using two dough-rolling machines. Their prices are a little bit higher than those at local supermarkets but they have won the hearts of local residents.
Address: 32 Caowang Rd
Dongming mutton in Jiangqiao Town has been made by the Zhu’s family for generations.
The sheep are raised on grass and ready for the pot at 1 year old for a ram and 2 years for a ewe.
They should be about 30 to 40 kilograms in weight. The sheep are killed in the afternoon in summer and in the morning in winter.
Controlling the heat is very important in cooking. Last but not the least is to add seasoning. When and what to add are kept secret.
The cooking skills of Jiangqiao mutton were included in Shanghai’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012.
Address: 730 Jingyuan Rd
A barber’s room at the intersection of Tongchuan Road and Jintang Road has a group of loyal fans. Auntie Qian opened the shop in 1997 and cut, groomed, styled or shaved customers’ hair and beards herself since then.
After a renovation in 2017, the barbershop moved from the first floor to the second.At present, only Auntie Qian runs the shop. Because she can’t deal with too many customers at the same time, customers need to make appointments in advance.
Address: 2255 Tongchuan Rd
Xiaofu Fruit Stall
Xiaofu Fruit Stall is owned by Xiaofu who launched his business, a street stall, opposite Jiading No. 2 High School in 1997. Two years later, Xiaofu moved his business indoor and opened his first shop. Fruits sold by Xiaofu are all fresh and juicy. His two brothers-in-law opened outlets on Nanhua Road and Minzhujie Street.
Xiaofu is very generous and never asks customers for small change. His dream is to expand the business further and further.
Address: 509 Dehua Rd
Weimin sewing shop
It is a small shop of 10 square meters, full of all kinds of fabrics. Chen Yixing, 67, has 48 years’ sewing experience. His Weimin sewing shop in Malu Town dates back 33 years. The main business of a sewing shop is sewing, mending and altering clothes for customers.
It has become a wanghong shop (a store popular online). Many young people found the address online and came in admiration.
In recent years, Chen has been busy from 6am to 8pm every day. At noon, his wife sends his lunch to the shop.
“Changing pant leg costs 5 yuan (71 US cents), while changing zipper costs 10 yuan. No matter how expensive the clothes is, the price is the same,” said Chen.
The clothes he has altered included a dress worth several thousand yuan and a pair of pajamas worth 10 yuan.
Sitting in front of a sewing machine all year round has led to deformation of his lumbar spine, making it difficult for him to walk. But Chen still couldn’t put down his work.
“It’s not that I can’t put down my business, but I just like to do it.”
Address: 52 Yugui Rd
A tinsmith’s at 23 Dabei Street in Loutang Town is owned by Tang Junchang.
In the 50-square-meter shop Tang’s works are everywhere. From a seasoning box, spatula and garbage can for home use, to an air duct and sink for enterprises, there are all kinds of handmade tin products.
At the age of 14, Tang began to learn various blacksmith skills. At that time, he mainly repaired agricultural utensils such as aluminum pots, water buckets and medicine dispensers for villagers.
Later, because of his exquisite craftsmanship, he helped many enterprises in metalworking. When Shanghai Volkswagen first produced the Santana, he made the first batch of wheel hub models for the company.
Tang also customized metal tools for his neighbors, such as left-handed planes and detachable chopstick cages. His fame spread and customers came from all over the world, buying Tang’s white iron products and taking them abroad as gifts for relatives and friends.
Address: 23 Dabei Street
Shijia optical shop
A 28-year-old optical shop on Laobei Street in Waigang Town provides a watch repair service and key duplication.
The shop has moved three times on the same street as its owner, Jiang, was afraid of losing his old customers.
When the business is not busy, Jiang repairs watches or makes keys for his old customers.
“They are too old and many are with mobility issues. It is inconvenient for them to take a bus to downtown just for repairing watches.”
Sometimes Jiang will deliver watches to customers’ doorsteps after they are repaired.“Just for their convenience,” said Jiang.
Address: 31 Laobei Street
Chunfeng photography studio
A photo studio in Malu Town is where locals go for their ID photos. However, when it opened 26 years ago it focused on art photos. Its owner, Li Jinming, used to be the makeup artist, costume designer, lighting engineer and photographer.
Each art photo cost a customer 5 yuan. The 20-square-meter studio was always overcrowded with young people after work. Li often worked till midnight.
With the popularity of digital cameras and smartphones, Li switched his business to ID photos. “As long as I’m taking ID photos, the studio is always the first choice for locals. The price has not changed for 10 years, 20 yuan for eight pieces is quite affordable.”
Address: 103 Yulan Rd