Century-old eateries blend old flavor with creative design
Shanghai's century-old eateries held a promotion event outside downtown office towers on Thursday to woo young white-collar consumers.
The promotion campaign featured about 30 well-known brands, many of them based in Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall. They include Shao Wan Sheng, a 170-year-old Shanghai company known for its pickled and liquor-saturated delicacies, Xing Hua Lou, the city's oldest Cantonese-style restaurant, Xian De Lai, known for its pork chop with rice cakes, and Caitongdetang, a traditional Chinese pharmacy dating back to the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The exhibition's first stop is at Yan'an Road E.'s Bund Center office building until Friday.
The state-owned Shanghai New World Group's wanghong, or online sensational products, include salted egg yolk and dried meat floss qingtuan (green dumplings are made of glutinous rice), the liquor-saturated rice pudding, and gaofang, a seasonal herbal paste tonic, from Caitongdetang.
Visitors can bake pork moon cakes, buy enamel jewelry, and get hand-made coffee at the site.
"The event has changed my perception of traditional brands, which have become fashionable, innovative and marketable," said Zhi Bingzhe, an accountant who works in the building.
Food firms have been collaborating with well-known brands or inviting young designers to create new items while preserving the original flavor. The goal is to increase the firm's impact among young clients by emphasizing the east-meets-west culture of Shanghai, according to Wei Xinlei, vice president of the group.
For example, the Cantonese restaurants Xing Hua Lou and Sunya have collaborated with major corporations such as Coca Cola, Nestle and Disney to develop creative food products.
Sanyang Food Store, which sells nanhuo, or southern Chinese delicacies, including dried, marinated and preserved meats, poultry, and shellfish, is inviting undergraduates from local institutions to design packaging and come up with slogans.
Shao Wan Sheng has collaborated with a new popular brand J9 to launch a liquor-infused coffee.
To prepare for the digital era, most conventional firms have developed e-commerce platforms. After 130 stores listed their items on the meal delivery platform Meituan, Xing Hua Lou's retail sales climbed by 40 percent this year. According to a company spokesperson, Internet products are routinely updated based on online purchases and consumer requests.