Shanghai: Modern, trendy, sophisticated. It’s a description that makes for a luxurious getaway from smaller Chinese cities. It’s a place where you can pick out avant garde ensembles at Fei Space boutique, show off your moves and bespoke shades at a high-end nightclub and pay 2,000 RMB for a 20 course sensory-filled meal at Ultraviolet.
And get fish slapped to bring you back to reality.
Next time you’re strutting down the clean, quaint alleyways of Xintiandi or the French Concession, duck down a smaller road and rough it up a bit. Here, you’ll find a vibrant port culture filled with mahjong fanatics, abandoned footwear and former sea dwellers line drying at eye-level among the unmentionables. It’s this day-to-day spirit, hidden in the crevices between the flashy nightlife and shopping districts, that set Shanghai apart from its big city counterparts in the West.