Monthly Archives: December 2008

Sanxian Hero (三弦)

During my last trip to Beijing I was walking the back streets of the city in search of something more authentic than Chinese students wanting me to buy their artwork. Walking the twisted lane ways I ran into a gentleman playing this plucking instrument which looked like an oversize bass but sounded a little like a Banjo. With my wee bit of Chinese I conversed with him a little and he showed me inside his house and was keen to show off the instruments he could play. From what I could understand from the conversation his Baba (father) was a performer and he learnt the ways of the musical force from an early age.

After the trip I did a bit of Googling and found out the instrument is called a Sanxian(三弦). I won’t bore you with the details on this blog because that’s what Wikipedia is for.

So, without further ado, here is the first of 3 videos I took with my point and shoot camera. It’s not the best quality but worth sharing:

Homes Shanghainese Restaurant

Homes was the first Shanghainese restaurant I visited when arriving off the boat. After eating their delicious local food, especially the pork in brown sauce, I was hooked. The sad truth was that at the time I had no idea what side of the city I was in or where Homes was located.

By good fortune we accidently rediscovered Homes (right near where we live) on Julu Lu near Fumin Lu. The delicious pork was just as good as I remembered. Here’s a visual taste of what to expect:

Pork dish from Homes

Pork for Homes

What: Homes Shanghainese restaurant
Where: Julu Lu near Fumin Lu in the Former French Concession
Eat:Pork, Shrimp, and Hairy Crabs are a specialty.
How Much: 20-60RMB per dish. More for out of season ingredients and rare ingredients you probably shouldn’t eat.

Past and present: Huangpu Park

Huangpu Park located at the northern end of the Bund is a small green area with a colourful past. In the ye olde racist days the foreign powers that ran Shanghai excluded Chinese from entering the Park. Here is the official sign that was once at the gate:


In the kung foo movie “Fist of Fury”, based in Shanghai, Bruce Lee gets angry about not being able to enter the park and kicks a sign to bits which read “No Chinese, or dogs allowed”. Kicking the arse of a few Japanese guys in the process has made this scene one of Bruce Lee’s most famous. This scene is definitely a Twisted Sister, “We’re not gonna take it”, moment.

Today, the park is filled with locals practicing Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Badminton, playing chess, and generally chilling out from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. Fittingly, there’s also a monument commemorating those who have freed China from foreigners and the Bund Historical Museum depicting the history (without Bruce Lee) and pictures from yesteryear.

Here’s a picture I took this morning at the park’s gates: