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One City, Five Hours: Shanghai


Author Laurie Werner Illustration Oliver Jeffers

1 Start with Shanghai’s succulent signature pork and crab soup dumplings, xiaolong bao, at Din Tai Fung (South Block, Unit 11, House 6, Ln. 123 Xingye Rd.; www.dintaifung.com.tw). Use the tried- and-true technique: Nibble a small hole in the dumpling and suck out the broth before biting into it-but beware, it’s hot! (0:30)

2 Stroll into Xintiandi (www.xintiandi.com), where restored shikumen (stone gate) homes dating back to the 1860s now house chic restaurants and shops. Forget about the schlocky souvenirs, and buy something functional, like a contemporary teapot at Zen Lifestore or a handbag made from colorful sandbag cloth at Oshadai. (1:30)

3 Before leaving Xintiandi, peek into the Shikumen Open House Museum (25, Ln. 181, Taicang Rd.) to see a re-creation of what these cute houses looked like in the 1920s, complete with vintage sewing machines and magazines with Hollywood stars on the covers. (2:00)

4 For slightly more valuable (and older) Chinese artifacts, head over to People’s Square and the Shanghai Museum (201 Renmin Ave.; www.shanghaimuseum.net)-it’s the building that looks like a giant cooking pot. Inside, feel younger than ever as you browse the 120,000 antiquities. (3:00)

5 Return to the present day and rest your eyes on something pink at the mind-boggling six- floor extravaganza that is Barbie Shanghai (550 Central Huaihai Rd.; www.barbieshanghai.com), the world’s only store devoted entirely to the iconic doll. (3:20)

6 Stay with the kitschy theme and head to Dongtai Road (just off Xizang Rd.), a treasure trove of dinner plates, ceramic statues and furniture sets all branded with the faces of Chairman and Madam Mao, as well as other authentic Red paraphernalia. (3:45)

7 Go upscale on the city’s iconic riverfront promenade, The Bund. Peek inside the grand Victorian buildings to see impressive Art Deco interiors with slick modern updates. (4:15)

8 Before you head out, position yourself at the window of Vue Bar at Hyatt on the Bund (199 Huang Pu Rd.; www.shanghai.bund.hyatt.com). From here, drink in the complete panorama of this wonderful and bizarre city. When the colored spotlights come on at night, they’ll take your breath away. (5:00)

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