It’s Easter at the moment back in the UK, well I think anywhere remotely Western, and although there are celebrations happening here in Shanghai (fiercely overpriced party or brunch affairs by the way), it just doesn’t quite feel the same. I think this comes down to the fact that no one really embraces that holiday here…well obviously, I’m in China…and the fact that I grew up in a religious, Christian family (my father’s a Methodist minister if you didn’t already know), so this holiday was quite well marked as part of our family calendar…although it’s religious connotations to me are somewhat diminished. I usually send cards to friends and family but it just hasn’t happened this year and would probably cost me a small fortune…the instant wonder of sending emails doesn’t have quite the same sentiment in my mind. I’m a traditionalist in a writing sense…ink pen to paper…letter writing and notepad scrawls. The handwritten bears so much more power than the typed…not always though as it really does depend on what’s being said…but I suppose you see more of the personality of the person through writing…the emotion and feeling. I think I have quite a close relationship with the written word.
Anyway, on lunch today on what is “Good Friday”, I went on a hot cross bun hunt to no success…sad face Rachel…not even Marks and Spencer foodhall had them! And I thought I could rely on them…the hunt continues! I wonder if Baker & Spice or Sunflour would have them? I also refuse to buy myself an Easter egg as I’d usually get one as a standard token gift from my Mom (yes, I know I’m 28 years old)…so I’m egg-less too. I really didn’t think I’d miss these ritualisitic moments throughout the year, apart from Christmas which was, as expected, strange to be away from home but somehow a rather amazing experience. Pancake Day seemed to come and go without me noticing…but Easter…Easter’s different as it’s usually spent surrounded by family and friends over a four-day bank holiday weekend, no doubt indulging in a spring lamb Sunday dinner, hot cross buns, homemade Easter biscuits (I’ve got a recipe for these down to a tea now), too much chocolate…therefore far too much food. I love the smell of mixed spice which rules this holiday (closing my eyes and pretending…imagining).
So I thought I’d share with you some of my recent eats seeing as I can’t get some of my favourites from back home. From Chinese vegetables at Noodle Bull post-work with Lisa Juen…Turkish, pumpkin and smoked salmon salads, and leek and potato soup from Baker & Spice and Wagas, working lunches to get me through the teaching day…Eggs Benedict brunch at KABB with TXNY on the first truly sunny Shanghai Sunday, seriously I recommend this place, one of the best Shanghai brunches I’ve had as those eggs were GOOD…I swear I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day, morning, noon and night…a thin crust tomato-free (yey!) zucchini pizza and tuna pasta from La Strada…fruit salad-yoghurt-honey-muesli Monday brunch at Kommune with sunshine smiles, tired eyes and tired ballet legs…an immense amount of homemade tuna/pan-fried fish/egg/cucumber/carrot sushi made by the wonderful Lisa Juen which was the best tired Monday evening holiday food, I love sushi…a traditional Qingming festival treat called qingtuan (青团) given to me to try by my friend Effy when we were hungry on the subway, which are very tasty green rice balls stuffed with sweet red bean paste…and finally Springtime-lunchtime dim sum with my favourite custard filled buns called nǎi huáng bāo or lai wong bao (奶黄包). I’m certainly sticking to my new years resolution of eating well or at least eating colourfully (is that even a word?). I love good food…fuel for the body and mind and definitely creativity in its own right. Wishing you all a HAPPY EASTER wherever you are in the world.