Category | Silliness

Shanghai’s Michelin Starred Restaurants: The Bespoke Verdict

Michelin rolled into Shanghai back in September, sprinkling the city’s dining establishments with stars and kicking up controversy in the process. While many heavy hitters such as Ultraviolent and Otto e Mezzo Bombana picked up well-deserved stars, others were awarded to utterly obscure places or mediocre mall-based dim sum spots. Social media buzzed with rage.  What that devil was going on? Had Michelin’s inspectors unearthed culinary treasures that lay hidden from us all these years? Or had the brand lost its touch – or worse? Bespoke sent in a crack team of foodies and journalists to investigate. Yes, yes it’s a tough job but…

 Canton 8 (2 Michelin Stars)

Canton 8 Michelin Star Mysery

Need to Know: Low key, midrange Cantonese restaurant on the fringes of downtown.
Michelin Says:  “The experienced owner of this popular local restaurant aims to provide quality dim sum and Cantonese cuisine at affordable prices. The cheapest 2 Michelin Star restaurant in the world.”
Bespoke Says: Seriously tasty! Most of the dishes here were winners. We especially loved the crispy changfen stuffed with youtiao and shrimp and the beautifully fresh char siu bao. A tasty take on Sweet and Sour Pork saw the usual pineapple switched out with strawberries and longan. Coming in at around 150RMB per person, Canton 8 offers great bang for your buck, but those 2 Michelin Stars weigh heavily on expectations. While we’ll definitely be back soon, it’s hard to see how a place like this deserves the same number of stars as the epic dining experience at Ultraviolet. Bespoke’s top tip? Go during weekday lunch to avoid the lines. The owner hasn’t answered the restaurant’s phone since the Michelin story broke…

 Sir Elly’s (1 Michelin Star)

Sir Elly's Peninsula Michelin Star


It’s Gone Viral! Bespoke’s Exclusive Shanghai Tower Preview Tour

Ninja cat, surfboarding dog, Donald Trump memes… They all went viral. And now, ladies and gentlemen, we believe we might have created the first ever viral tour.

Shanghai Tower preview tour Bespoke Shanghai

Last month Bespoke was granted special advance access to the Shanghai Tower – the megatall skyscraper in Pudong made famous during its construction by these two nutters – and we offered to take you, our loyal readers, to the top before it opened to the public.

Little did Sam in our Shanghai office know that he’d created a monster – a tour so popular that he would be getting calls and emails all day every day for the next month from people far and wide.


Quirky Thrills Shanghai Style


This photo confirms that at least one person survived. Photo Credit: Sohu.

Is the Shanghai Tower a little bit too obvious for your taste? Thanks to a less than stringent attitude to health and safety, Shanghai has plenty more quirky, low key ways to get your pulse racing. Here are a handful of our favorites that you might not have tried yet.

Cannon-Fresh Popcorn

You might think of popcorn as a somewhat bland, low calorie snack. Fair enough but know this – in Shanghai’s it’s made on the street. In high pressure cannons. Each afternoon Mr. Du sits on Julu Road and fires up his ancient machine until it literally explodes, shaking houses and sending small children running each time a fresh batch is ready. A good way to get noticed, and a bargain at 5 RMB per bag.


Why bother with a microwave when you could simply make your popcorn in a medieval torture device? Photo Credit: China Daily.


8 Beijing Facts to Impress People With, Courtesy of Bespoke’s Expert Guides

The Temple of Heaven was made in America (sort of)

Temple of Heaven Beijing

Know that iconic main building in the Temple of Heaven? (aka the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests). Well it burned down in 1889 and the Qing government found themselves in a pickle: they couldn’t source the right-sized trees to fashion the enormous columns from. So – according to one story – Qing officials finally looked abroad and imported the timber from Oregon in the USA. Tiananmen used to have two Mao portraits on it

Mao's Portrait on Tiananmen

When Mao’s picture started hanging permanently on the gate at the start of the Cultural Revolution, his portrait was actually displayed on both sides, not just on the south side like today.


Test Your Beijing Winter Knowledge

Are you a fair weather friend? Or have you lived through Beijing in all seasons? Whether you’re a Newbie or an Old China Hand, take our One Minute Winter Quiz to test your knowledge – then challenge your friends! Email us your answers for the chance to win a prize. We’ll announce the winners on Facebook in January (and let the losers down gently…)

Beijing winter

1: Berry-tastic
What’s the Chinese name of the sweet winter snack that’s so typically ‘Beijing’ it dates back to the 13th century? Clue: one of the Emperor’s concubines was said to have been cured of her fever after eating ten of these before every meal. Word spread and the masses have been eating them on skewers ever since….

Beijing winter

Photo: Time Out


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