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Home    China Travel Information   China Travel Guide Shanghai Travel Guide Shanghai Laowai Street (Hongmei Pedestrian Street)

China Travel Guide: Shanghai
Laowai Street
(Laowai Street 101, Hongmei Pedestriant St.)


Laowai Street 101, Shanghai

Hongmei Pedestrian Street has recently been re-named Laowaijie 101 (Foreigner's Street 101).

Zhang Wucai, the organizer of the re-naming program told the Global Times that laowai, a commonly used term for foreigners, shouldn't be seen as a negative word, despite the fact that some expats consider it to be one. "Shanghaiese people are open to laowai. We love the laowai in Shanghai, and it's a more brotherly way of calling expats," he said.

Despite the apparent lack of negative connotations and the assurance by Zhang that the name is "brotherly", locals may feel that naming a street laowaijie seems rather strange and outdated, harkening back to the 1980's when very few foreigners were living in Shanghai. Regardless of the name, the street continues to offer the kind of food and ambiance suitable for a romantic dinner or spending a lazy Sunday afternoon.

In addition to the new name, the street's organizers plan to emphasize the presence of foreign cultures on the street by inviting international bands and performers to dance and play instruments on the street. "We're inviting a Dutch band to perform folk songs and display art along the street on May 12," said Zhang. "We plan to do this very often to build Laowai 101 into a dining location with cultural exchanges and entertainment."
shanghai laowai street
Laowai Street 101, Shanghai

The 480-meter-long Laowai 101 boasts a number of reputable restaurants and bars from different countries. Since its grand opening eight years ago, the scope of its business has slowly grown to incorporate 6 Chinese restaurants and 23 Western style restaurants and bars. The following are some of its highlights:

Worldwide Breads
Bastiaan Bakery & Café provides fresh baked goods to a number of other well-known eateries and supermarkets with varying needs such as Latina, Parkson and Carrefour. That's why the variety of breads you find at Bastiaan Bakery & Café is extensive. Sixty different breads are produced on a daily basis.

Ingredients for its breads are sourced from all over the world: flour from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the USA; butter from France and Ireland; sugar from South Korea. As a result, eating at Bastiaan is like a miniature Laowai 101 in itself - you can get a taste of something from almost everywhere. Best of all, compared to other expat-oriented bakeries in Shanghai, these quality breads and desserts come at very reasonable prices.

An apple strudel is 9 yuan. A considerable portion, its combination of sweet and sour pairs well with coffee or afternoon tea. Most other breads and cakes can be had for under 10 yuan.

In addition, be sure to try some of Bastiaan's Dutch multi-cereal bread and its apple Danish with a filling of fresh apple, raisins and a touch of cinnamon. The chocolate croissant is also of note - a flakey, buttery pastry filled with a 55% French dark chocolate.
Shisha at Shiraz

Shiraz is the first Iranian restaurant in Shanghai. Named after Iran's ancient capital Shiraz, the layout of the restaurant makes you feel like you've actually arrived in Iran. Outside on the street, you also find seating of Iranian sofas suited for smoking shisha, a Middle Eastern water pipe filled with sweet, flavored tobacco.

For dining, the selection of saffron-scented stews and kebabs provides a number of hearty choices; however, meat dishes on the menu are fairly expensive. Expect to pay at least 150 per person.

No alcohol is served at Shiraz, although they do serve authentic and unique Iranian teas. If you want to drink alcohol with your meal, Shiraz permits non-Muslim foreigners to bring their own alcohol to drink from teapots.

Familiar flavors
Faith's Diner serves classic American comfort food. There's all day breakfasts of homemade waffles, bacon, eggs and sausages served with bottomless cups of coffee. Classics such as burgers and fries, meatloaf with mushroom gravy, and macaroni and cheese are also available.

The looming fence, flickering candlelight and leisurely music played at Simply Thai makes for a calm dining experience. The service and food quality here are consistent with what you'd find at other locations in this Shanghai chain.

Other familiar Shanghai chains on the street include: the rather expensive but tasty, Las Tapas; the sports bar stand-by, Big Bamboo; the Canadian bistro, Julie's; and family friendly Blue Frog.
(Source: Global Times, 2010)


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