Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel services provider (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals and products, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns. From delicious food to massages, and back to more food, these great benefits never fail to perk your attention, and perhaps your appetite too.... >>>Black sesame: Although it looks kind of strange, I will eat anything with this black paste inside it— bread, baozi, candy, anything. It tastes slightly sweet, nutty and earthy, and in the world of Chinese desserts, it runs circles around anything red bean.
Boba Milk Tea: Before coming to China, the idea of mixing something chewy at the bottom of your drink seemed a bit strange, but now I swear I’m addicted. Thankfully, in terms of proliferation, boba shops (i.e. Coco, Happy Lemon and Café 85) are like the Starbucks of China. They can be found on pretty much any street corner of Shanghai, ready and available to satisfy my random milk tea cravings. And with their constantly changing menus and options like Hazel-Walnut with Oatmeal and Chocolate Milk Tea with Pudding, it’s impossible to get bored. Repeat after me: Wo yao yi bei zhen zhu nai cha (我要一杯珍珠奶茶: I want one cup of Boba Milk Tea).
Pirated media: Questionably legal, but nevertheless appealing. Seriously, who can resist 12 rmb CDs and DVDs? Not to mention, the fabulous feature (and procrastination method) of Google Music, where thousands of songs are just waiting to be searched and downloaded?
Massage parlors: When an hour massage costs only 50 rmb, it’s amazing the excuses you can come up with to get a massage (“It’s nearly finals,” “Finals are over,” “I just spent 15 hours sitting on a train,” “I just spent 15 minutes doing nothing ...”). It may take a bit of discernment to choose a place that is clean and reputable, but with one or two local massage parlors lining every street block of Shanghai, there are plenty of options.
Baozi: As one of the few Chinese street foods that are neither fried, nor necessarily filled with meat, baozi is one of the main staples of my diet. For 1 rmb, you can get a steamy-hot bun stuffed with your choice of filling. My favorites include “cai bao - 菜包” (vegetables and tofu), “zhi ma bao - 芝麻包” (black sesame… see point one) and purple potato bao, which I don’t know the Chinese for, I just point to the sign.