Friday, August 13, 2010

Pigging out @ Shanghai Expo

En-route to Ningbo, I decided to stop by Shanghai for a day to visit the Expo. Before I start blogging about my eats around the Expo let me share my one day experience with anyone that are planning to go to the Expo.

Pavilion: Columbia
Pavilion: Algeria

Listening to my Hotel's Concierge I purchased the expo ticket (RMB 180) in my Hotel to avoid the long lineup at the Expo and had the Cab drop me off at “Gate 8” (North American Side). Listening to the concierge paid definitely paid off as it only took me around 20 minutes to get inside the Expo.

Pavilion: Sweden
On top the Swedish Pavilion

Entering the Expo you will first notice how massive the place is and long the queues are for certain countries. There are over 180 countries on show and they are split between their respective continents. Countries that drew ridiculous lineups, which I avoided, were China (supposedly 5 hours), Germany, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Canada and USA all requiring a good couple of hours.

Pavilion: USA
Pavilion: Latvia

If you are going to wait for the countries above I suggest doing it in the evening. The queues are just as long anytime of the day so you might as well wait when the weather gets cooler.

Pavilion: Libya

Some Pavilions allow for advance reservations and the Chinese Pavilion requires an admission ticket which you have to queue up to obtain in addition to queuing up to enter. The day I went the admission tickets were supposedly gone by 9am. This was what I heard but don’t take my word for it as I avoided the Chinese Pavilion.

Pavilion: Nigeria

Purchase yourself an “Expo Passport” so you could get a stamp for every pavilion you visited. As cheesy as it may sound, I strongly recommend you do this for the following reasons. First the stamps are free and the queues are short. Second if you have spent hours in the sweltering heat waiting in line, this book is a testament for your hard work. Third if you’re like Robbie who lives in Shanghai, it can turn out to be a fun competition of comparing who’s got more stamps.

Pavilion: Tunisia

Last but not least, if you are on a short trip like me you might want to follow my plan of visiting the countries with a fast moving or short queue. Not all short queue Pavilions mean it is bad. Some queues are short simply because it is a country that most of the local Chinese visitors (90% of the visitors) are not familiar with.
In my opinion it would take at a good 3 to 4 days to finish the Expo.


Initially I wasn’t expecting much when it comes to food but I was wrong. Most of the Pavilions I visited had a cafe or bar offering some of their local cuisine for visitors to sample.

Peru: Warm Prawn Ceviche
Peru: Warm Prawn Ceviche
The Prawns were lightly poached and was marinated in a lime dressing and red onions. The Yellow Sweet Potato was also quite good and so was the corn.

Ecuador: Beef Skewers
Ecuador: Beef Skewers
The Beef Skewer was surprisingly good. It was tender, nicely seasoned and had a hint of lemon.

Chile: Seafood Empanada, Seafood Anticucho and Fish Churrasco
Chile: Seafood Empanada, Seafood Anticucho and Fish Churrasco
The best value of all the food we had. The Fish Churrasco was served warm and was quite good. The Seafood Anticucho on the other hand was a little too dry and overcooked.

Venezuala: Chicken Rellenos
Venezuala: Chicken Rellenos
This is my first Rellenos and it wasn't bad. The bun's were actually made from grits that were packed tightly together. The chicken meat came from Roast Chicken and was pan-fried with some spices.

Tunisia: Tunisian Frittata
Tunisian Frittata
The Frittata was cold and dry. It wasn't fluffy and was tasteless.

These were the foods I managed to sample while I was there. I definitely wished I had more time to visit all the pavilions and sample more food, but sadly it wasn't possible this trip. Anyone visiting or living in Shanghai should definitely visit the Expo as it definitely gives you a glimpse of what other countries has to offer. In my case, Chile is on my wish list of countries to visit!

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