Shanghai, with its 24 millions inhabitants, is the most greedy city in the world! and I am here to understand if also food can make us happy i will ask exactly to someone who tastes food for work: a food writer Hello! Hello Cat! All good? Yeah, going well! I am so bumped up about the day ahead us! So what’s the plan today? I really wanna live a day like a food writer! So we’re gonna go to a few street food stops And check them out for an article that I’m writing and then we’ll go to a restaurant that I’m also checking out so we have to be a little bit discreet for that I am also gonna get a bunch of different local … at these places and Chinese food Wow! Look at that! Yeah, so this is a steamed bun like Baozi Is this breakfast for them? Yes. This is breakfast You speak Chinese eh! Hahaha! It’s okay! It could be way better! These too? Yes those are tea eggs Wow! All right, I just got a few snacks So this is the egg… tea egg Basically these tea eggs are always sitting in one of those rice cook ers in a bunch of liquid and then people just get them as a snack Half, half! First time for me! This is a Baozi, which is basically just like a steamed bun and then they put different fillings in them So this one is vegetarian. So it’s just greens and tofu and a little bit of mushroom This one probably won’t break super well because it has a bunch of meat in the middle and it’s really juicy. So there’s a lot Almost … though. It’s been a little bit absorbed Baozi The Chinese breakfast, this is the classic! This is like a classic Chinese breakfast and pretty much all over China I mean regionally, it does differ some but you can get in Beijing, Shanghai, all over I love it because the bun is sweet But then they are filled, they are stuffed with salty things. And, really good! Did you get used to this breakfast? Yeah, I mean, I think probably when I moved to China ten years ago I ate a lot of this breakfast Now probably I eat more like yogurt and that sort of thing, just in the comfort of my house But yeah Chinese breakfast is awesome! Because we just started and we started strong! I’m ready for anything because I didn’t eat since yesterday night So I wanted to impress you I wanted to be ready to try everything What’s the name of those? “Guōtiē” which means: pot sticker essentially so they are dumplings that have been fried on the bottom You always stay with the phone? Yeah, pretty much. I don’t even carry a wallet anymore But how does it work? There’s basically a super app called “Wechat”” It’s like social media and payment and your entire life pretty much all rolled into one you scan the QR code and then you pay Some places don’t accept cash anymore Right over there How do you call it? kuàizi so chopsticks And then you can put the vinegar and you can also take the chili if you want Okay. So this is not soy sauce? No. This should be vinegar Okay. They don’t use soy sauce? You do use soy sauce but not for this So if you do want chili is right there I don’t know! Like at 9:00 a.m.! I’ll do it, I’ll do it! Do it! Do it! I don’t know! If it’s the classic thing I’ll do it I feel like in one of those Netflix tv series where you try everything Okay, so be really careful, because these ones, they put a little bit of soup in it You need to bite a little bit and then suck out the soup Otherwise, you’re gonna burn your mouth So how many things do you try? In a day? For efficiency I try to put all of my tastings and that sort of things in one day if possible So I visit a bunch of different places and then the next day, you know, I stay home and write about it Uuuuh you were right! Yeah it’s really hot! I’m hungry today! Here is the most common thing, is that people burn their mouth It is so delicious they you want to eat it, but you have to try to be patient How is it? Rate? 1 to 10? I think it’s a 9 to 10 out of 10 I think a lot of times the basic street food is kind of the best What do you think? Out of 10? It’s actually really really good! One of the best I have ever tried! Yeah! It’s really good! Crunchy on the base, and juicy. Really, really good! Am I right or they put garlic everywhere? Yeah, I mean they do it a lot of garlic In the North of China you’d eat dumplings, just boiled dumplings and they have just a basket of raw garlic cloves and people would just eat it so they dip it in vinegar, eat the dumpling and then eat a bite of raw garlic which is very intense! It’s healthy, but not very social! For your job you have to review restaurants, but you also have to review hotels, right? Yeah I do some hotels too Okay, so can we say that for leaving you have to eat and you have to sleep yes exactly It sounds like the dream job for everyone, but I want to know the truth I want to know: is it that good for real? Or there is also like a down part? I mean, it is great and I feel super lucky, but is definitely… it is work! when, you know, you’re going to write a review or you’re going to the restaurant to try it or you’re putting together a roundup of different places people should go in Shanghai or staying over at the hotel yes, it’s wonderful, but it also is a job and you have to be, you know, constantly on your game and taking notes and thinking about what you think would improve the experience and be really critical so you can’t just sort of sit back and enjoy it you have to be always focused about your taste, your feelings yeah, exactly you always have like a critic’s hat on I mean you cannot complain but still I understand. It’s a job. It’s a real job I think a lot of people say this when they have to say like “eat for work” but you eat a lot of bad things too right? it’s not just like everything is wonderful What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you? Anything hat was truly horrible I probably repressed! I mean, like a couple months ago I had to go to review a new restaurant and I found like a worm in the salad Lots of protein! Well, I mean, it was fine. I am pretty chill! I don’t mind eating insects actually, but definitely it wasn’t supposed to be there if we were just normal customers, we probably would have put it to the side but if you’re reviewing a place you kind of have to note that and see how the server is going to respond to it So we took it out and we showed the server. She offered to change it. Then I think we probably really surprised her because we were like: “no, no, it’s fine! We can still eat this!” And she was like: “Then why did you show me the worm?” But then yet to review it But then we had to review it And for that I think it’s a little bit tricky! Because that’s one of those things where yes, that happened once, you know but maybe we would have gone like four more times and there never would have been a worm So then what do you do in that situation? Yeah, what do you do? So in that actually I didn’t end up mentioning it. There were other more major issues about the food that I didn’t think were as good. Let’s try this! This is a … It’s like a breakfast crepes Boom! Paid! How much was it? This was 6.. Less than $1 Pretty much, yeah! I don’t understand the meaning of all the things inside I’m starting to feel full! How much do you eat? It really depends. I think it’s a little bit feast or famine Like some days I have to eat five meals, more than five meals. I’ll have two dinners three dinners in a row Really? Occasionally! It is an exception, but it happened and then other days, like after a day like that, I probably don’t feel like eating for another 24 hours That’s really good actually! I changed my mind, it’s really good! This I’m definitely not reviewing. This is just like a typical what we call a wet market So it’s like a Chinese vegetable market and they also do fish and meat and that sort of thing But I just wanna to show you because you’ll get a look at some cool Chinese vegetables, some tofu products and all of that Here we have a whole variety That looks like pig Here we have duck I believe. So there’s roast ups and prepared meat And I see some chicken feet over there that I think we should try And also some pig ears down there. I don’t think I’m gonna like it. But I promised you that I would have tried anything so I’m gonna try it! I mean one was enough! Oh man. I’m so scared. What are you ordering? Pig ears! Pig ears!! So if you are really a pro, you can eat this very elegantly. Which I definitely am! I don’t know why I feel like I have to do it because I shouldn’t! But MAMMA MIA! It’s a foot! Mmmmmm What do you think? Delicious? So tasty! So good! The taste is garlic! Like completely! It’s full of garlic! What’s the weirdest thing you ever tried in your life? I keep burping… A lot of the things that are considered delicacies, I am just not that into like bird’s nest , which is essentially bird’s spit or like sea cucumber basically just sort of like slums with spiny slugs which is just something that I wouldn’t pay a premium price for and, well, that happens here pig ears! alright! so here we go, pig ears you go first! they’ve also toasted with some … and peanuts and garlic There are so many things so much garlic They don’t even… I’ll try another one Okay, the taste is good, the taste is okay! The only thing is that I know that these are ears so I’m a little bit… lot of garlic eh! I think the most of the times is psychological If you tell me: “this is tofu, this is crunchy tofu, made in…” I would have loved it! But no What is that? Garlic! Yeah, I’m thinking I keep burping the garlic since this morning We started at 9:00 a.m. to eat garlic and now now I’m gonna take you actually just down the street and we’ll go to a dumpling restaurant which is like iconic cuisine No garlic, please! No garlic! There will be vinegar Vinegar? Maybe it’s gonna help! Maybe a tiny bit of garlic Wow We’re about to go into … mall place Just do be a little bit discreet. So then they don’t know This is hot water? This is hot water, yeah, so that’s pretty like typical in China That’s basically just everyone drinks hot water cause there are like traditional Chinese medicine thinking that anything cold is not supposed to be good for you So let’s drink a lot of hot water! It was just the shock for me when I arrived here because I asked for water and they brought me hot water I was like: why? Like I don’t want hot water! For me It’s so weird! And everytime I go to restaurants they bring me hot water These are called Shaolin bow, which basically is a soup dumpling like little dragon dumpling So these are really typical of Shanghai Enjoy! How do you say enjoy in Chinese? You would say like man-mantra which means like “eat slowly” Cat, do you think the food can make you happy? Oh yeah! Yeah, it can definitely make you happy! Things that makes me the most happy is when it’s surprising like I mean I like comfort food and that sort of thing of course and things that remind me of childhood, but for me I think food is really exciting when it’s new and when you taste something that maybe you never thought could ever exist And that surprise is really a joy! A joyful thing I think and it brings a smile to my face Cat, how is it? This place is probably like a… I think it’s like a 6 or a 7 Don’t worry guys! We’ll keep in consideration also the service, the ambience Don’t worry, don’t worry! We just started Mmmmm, wow! Well, to me it is much more than a six! All the things that we tried today, apart from the chicken feet, they were amazing! Like they were the best I’ve ever tried so far in Chin! What is the recipe of happiness for Cat Nelson? A professor of mine once said that happiness is a transitory state, right? You can’t constantly be happy! Happiness is moving from being less satisfied or less happy to then increasing It’s not something that will last forever So I think that remembering how lucky you are, which is for a lot of us very very lucky, globally And in your mind then you can sort of make that transition to being happy Like: “Oh things could be so much worse!” And it’s easy to get absorbed in your own little world but being able to sort of zoom out from that and realize where you are and what your privileges are I think it’s really important Now that we have spoken about happiness What’s the review about this restaurant? Let me know I mean, I’m quite happy here right now. I think it’s pretty good! Bye! It was nice to meet you! See you! Ciao Cat! Bye! Bye bye! Cat? Today I understood two things: The first is that life is a bit like food If you always eat the same, sooner or later you will get bored But if you open yourself to all the flavors of the world, without the fear of tasting them maybe you are lucky enough to find the dish that makes you really really happy! The second is that: I can’t digest garlic very well!