Posted in Anecdotes

The Shanghai Restaurant

“Where shall we eat today? I don’t want to go to the mess, it’s chappathi today and it is usually awful” I tell my friend N.

“Let’s go to Shanghai.” He says.

I was bewildered “Shanghai?”.

“There is this restaurant opposite to IIT. It tastes great and it is cheap too”

I liked the idea of a restaurant named Shanghai and walked on. I had never been to that restaurant and I was starting to imagine what they could be serving. A chinese place so definitely they ought to have great soups and manchurians. I will have chicken manchurian, yes definitely I thought so. Manchurians make my mouth water. I will probably start with a Hot and sour veg soup, it will be an absolute blast (atleast in the morning!). Veg Fried rice or an egg fried rice. I had almost decided what i was going to eat within the next 15 steps we took.

As we walk out of our rooms and go down to the door, we meet another of our friends S. We tell S that we are going to a place called Shanghai for our dinner. S wants to join and we agree.

Me, N and S walk out of our hostel block and take the shortcut route passing by the LH (Ladies Hostel, and really it was a shortcut ok!).

I hope I can afford it though. I had 50 Rupees and I was hoping I can have the above listed items within my budget. Even if it costed 10 Rupees for the Soup, 15 for Manchurian and 15 for the rice I would be left with 10 extra rupees for a juice later or some other snack, assuming inflation doesn’t work in one night. I didn’t care to ask my friend what’s the price though as he already said it was cheap and I went on to set my own prices on the dishes. May be I can share the manchurian or the rice with my friend if it is not within the limit, or just open an account (a debt account which gets accumulated like the mortgage loans and then a bailout is done by opening account with another friend, who gets into a gutter after you borrow from him too much in which case you repeat the bailout again with a third friend. Bottomline, you need to have a lot of friends and make sure you don’t become a borrowee) with my friend.

On the way somewhere between our block and LH, A and J watch us walk and decide to join us for the dinner. I guess they knew about Shanghai already as they said “Oh! “Shanghai”ya? we will also come then!” That’s all the friends who came to Shanghai that day. Don’t worry I wasn’t planning to introduce all the alphabets as my friends.

The walk is a bit long and it felt longer as I imagined more about how this new place will be. Will it be a decent place? Clean tables, chairs, ambience? I was wondering! Nah, I thought! If it is cheap then it could be a little dirty. Atleast they would have clean plates, I hope. May be the place will have figures (good looking gals). Yes, it is all about figures. Any place you go you have to have figures for that place to be called as the “Happening” place. Otherwise it will be deemed boring or called a museum. In those years the only thing we did was figure watching, even if we were bored of figure watching we kill the boredom by figure watching. Too bad we couldn’t proceed beyond watching.

Picture: Chicken Manchurian – http://www.instructables.com

              Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – http://www.askmen.com

Me, N, S, A and J all walk together chit chatting and then we take another short cut through the sidewalk and jump over the compound wall to reach the main road.

My friend says “Ah, he is there today! good!”

It was a small hand driven push cart. A smell of steaming rice and frying pan with oily substances tore open our nostrils. The cart had a top cover and a name plate that read “Shanghai Restaurant”.

It was a WTF moment for me. All the while I kept imagining how great this place could be and walked with all the enthusiasm of avoiding the dreaded Chappathi in the mess and here I am standing before a push cart that served Fried rice for 8 rupees. There was no soup or manchurian but only fried items. Everything was fried, fried rice, fried chicken, fried everything. Figures? The only figure standing was a long pole with a poster of a political party stuck around it. You had all the ambience on earth, yes it was open air and you could hear the natural sounds of cars, bikes and Pallavan Buses. Note, no chairs, no stools, er where do we sit? the compound wall. We climb on top of it and he comes to us serving hot fried rice. Irony was staring at my face real hard and slapping me left right top and bottom and laughing at me so hard that I could hear it snort, belch and fart all at the same time. Mr. Irony had his day that day!

It was like you were taken up to an altitude of about 100 feet and let go for a free fall. In the end, no complaints though as the food was tasty. Shanghai lasted for a while and then it wasn’t seen around at all and we completely forgot about that little push cart restaurant.

Advertisements

Author:

I am a Software Engineer by profession. My interests are in Computers, Science, Technology, Movies, Music, Photography and Writing. I love to do a lot of things, but am still searching for the ultimate thing that I can love to do. You will find here all the volcanic outbursts of my creative side as I explore the world through my perspective. Well, mainly fun, what's world without any fun!

29 thoughts on “The Shanghai Restaurant

  1. LOl ..
    Irony was staring at my face real hard and slapping me left right top and bottom and laughing at me so hard that I could hear it snort, belch and fart all at the same time. Mr. Irony had his day that day!
    😀 😆

    Street food is quite tasty unless one dont have mental blocks about the hygienic condition ..
    i have eaten alot of times during my college days too 😀

    Aishwarya looks awesome in that pic .. 😀

  2. So ultimately how much did you spend!! 😛 😛

    Tasty aishwarya ❓ :rools: guys!!!!

    But reading you post took me back to my own college days, when going out to a dinner was always calculating money and going “dutch” and all! Though we were medical students, hygiene never crossed our minds!! 🙂

  3. Hahahahahahaha!!!!!
    WTF moment, indeed!! 😀
    Brilliant… such a thing hasn’t happened to me yet, probably ‘coz I know all the push-cart restaurants in town! 😀

  4. Arvind
    LOl ..
    Thanks 🙂

    Street food is quite tasty unless one dont have mental blocks about the hygienic condition
    Street food is tasty a lot of times. It is the way they cook it, and a pyschological feeling since we don’t expect a lot out of it. If you have the mental block of hygiene you will also run into physical blocks.

    i have eaten alot of times during my college days too
    Great days they used to be.

    Aishwarya looks awesome in that pic
    You are not hungry then, otherwise you would have said the manchurain looks delicious. Either that or you are a vegetarian.

    Sakhi
    So ultimately how much did you spend!!
    About 15 rupees I guess and had a stomach full.

    Tasty aishwarya ❓ :rools: guys!!!!
    I am sure a lot of guys veg or non veg will agree on that.

    when going out to a dinner was always calculating money and going “dutch” and all!
    Constraints and living within the means I guess. Every penny mattered in those days.

    Though we were medical students, hygiene never crossed our minds!!
    Though we were engineering students, hygiene never crossed our minds. Wait, your sentence sounds much more cooler than mine. Let me try again – Though we were engineering students, hygiene never crossed our minds like a T-Square. This is close enough I guess.

  5. Nikhil
    WTF moment, indeed!! 😀
    Yeah, it was!

    Brilliant… such a thing hasn’t happened to me yet, probably ‘coz I know all the push-cart restaurants in town!
    well, after this I always used to get suspicious if the restaurant name was fancy. There wasn’t any other incident after this one though.

    Reema
    Oh u are an IITian?
    Nope. IIT was just a landmark 🙂

    which one?
    I am the “College opposite to IIT”ian. Anna University, Chennai is almost right opposite to IIT Chennai.

    No hostel life is complete without street food and junk food.
    Amen!

    Three cheers for hostelers!!
    Hip Hip Hurray!

  6. Why did Shanghai close shop with such following I wonder?!? With everyone (all alphabets ;)) wanting to go there :D?!? esp when the shortcut involved a certain route!

  7. Apar
    Why did Shanghai close shop with such following I wonder
    He must not have closed the shop. He must have moved to find out if he really had a good following 😉

    With everyone (all alphabets ;)) wanting to go there
    He must have counted the alphabets from Tamil rather than English.

    when the shortcut involved a certain route!
    Oh, that was a shortcut to everything, Not just Shanghai restaurant, perhaps even Shanghai!

  8. Ah I remm the days when we’d pull all nighters to do so-called combined studdy. All we did was watch objectionable movies. The action would make us hungry and there used to be a theatre near my frnds appt.

    ejjatly at the time the second show got over there was a chainis guy who made the bestest ghobi menjhurian in the world.

    nostalgia….

  9. LOL 🙂 In taste both the push carts and high class bhavan’s are same. At times these street caterers provide much better than wat we expect. Only thing comes into play is hygiene.

    And within 15 rupees you finished your dinner!!!! amazing… may i know where is that restaurant? 😀

  10. Maxdavinci
    Ah I remm the days when we’d pull all nighters to do so-called combined studdy.
    We used to do that too. Fun days and nights they were.

    All we did was watch objectionable movies.
    We used to watch crappy TV shows in the hostel TV room or a cricket match.

    The action would make us hungry
    And we used to munch on Bread Omlett from the local shop or the night canteen.

    nostalgia….
    Glad I took you back to your good days.

    Vishesh
    lol 😛 what can i say 😛
    Yup, I couldn’t say much either. Just ate what I saw!

    Kanagu
    In taste both the push carts and high class bhavan’s are same.
    Most of the times they are.

    Only thing comes into play is hygiene.
    Yeah, and these days we have to be careful with all the epidemic fears.

    amazing… may i know where is that restaurant? 😀
    It used to be opposite to IIT Chennai about 10 years back, So you will need a time machine if you want to get there. Obviously he might have moved and it might not cost you 15 Rupees anymore, it could be more considering how the inflation has shot up.

  11. 😆 u took a shortcut via the LH, I am sure even if it was off route..you would have gone via LH am i ryt? 😆

    “Any place you go you have to have figures for that place to be called as the “Happening” place. ” Absolutely 🙂

    Chiken manchrian is looking yummy..so is aish..btw where is she served?? 😆

    WTF moment… happens… part and parcel of life 🙂 a saying in Hindi “Khoda pahad nikala chuha”.

    I had written a post on “Hot-chips” in chennai, visit if you feel like it 🙂

    http://nonsense123.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/a-meal-in-chennai/

  12. Kanagu
    If you find some time read my posts in my blogs and I like to have your comments
    Sure I will try to 🙂

    Sharad
    I am sure even if it was off route..you would have gone via LH am i ryt?
    That is why even if we had to go to Shanghai itself, we would consider LH as the shortcut route.

    Chiken manchrian is looking yummy
    You must be hungry.

    so is aish..btw where is she served?
    Unfortunately for Aish, you will have to sit through a 3 hour Bollywood flick.

    WTF moment… happens…part and parcel of life
    Yes, very true. Even if the food is parceled.

  13. Aha kadaiseele oru Kaiyendi bhavanle poi unga kanavellam podi podi ayiducha.
    But I love the way you prepared yourself for the meal – the expectations, the possibilities. great way to approach a meal.

  14. Shivya
    8 rupees push cart indian chinese food kicks the real shanghai food’s ass anytime.
    I guess so. I prefer Indian Chinese than the actual Chinese food. Somehow the smell of real chinese pushes me away.

    Sagarone
    Welcome to my blog 🙂
    Great one!
    Thank you 🙂

    You had me drooling all the way to the end!
    I am assuming that also covered Aish.

    Brought back memories of my college days.
    Glad I did. They are fun days.

    Aparna G
    No gigantic business can beat namma ‘Nair Kadai’ or ‘dosa shop’ or ‘push cart food’ or ’sutta kadalai’
    Ejjactly. Whatever it is, the local Kaiyendhi bhavan taste is just brilliant. Even in Madurai, there are small hotels that have been there for long time and they are very good.

    Usha
    Aha kadaiseele oru Kaiyendi bhavanle poi unga kanavellam podi podi ayiducha.
    Enna panrathu. Edhukkuthan romba overa yosikka koodathu. Expectations buildaana disappoint ayirum.

    But I love the way you prepared yourself for the meal
    Pasi, Bad Hostel Sappadu are all drivers for this!

    the expectations, the possibilities. great way to approach a meal.
    I do that even now sometimes. Food lover, but insist on eating less by relishing, tasting and enjoying what I eat. Sometimes it is not possible to do it, but most of the times I do it this way.

  15. I so relate to this. The carts outside college – anywhere really had the most interesting names. And you often went there thinking it would be a nice plush place. But you have to admit, the carts have a charm of their own. And they become a part of your routine.

    Though it sounds like everything is fried on that menu. (But that never bothered me when I was in hostel!)

  16. It’s funny how Chinese food has become a part of our lives.
    In Kolkata ‘eating chow min’ from the road side cart is a Hit with young and old alike 🙂

    The only glitch is that sometimes the ‘Boneless Chicken’ is not entirely ‘boneless’ ! 😛

  17. Neha
    Hey, Welcome to my blog 🙂
    The carts outside college – anywhere really had the most interesting names.
    It is an attempt to pull the crowd atleast by the name.

    And you often went there thinking it would be a nice plush place.
    It was very misleading, when my friends only mentioned the name but not its whereabouts.

    But you have to admit, the carts have a charm of their own. And they become a part of your routine.
    Yeah, they do have a unique taste of their own. We used to walk a mile to a Dosa push cart in Pune. The variety they had was unmatchable.

    never bothered me when I was in hostel!
    Yeah, hostel mess food can be so terrible, you just need to eat somewhere outside and you will like it.

    Rahul
    It’s funny how Chinese food has become a part of our lives.
    Yeah, they have been! Besides being funny, it is also tasty(the Indian Chinese I mean).

    In Kolkata ‘eating chow min’ from the road side cart is a Hit with young and old alike 🙂
    I love Chow mein from a restaurant in Bangalore. Golden Plate by Airport Road and also Chung wah is a great place. had there several times. They are not push carts though.

    The only glitch is that sometimes the ‘Boneless Chicken’ is not entirely ‘boneless’
    They shouldn’t call it boneless then, they should call it lessbone! 😛

  18. Are you saying you’d take fancy restaurants over the comfort of Chinese gaddis?! The last time I visited Pune I mourned that those carts were all gone 😦

    We’d visit IIT Powai as a 30-people contingent every Mood-I… no sleep for almost 5 days at a stretch, live on Maggi & coffee (not to mention try clicking the Nescafé/Maggi tokens like the pro singers in local trains 😉 ). Good times…

    -g

  19. Aparna
    Kaiyendhi Bhavan! Vazhgah!!!
    Vazhgah Vazhgah!

    Happy Diwali!!
    Happy Diwali to you too!

    Gauri
    Welcome to my blog 🙂
    Are you saying you’d take fancy restaurants over the comfort of Chinese gaddis?!
    No way. It is just that on that day when they told me a fancy name, I was expecting it to be a fancy chinese place.

    The last time I visited Pune I mourned that those carts were all gone
    I am sure if I go back to Pune, I will search for that Dosa cart.

    sleep for almost 5 days at a stretch, live on Maggi & coffee
    Like you said, yeah Good times 🙂 Practically end up playing cards every other day.

  20. DB:
    So, Shanghai is facing closure because its client base has moved into the US!? Could you not foresee how environ and mentally friendly it was? It was a magna carta of Chinese cuisine, it seems!

  21. Rambodoc
    Shanghai is facing closure because its client base has moved into the US
    LOL … I guess so! After all it is a push cart restaurant. It could have been easily pushed.

    Could you not foresee how environ and mentally friendly it was
    Absolutely. We are talking about walking and mechanically driven carts here. Totally oblivious to this fact, Google mail is throwing me an ad for cheap tickets to Shanghai!

    It was a magna carta of Chinese cuisine, it seems!
    LOL!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s