It’s a beautiful sunny spring day in Shanghai. The first since I’ve been back and after moving, have time to attend a pilates class and enjoy my favourite salad lunch at a cafe around the corner. At this very moment, I’m sipping a cup of coffee while lounging in the sun where no one else is dares to sit for fear of turning brown! (hihi) Since Women’s Day on March 8, I’ve noticed quite a few things female-related in Shanghai. The one that sticks out right now is the noticeable shift in the dining/cafe scene.
Shanghainese women are leading the way when it comes to trying western fashion, fads and food. The fashion, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel etc, had already been conquered since many years with fads following closely; I’m hoping athleisure wear will go soon. Now I am noticing the food factor. In Starbucks queues, 90% are young women. In the cafe I am currently sitting in, 98% of customers are young women.
Young women ordering kale salads, poached eggs on avocado toast and green juices; all things I like to order, except that it doesn’t seem like they actually like eating it. Most appear to come for the ‘photo’ factor, or in the west it would the ‘instagrammable’ shot. There is a mini photo-shoot happening at almost every table! It’s quite weird to watch but fascinatingly interesting as no one seems to mind if you stare. The ‘model’ I suppose is quite proud to have an audience.
Unfortunately, because the food is so foreign, most diners leave more than half of the meal uneaten. It is such a waste of resources. Beside me, a table of five ordered a dish and juice for each person and after taking a photo of each item and picking through everything, they quickly left the cafe with everything half eaten on the table. On the other hand, the ladies in the above picture were in fact having a business meeting, so western food was chosen to show their internationality and no photos were taken but they too weren’t really into the kale or poached eggs. Can you imagine this happening at each and every table? It’s crazy... welcome to Shanghai.