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February 17, 2012

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An evolving scene on Fumin Road

FUMIN Road is a typical Shanghai street in the former French concession. Not long ago it had just local groceries on both sides, but now it's got a lot of new places, shops and cafes that attract both local people and tourists. This road feels "alive" and offers a great choice of new fashion shops, good food and places worth visiting. Fumin Road's charm is its mixture of traditional mom-and-pop shops and the newer places that are opening one after the other. You can try a very special shop featuring only Taiwanese tea, an original Italian gelateria and new fashion boutiques. But pay attention, despite many new openings, Fumin Road keeps its traditional character. One can still observe the daily life of the Shanghainese people who live in this neighborhood.

The hive

The hive is a chic multi-brand fashion boutique featuring a selected collection of Chinese designers' clothes. Opened by Singaporeans Gary Yip and Jennie Tsen, the pair has noticed a great improvement from Chinese designers in recent years. Yip says he has always had a strong interest in fashion and has been exposed to it since a young age and through the course of his work. He believes Chinese designers are comparable to overseas designers. He says the quality, fabric, fit and cut are all well balanced by Chinese designers. The shop currently carries eight brands including threeSociety, JL, Matchbox and Studio P.I. The owners plan to open more stores in Shanghai and other cities.

Opening hours: 1pm-10pm

Address: No. 1 Lane 210, Fumin Rd

Tel: 5404-7252

Cha Mi Jia

Cha Mi Jia, a Taiwanese lifestyle boutique, is for those who embrace a healthy lifestyle. The store itself is well-designed and inviting, with design ceramics, tea containers lining the shelves and eight wooden tables. Cha Mi Jia offers 22 high-quality teas from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, priced from 126 yuan to 458 yuan. What sets Cha Mi Jia apart from other tea shops in town lies in its modern tea containers. The store also sells healthy rice (68 to 98 yuan) from northeast China and tea snacks such as roasted bamboo peanuts (48 yuan) and a mix of beans (55 yuan).

Opening hours: 11am-9:30pm

Address: 201 Fumin Rd

Tel: 5404-3842

Stocchi Chocolate Lounge Bar

This bar opened just half a year ago and the concept is both original and a little odd. Stocchi offers more than 30 types of handmade chocolate and 20 desserts, but also cocktails and beers made with chocolate. Because of its new "disco" style, Stocchi bar is a little "unique" as a coffee/snack bar, but it has many offerings, starting from the little chocolates to the little cakes and desserts, all around 10 yuan. Most chocolates are charged by weight. There's also a great offer of coffee mixed with chocolate for those with a sweet tooth. This 30-seat place space changes into a lounge bar in the late afternoon, with music and special drinks. Have you ever heard of a chocolate martini or beer? Here you can try it for around 70 yuan each. They also serve tapas and cheese plates. Not so traditional, but certainly original.

Opening hours: noon-midnight

Address: 185 Fumin Rd

Tel: 5404-2815

Le Crème Milano

Le Crème Milano serves Italian gelato along with coffee, smoothies and some desserts like tiramisu. It's a nice place to have a break and eat something sweet. The Fumin Road outlet is the second "gelateria" in Shanghai. In the shop's window they exhibit "just" 12 different ice-cream flavors, but they actually have more than 30 that are made everyday. Everything is done with natural and fresh ingredients, especially the fruit flavours, which change according to the season. For a gelato the price range is 30 yuan (US$4.7) to 35 yuan while a real espresso is about 20 yuan. The tiramisu is 45 yuan and if you spend an extra 20 yuan you can get Le Crème's special round glass. Enthusiastic customers often enjoy the intense flavors, creamy texture and natural ingredients of gelato in a relaxed environment. Le Crème also offers take away service. They make fresh juices and milkshakes in the summer.

Opening hours: 11:30am-midnight

Address: 173 Fumin Rd

Tel: 5403-3918


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