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March 26, 2020

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Businesses recovering steadily

Shanghai’s scenic spots and business venues are recovering steadily after reopening with the improvement of the coronavirus epidemic situation.

At Xing Hua Lou, a restaurant dating back to 1851, most tables were occupied at lunchtime yesterday on the two floors it has opened.

“The 24 tables are mostly full for both lunch and dinner,” said Xu Yingjun at the restaurant’s catering department.

“Diners are reminded to use one set of chopsticks to take food from communal dishes and another set to eat with, and we notice that almost all follow the principle,” said Zhi Jing, deputy general manager of the restaurant.

It has launched four seasonal delicacies including river shrimps with fava beans, knife fish wonton and knife fish baiyebao, meat wrapped in tofu skin.

Knife fish is a rare freshwater fish from the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

“We prepared semi-finished cuisines like knife fish wonton and dozens are sold out before lunchtime,” said Xu.

“Shanghainese have been eating food from old brands like Xing Hua Lou since childhood, and I trust the food safety of these brands,” Xu Fujun, a Shanghai retiree living in Huangpu District, said yesterday.

Xing Hua Lou has launched a new taste of qingtuan — cheese beef — this year. It is a seasonal snack associated with the Qingming Festival, which falls on April 4 this year.

“More than 10,000 qingtuan of the new flavor are sold daily and young people are major customers,” said chef Zhang Jiquan.

However, the bestseller is still the restaurant’s star product — qingtuan with salted egg yolk and dried meat floss filling. Nearly 100,000 a day are being sold at present, said Zhang.

Meanwhile, famed food store Shao Wan Sheng on Nanjing Road pedestrian street is seeing signs of recovery as well.

“Our sales volume was 30,000 yuan on the lowest day due to the epidemic and our normal day minimum figure is 200,000 yuan,” said Wang Weijie, the store’s deputy general manager.

“Now, our daily sales volume has rebounded to 100,000 yuan,” he said.

“Marinated huangniluo, a kind of bubble snail, and liquor-saturated crab, the star products of our food store, are among the bestsellers,” Wang said.

“We have taken some self-rescue efforts like opening online channels because the epidemic delivered a heavy blow to the catering industry,” said Wang.

At Yuyuan Garden Malls, more than 80 percent of businesses, including the 263-year-old Songhelou Restaurant and time-honored Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, have all reopened.

They are using online and offline channels to recover and their online sales volume has grown 30 to 40 percent from the same period last year.

At the iconic Huangpu River cruise tour, staff member Zhang Hua said that the 45-minute tour has about 30 passengers on average, about a third of normal.

“We have noticed a booming demand in consumption at present,” the consumer council’s Tang said.


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