November 5, 2009 4

Plum Gallery / Old China Hand Reading Room (Shanghai)

By in 08: Shanghai

Our B&B Owner told us about her friend’s gallery on Nanjing West Road. It took us awhile to figure out where it was as I didn’t write down the address.


Hidden behind all the fancy malls on Nanjing xi lu is this small alley that leads you to this old longtang (traditional Shanghai townhouses) neighborhood. We walked few blocks down the lane and saw only locals (mostly old people) hanging outside their houses, we began to doubt if the gallery exist at all.

Plum Gallery

Found it! We walked pass all these old dwellings and found the very cute Plum gallery + cafe hidden among them. It is opened by a Taiwanese music video director.

Plum GalleryIMG_0584

Plum Gallery

The exhibit was called Tiny Shoes, featuring artworks by Fukuda Sakae, who was at the gallery when we were there.

Plum Gallery

There was a local press reporting on the show. The artist was posing for photos while she finished the painting on the wall).

Plum GalleryPlum Gallery

We love her works and bought two of them. Inside the gallery there’re tables for afternoon tea and dessert. It’s a fun space to chill and hang out.

Plum Gallery

We got Plum Soda and Ice Coffee. Very refreshing and needed as we were so tired and thirsty from all the walking.

I’m glad we didn’t give up the search.  This place is such a pretty and quiet getaway from the chaotic city  outside

Plum Gallery
No. 1025 Nanjing Xi Lu, Lane 37

Another Tea break. On the very pretty and literary centric Shaoxing Lu, there’s a bookstore+cafe called Old China Hand Reading Room.

Shaoxing Lu

It’s a all-you-can-read bookstore opened by a photographer. They have an extensive selection of tea you can order. We got a very good Ginger + Kumquat tea. We spend a long time reading books and sipping tea, specially books on the history and architecture of Shanghai. good times! They have quite a few of English books too. It’s a good way to sample books and we ended up buying some of them. This would be a regular hang out for me if I were to reside in Shanghai.

Old China Hand Reading Room
Shaoxing Lu 27

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4 Responses to “Plum Gallery / Old China Hand Reading Room (Shanghai)”

  1. weezermonkey says:

    What lovely oases!

  2. seat says:

    Another lovely place which is entirely “foreign”. ^^;; Do the local Shanghainese actually hang out in these places?

  3. Joan says:

    Haha yeah it’s “foreign” but I think they actually “match” the feel of Shanghai, especially in the French concession area. These cute places don’t really look out of place with the surroundings at all. The streets themselves are cobblestoned and lined with trees, and there are lots of old historic European mansions here and there (which rich and famous historic ppl lived in, like the Soong sisters, and many foreigners). So the entire area has this “foreign” feel to it since the early 20th century. To me those slick modern skyscrapers look more out of place.

    The China hand reading room actually have lots of locals, I see these local professor types and students hanging there, but there’re lots of expats there too as well. Cafe Dan (That Japanese cafe) also has lots of locals. I think due to China’s economic growth, there’s a new generation of young people with lots of disposable incomes (or pocket money) and of course many of them go for boring brand stuffs and malls….but there’re quite a number of them into more artsy and cultural stuffs too, so they would seek more interesting and cultural places like these. I was actually amazed to see how many really high quality artsy cultural magazines there are in China! They’re all really well designed and quite well written too. And I think the new generations want to try different things when come to food, as they can eat good Chinese food at their home already from home cooking so when they want to spend $ outside, they go for non-Chinese. At least that’s my impression from reading “Dianping” (the yelp of China, website people post their comments on restaurants), French, Japanese and Thai food are popular! And people seems to willing to dish more $ for them than for Chinese food. I’ll post a french pastry place soon, yes french pastry is a big boom in Shanghai! The place was packed with young people and they’re all locals, and the food ain’t cheap either (not that it’s expensive too).

  4. Freda says:

    Haha Seat, I know…the more days we were in Shanghai, the more foreigner expats places we went. But historically the modern Shanghai is a city made up of foreigners (and Chinese from other states) anyway, so it’s part of the ‘Shanghai experience”. The two girls sitting there in the photos seems to be local, so I guess locals do? The people running the gallery were Taiwanese and European though. The Old Chinese Hand Reading Room was full of westerners with their laptops too.

    We did give this one local-owned + run teahouse a try. This local chain claimed to be in the style of an old retro Shanghai. But man…it’s just…they just don’t get it. Inconsistent decor, cheesy elevator music, a lacking in ‘heart’, so we walked out immediately. ^^;;