The Evolution of Jing’an District
EasyMandarin’s home base is located right behind Shanghai’s most famous temple, Jing’an Temple, smack dab in the heart of Shanghai’s most international district, Jing’an District. In 2017, Jing’an is full of American, European, and Asian businessmen, hipsters, and tourists – working and doing business in stylish cafes, eating at healthy organic restaurants (and unhealthy burger & pizza joints), and drinking cocktails and craft beer at trendy bars. For the old-timers in Jing’an, the changes have been extremely fast and extraordinary.To get more Jingan District
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Back in 2006 when EM first opened its doors to students to learn Mandarin, Jing’an Temple was much smaller (the temple was updated with the lion heads column and the tall gold tower in the back around 2010 before the Shanghai World Expo), there was no Old Navy store next to Jing’an Temple, and one of the only real bakeries was Yamazaki (Japanese bakery located in the mall next to the temple – still there). Back then it was tough to get a good cup of coffee or a donut. The dozens of Starbucks and the nearby malls with vast food courts popped up mostly between the years 2009 to 2014, and from about 2013 until now the boutique restaurants, cafes, and bars exploded all over Jing’an District. Nowadays, there’s even a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway (sandwiches) located right across the street from the temple (one minute walk from the school).
While the Jing’an District is always evolving and modernizing as it solidifies itself as Shanghai’s city center, it still manages to maintain its unique culture. There are still hundreds (probably thousands) of local Chinese restaurants offering tasty dishes from all over China. Noodles and rice dishes continue to be sold by street vendors throughout the district. EM students love the cheap and delicious baozi (stuffed steamed bun) shop next to the school that has survived the modernization. You can still see traditional tai chi practitioners every day in Jing’an Park and the elderly exercising en-masse on street corners.
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