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A destination of good taste

Updated: 2024-01-12 07:17 ( China Daily )
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A scene from the hit television series Blossoms Shanghai, by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. The series has been adapted from Jin Yucheng's award-winning novel, which is set in Shanghai and has relaunched interest in the city's glamour and lifestyle. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's new TV series drives crowds to Huanghe Road in search of food and nostalgia, Zhou Wenting reports.

Formerly known as a gastronomical paradise, Shanghai's Huanghe Road used to be home to over 100 restaurants, many of which served high-end fare that only the rich and famous could afford.

But everything started to change in the late-1990s, when a spate of changes sapped the luster out of this bustling street.

For safety considerations, the iconic neon signs that gave the street much of its character were torn from the buildings. Fried snakes, a delicacy that many intrepid gourmands sought after, were also banned. The Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the SARS pandemic in 2003, and the rise of other gourmet streets in the city subsequently resulted in many restaurants here closing down.

But the area is now experiencing a revival of sorts, with throngs of people armed with cameras flocking to it in search of nostalgia and historical elements, as well as delicious food.

Wang Yongfen, who has been living in a shikumen (traditional lane) house on Huanghe Road for the last 35 years, says she has not seen such crowds for years.

The reason behind this phenomenon is Blossoms Shanghai, a new television series by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai.

Adapted from the local writer Jin Yucheng's award-winning novel, Fan Hua (Blossoms), the TV series takes audiences back to the 1990s Shanghai, when the city was experiencing unprecedented economic growth and prosperity.

The plot revolves around the life of A Bao, an ambitious young man who seizes the opportunities of the early stock market to become a millionaire. A Bao is played by renowned Chinese actor Hu Ge. Other big-name actors include Ma Yili, Tang Yan and Xin Zhilei.

Wong purchased the adaptation copyright for the novel around a decade ago and spent three years producing the TV series. The highly anticipated show marks the first time Wong is directing for television.

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