the best street in Shanghai is fengyang lu. There are not that many parts of Shanghai that feel chinese..there are some, but not many. Fengyang lu is one of them. What makes it Chinese?
-the hordes of cyclists and motorcyclists that constantly pass by and get stuck at the traffic lights (causing my father to quote that he thought there was a race about to start...)
-the 3, 4, 5 rmb options for a cooked meal that you can get from a lady every 50m who has just cooked 10 dishes in big pots, put the big pots outside her house and then serves it to you (you pay more for more dishes squeezed into your box)
-the dumplings and baozi (steamed bread with fillings) places that provide cheap, takeaway food
-the hairdressers (they're everywhere in China)
-the food market that leads off the street with people selling all kinds of things, including (of course) bits of animals that you dont think can be eaten, and bits of meat that really don't think should be the resting place for so many flies...
-the street food for breakfast
-the crazy cars that turn right on a red light (when pedestrians have a green light, which is legal) and like a hot knife in butter carve a way through the crowds
-the cars that will reverse up a street cause the missed the turning, or will just go down a 1-way street the wrong way because...well, because they can!
-the people-wardens (yep, like traffic wardens) that man the pedestrian lights!
...and many other things besides.
Its also a great street because its a 2 minute walk from the subway station, 5 minutes from the center of Shanghai and because it is definitely Shanghai. It has patisseries on it (yep, the french shops selling breads, cakes etc) and it has a hospital that is spanking new and over 25 floors. It has a couple of highways zooming over it, it has a couple of skyscrapers dotted along it, or just behind it and it has fake DVD shops. Plus, of course it has Devrim and his wonderful appartment (until yesterday when the phone and internet stopped working) where I stay in Shanghai. Oh, and in case I have not mentioned food enough (and you really need to spend a month in china, just eating (since menus are often 20 pages long and there are at least 15 styles of chinese food) to get to know China) -the fantastic hot pot, xinjiang and fried dumpling restaurants on/beside it!
Its the reason why I've fallen in love with Shanghai -not just the beautiful strolling around the french quarter, the sheer scale of the skyscrapers, the huge number of fancy appartments or foreigners and not even the style that oozes from a place with ferrari shops, xmas lights (a bit tacky by shanghai standards, but they dont exist much else in mainland china) and a subway with 12 exits and automatic gates!
fengyang lu -respect!