A friend is visiting from the US and wanted to head up to Shenzhen for the day and you never have to twist my arm to get me to go there. It was insanely hot and humid yesterday which meant I rarely felt like pulling my camera out of the bag so I took far fewer photos than I’d been expecting to.
There are 4 border crossings between HK and Shenzhen. I still prefer to cross at Lo Wu for several reasons, despite the fact that it is often the most crowded and can have the longest lines at immigration. I actually like the Lo Wu mall plus I know exactly where to find an HSBC ATM right after immigration so that I can load up on RMB.
I just needed to grab a couple of things from the mall and then it was massage time. I tend to go to Queen Spa & Dining in Lo Wu. It’s one of the most foreigner-friendly spots in SZ – some of their staff have huge badges on their uniforms saying “I speak English”; it’s also one of the more expensive places there but still cheap by HK standards. It’s also clean, safe and, for those who care about this sort of thing, not the kind of place that offers a happy ending, if that’s what you’re after. You’ll see entire families in the lounge areas. They often make an entire day out of it because aside from the massage and usual sauna areas, this place has a movie room (huge reclining chairs, projection screen, movie schedule posted), internet cubicles, pool and billiards tables, areas with board games, swimming pool and a restaurant.
I’ve got one friend who hates Queen Spa because he feels that staff hustles you too hard for tips and that’s somewhat true. He prefers a newer spot, called Water Cube. But that’s over in Huanggang. The thing is, when I’m in Lo Wu, it’s really easy to catch Queen Spa’s free shuttle van over to the sauna while as far as I know, getting over to Huanggang would involve either the MTR or a taxi and so I pick the easy, free way.
We stayed there for around 3 hours, 90 minute aromatherapy massage and not too much else and we ended up spending a tad over 300 RMB each. As I said, not the cheapest place in town, but very relaxing.
After that, the destination was to be my favorite Sichuan restaurant in Shenzhen, Ba Shu Feng (Chinese only). They have several branches in Shenzhen but I’ve always gone to the one on Ai Guo Lu (Italy Street?) – three floors and a kitschy retro design that mimics an old Chinese village, complete with a tree in the center of the restaurant. This time though, the taxi driver told me that the Ai Guo Lu branch had closed – and I’d taken a look at their web site before leaving the house and didn’t see a listing for the Ai Guo Lu address and so I believed him. He offered to take us to a different branch, also in Lo Wu, basement of a shopping mall. (You might get a kick out of how Google Translate translates the addresses of their various branches)
Revitalization of a the Prachuab wind shop Prachuab wind shop: Futian District, Shenzhen the revitalization Lusang Da Industrial Zone 405, second floor Reservation Tel:0755-83254969 8324 6 874 the Prachuab Wind Dragon City store: Nanshan District, Shenzhen Kowloon City Road, Guangdong the second floor of the sea integrated market Reservation Tel:0755-26492008 2649 2208 the Prachuab wind Luohu: Phoenix Road, Luohu District, Shenzhen, Beijing base. Phoenix negative impression on the first floor on the 7th shops reservations, please call: 0755-2568 038825661798 Prachuab love affair shop Prachuab love affair • central area of shops: the downtown area of Shenzhen China Tin Galaxy Jun Shang Department Store International the first floor of the west side of the Reservation Tel: 0755-8203 566182035662 the Prachuab brothels • The central area of Baoan Shop: Luotian Road, Baoan District, Shenzhen, and the new Lake Road junction at Thai Hua Junyi family F, Block C (o-Bao’an Stadium, Wal-Mart) Reservation Tel: 0755-2150 030221500303 the Prachuab brothels • Marine City store: Nanshan District, Shenzhen Wenxin Road No. 33, Coastal City Shopping Mall the fifth floor of 501-7 Shop Reservation Tel: 0755-86359609 8635 9469 pastel shop Pastel Garden City center store: Nanhai Avenue, Nanshan District, Shenzhen City, Garden City Center, 188B shop Reservation Tel: 0755-26029665 2602 9795 Mexican feast storeink feast shop in Chengdu: Chengdu Jinniu West China Boulevard on the 6th OCT Park Plaza D2 (near Happy Valley) Reservations can be made by phone: 028-61898518 Chengdu pastels shop pastel shop in Chengdu: Chengdu into China double celebration, on the 8th Mixc 456 shops (the Shuangqiao sub overpass next to) reservations, please call: 028-61393036 ninety eight ninety eight Chengdu hot pot dessert shop in Chengdu: Chengdu the Jinniu West China Avenue OCT International food court (near Happy Valley) 3109 No. Reservation Tel: 028-61898578
Prachuab love affair? Prachuab brothels? Mexican feast store? Anyway.
While this branch was relatively large, we also had to wait almost 30 minutes for a table. And then … the food disappointed. I don’t know if they’ve gone downhill in general or if the quality varies from branch to branch but odds are I won’t be looking to come back here. We had:
Tofu stuffed with pork. I’m not a big tofu fan but this might have been my favorite dish of the night – and that’s not so much how good this one was but how much of a letdown the others were.
Dau miu (pea shoots). I know, two guys and we ordered vegetables. Insane, right?
The English name for this on the menu was boiled beef. It should be lip-numbingly hot, blow-the-top-of-your-head-off hot. And it always has been in the past. This time it was only hot enough to result in a mild sweat. The beef was also a bit more tendon-y and fatty than I’ve gotten in the past.
The English name for this on the menu was Geleshan chicken. Whatever, it’s usually my favorite Sichuan dish. This time, it was incredibly salty, the salt overwhelming everything else and I just couldn’t enjoy it.
I generally find that the light Chinese beers compliment Sichuan food quite well and go for whatever’s on special. This time, these 580 ml (roughly 20 ounce) bottles were 10 RMB each.
Oops! I got caught by people at another table taking photos!
We finished up around 9:30 and the staff was taking over the dining room for the staff meal – one huge bowl of veggies and another of a very hearty looking soup.
We left the restaurant and it was starting to rain. Grabbed a taxi to Shekou and as we drove along, the rain intensified. By the time we reached Shekou, it was a full on thunderstorm. Of course we didn’t have umbrellas and when we got out of the taxi, not only was it a long walk in the open to our intended destination, a lot of the streets were just completely flooded. We were heading to the X-Ta-Sea bar, which is located inside the permanently moored Ming Hua ship (once Charles De Gaulle’s private “yacht”) to see my buddies Kaktooz. By the time we arrived there, we were completely soaked.
We decided to wait out the rain there and by the time it stopped, it was too late to head back to Lo Wu. The Shenzhen Bay crossing would have been closer but Huanggang made more sense – a shorter taxi ride for me back to Sheung Shui to get my car, a direct bus to Wanchai for my friend.
Generally a pretty good day but I felt let down by the restaurant. Clearly it’s time to find a new favorite restaurant in Shenzhen. Any recommendations?