As it is very hot in Shanghai in summer, you should avoid this season to have affordable China tours in Shanghai. But if you do come to Shanghai in summer, you should try the following cole dessert to shave off the heat.
1. Sweet soups
A dessert soup in Shanghai doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a bowl of freshly squeezed watermelon juice with sago pearls or sweet, chilled mung bean soup (an all-time local favorite, mung bean is believed in traditional Chinese medicine to cool the body). Any Taiwanese/Hong Kong dessert place worth its salt will offer page-long variations on the magical trinity of chilled fruit, beans and jelly. We like the experimental snow white sago at Honeymoon Dessert -- a creamy, white 'soup' with chunks of banana, mango and dried longan topped with sago and basil seeds.
Honeymoon Dessert, multiple locations, 72 Wanhangdu Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu
2. Iced coffee Shanghai-style
Iced coffee offers the dual benefits of leaving you refreshed and wired to work. As a consequence, legions of Shanghai workaholics love a good, iced coffee to beat the heat. If you like creamy, try the sea salt coffee at 85 Degrees -- a milky coffee drink with a rim of foamed, savory cream. The savory and sweet blend nicely together in each sip, but this is more of a coffee-flavored pick-me-up rather than a real cup of java. For serious caffeine, try the slow-drip iced coffee at Carmo, which comes in a small pitcher and a highball glass filled with ice. Milk and simple syrup are served on the side so you can customize. It is should be have a try during your Shanghai journey, a part of popular China tour package.
3. Alcoholic tipples
Sometimes, it takes a cold, spiked drink to make the heat bearable. Enter the boozy shakes from Gourmet Cafe. They're creamy, with an almost undetectable alcohol taste, but guzzle a few too quickly, and you might get a case of the spins with your ice-cream headache. We like The Dude, a milkshake made with vodka, kahlua, cream and vanilla ice cream.
Gourmet Cafe, 1/F, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Tongren Lu
4. Salt water ice lollies
Before the first ice cream ("zhong bing zhuan," middle ice cube) and way before Magnum bars came to Shanghai (a destinaton for top China tours), local kids went crazy for salt water lollipops -- they were rare summer treats in a time of great scarcity. This generation is now entering its golden years, but is still reaching for these RMB 1 icy lollies, a taste of childhood. The next time you're at a convenience store or your local supermarket, pick up a few of these opaque, sweet-savory, icy old-school treats. They're sublime.
Available at local convenience stores, TESCOs and Carrefours
5. Shaved ice
One of the few joys in these humid Shanghai heatwaves: you'll be able to devour a Mt. Everest of shaved ice without turning into an icicle. Shaved ice is on our list because... well, what could be more cooling than pouring ice with nubs of pudding, swirls of condensed milk and the mother lode of red beans down your throat?
For a different take on shaved ice, try Charmant's antique brown sugar chuan bin. It's an enormous crystal goblet of rough-shaved ice with a deliciously smoky, caramelized brown sugar syrup, yuanzi (glutinous rice balls), grass jelly, mung beans and tapioca pearls. Or, for those looking for classic versions of this dessert, Bellagio never fails.
6. Douhua (tofu pudding)
Locals love a big, chilled bowl of sweet douhua. It's healthier than custard (so you can eat more), and you'll hardly notice the soybean flavor in these clouds of delicate, sweet tofu. Try Bellagio's douhua -- a big bowl of fresh tofu suspended in amber, spicy ginger syrup and sprinkled with peanuts.
Bellagio, multiple locations, 68 Taicang Lu, near Songshan Lu.
7. More than ice cream
A scoop of ice cream is not always enough. Sometimes you just want the drama of a sundae -- but in China, sundaes tend to be either overpriced or look better than they taste (or both). For times like these, head to InPoint Mall on Wujiang Lu. Bon Matin bakery will do you a hot bread pudding topped with a swirl of vanilla soft-serve ice cream (RMB 13). Alternatively, grab a Krispy Kreme from three storefronts down and bring it back to Bon Matin. They'll add ice cream for just RMB 5. Viola! Krispy ice cream. But bring your own chocolate sauce.
8. Mango 'smoothies'
Chunks of flavorful mango, a touch of condensed milk, soft, velvety texture. Mango puddings are summer must-haves, and we'll never get tired of them. For the best mango "smoothie" (it's so thick it borders on sorbet) in town, check out Hong Kong import Hui Lao Shan, a dessert shop with an extensive selection of mango-based desserts.
No other Chinese city boasts the extensive options for gourmet gelato we see in Shanghai. This denser, more flavor-packed cousin of ice cream, gelato is popular with locals and expats alike for summer heat relief. There are many quality gelato shops around town, but we tend to turn to the people from Le Crème Milano for affordable priced gelatos and their changing fridge of seasonal flavors. Don't miss the chocolate flavor. If you're in the Fumin Lu/Xinle Lu/Donghu Lu triangle of good food and drink Voila! Bistro also serves up Le Crème Milano delicious icy treats alongside their crepes and WiFi.
Le Crème Milano, 434 Shanxi Nan Lu, near Yongjia Lu
10. Young coconuts
In the summer, young, green coconuts start peeking out from among the watermelons, bananas and peaches in fruit displays. And since there are fruit sellers at almost every corner, it's hard not to be tempted by these sweet, juice-laden fruits. Buy one from your local fruit guy, stick in a straw and you'll have a healthy, natural fruit drink.
Available at fruit vendor stalls.
You can get more about the above-mentioned via China tour agents.
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