Whippet recently took a quick trip to Shanghai, and one little gem we spotted was this small-format version of one of the city’s favourite bakeries. We have to confess we had no idea what the store was selling when we first walked past, but we were intrigued by the window display of a vintage bicycle accompanied by old school tube TVs and hanging birdcage shades.
Upon entering the store, we were none the wiser as to what was on offer (mostly due to our pathetic grasp of the local language). But we investigated further, and closely inspected the many rows of identical tins before noticing a small table with an open one on display.
Inside were commemorative sets of mooncakes, a Chinese speciality eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival which happened to be taking place during our visit. Suddenly it all made sense! Mooncakes are small round pastries, usually filled with a thick red bean or lotus paste, and are traditionally given as gifts during the festival – which explained the specially designed tins.
According to a gorgeous wall graphic, these individually decorated mooncakes were celebrating historic technological innovations made in Shanghai, including sewing machines, cameras, bicycles and watches.
As the festival only lasts a short time, we assumed that the store was a pop-up for the duration only, and might subsequently return to a standard bakery format.
Whatever its longevity, we gave it a big Whippet thumbs up for its wonderful juxtaposition of intrigue, originality and design. Maybe the magic was enhanced by our initial ignorance, but there was no doubting it tickled our creative tastebuds. Bravo Ichido!