University Street

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China is a country of big brands and big commercial chains. Unlike in the West, the move back towards small local shops and cafés has not yet taken place. However, there are a few locations around Shanghai that do give that sort of impression – locations where you can buy local, even home-made products or have coffee in a nice modern Chinese coffee shop. Locations that feel sort of Western, but not the McDonald’s or Starbucks way.

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One of these locations is Da Xue Lu (大学路), University Street. Adjacent to a university campus that gave it its name, it is a fairly short and quiet street lined with trees and full of small restaurants, bakeries and shops. One of my favourites, Momi café, actually happens to be a Chinese chain, yet the atmosphere it gives off is one of a local, homely shop with a café corner. I like to come here to buy postcards, washi tapes and tea.

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