hot stuff
    Model and chef Elettra Wiedemann recently traveled to Shanghai for a photo shoot, but as the host of the cooking show Elettra's Goodness on, she made sure there was time for some culinary treats.

    ew1.jpgBreakfast at the Puli Hotel
    Red Rice Congee
    This congee was not made with milk, but it was thick and heavy -- like plain oatmeal with a husky red-rice flavor. It was comforting, but after about five bites I was full. It would be good before a marathon or an Ironman race.

    ew2.jpgSweet potato stick
    I had this fried sweet potato in onion dust from a food stand in Tianzifang for a midday snack. It was like a huge sweet potato fry, but unfortunately I inhaled the onion dusting which was painful and resulted in a long coughing fit.

    ew3.jpgEggplant and French beans
    This dish at Di Shui Dong was amazing. It was spicy, but not overpowering and deeply smoky. By the end of the meal, I was actually sleepy from spiciness.

    ew4.jpgStreet Food and Snacks
    Steamed pork buns
    The photoshoot location was about two hours outside of Shanghai. As I was being whisked into hair and makeup, I grabbed several pork buns from a street vendor. I was hoping this would be a culinary high point, but I was disappointed. The buns tasted weird and I felt like little pieces of cellophane got stuck in my molars.

    ew5.jpgOut to Dinner
    Spicy Tofu
    Holy shit. This tofu dish at the restaurant Di Shui Dong was so intense with spice and flavor. I had a delayed reaction in feeling the heat, and suddenly my temples were dripping in sweat, my nose was running like I had a cold and my eyeballs were on fire.

    I was feeling so jetlagged, and a Chinese person I was eating dinner with at the peninsula hotel's Catonese restaurant Yi Long Court told me to drink this soup to help with my strength. At first I heard it was made out of fish and mushrooms, then just mushrooms, then mushrooms and bamboo. It was not a taste I was used to, but I liked it. And I did feel better afterward.

    This fish at Yi Long Court was so incredibly light and yummy!

    ew8.jpgTea Time
    Bubble tea
    I've heard about bubble tea before, but really had no idea what it was or how it tasted. There is a tea shop on almost every corner of Shanghai, so I decided it was as good a place as any to try one. It was a win!

    ew9.jpgTraditional Chinese flower tea
    At the photo shoot, tea was served with little squares of plain tofu, strange, super-hard nuts that were good once you fought through the tough skin, pickled quail eggs and Chinese rice pudding that was hand-wrapped in leaves.

    ew10.jpgWorking Lunch at Lu Bo Lang
    Roasted duck stuffed with rice and peas
    Chinese people order many dishes and share, which is my new favorite way to eat. This duck was incredible. The sauce was rich and salty and the duck meat was succulent and moist.

    ew11.jpgMarinated duck tongues on peanuts
    I am not even sure about the taste of this dish, as I could not get past the texture -- but when in Shanghai...

    ew12.jpgBoiled fish in chili sauce
    This boiled fish was cooked with an insane amount of chili sauce and oil, and it was delicious!

    ew13.jpgFried radishes
    These were so good, I had to stop myself from eating all of them! The crust was warm and crunchy and the shaved radish on the inside was full of herbs and very flavorful.

    ew14.jpgScallops and mushrooms in coriander chili sauce
    This dish was so fragrant and wonderful. It reignited my desire to take Chinese cooking classes.

    ew15.jpgStir-fried fungus and pork in scallion oil
    I think "fungus" meant mushrooms, but elsewhere on the menu mushrooms were just "mushrooms," so I'll leave a big question mark over that one. the fungus was a little tough. it was good -- but not my favorite.

    Homepage photo by Billy Farrell/