Shanghai is a cultural jumble. A hundred years ago there was the ‘Chinese city’, surrounded by walls and filled with narrow alleys. Outside the walls, tens of thousands of British, American, French, German and other colonialists had carved out a series of concessions and built a replica Europe. But the borders were porous and the cultures all mixed to create a style of art, food, life and thinking known as “Haipai”: the “Shanghai school”. Originally a term of derision used by the stuffy traditionalists in Beijing, Shanghai embraced it as a description of its international spirit, informed by both Chinese and modern western culture, but beholden to neither. The fingerprints of this east-west spirit, first named in the 1920s, can still be found in its residential lanes (a blend of European row houses and Chinese courtyard homes), the Shanghainese dialect and especially in its food. Grandmothers still whip up the Shanghainese version of borscht at home, brought over by the Russians, though the lack of beets makes it more like a tomato soup, or cook a pork schnitzel (from the Austrians) for dinner. In the last few years, this spirit has started to re-emerge in modern restaurants, from Chinese chefs and the city’s international residents alike.