All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Eileen Zhang’s Expensive Coffee

Posted: November 11th, 2009 | 1 Comment »

Noting a visit along the old Kiaochow Road (Jiaozhou Road) the other day to the old towel factory I should also have noted the crazy prices at the coffee shop on the ground floor of Eddington House, Eileen Zhang’s old residence. Despite the commies not liking her much Eileen Zhang (Zhang Ailing) remains a popular author in China and especially Shanghai. Some of her books have not been published but most are available (and all in Taiwanese editions) if you look hard enough. She lived in the apratment building in the 1930s where she locked herself away to write. The block itself gets a plaque and the author also gets her own plaque predictably with plenty of wrong information.


Eddington House is a well preserved art-deco building though now surrounded in a sea predictable modern mediocrity including the particularly uninspiring Swissotel – oh how the might have fallen, the building looks like one rather nice diamond among a lot of dirt and the construction at the junction of Nanjing Road and Jiaozhou Road is set forth to emit yet more pseudo modernist jerry built nonsense in the next couple of years.


On the ground floor is something called the Colourful Cafe or something that has a bookshop with some of Zhang’s work available. Not sure what she would have made of disinterested waitresses selling small cups of weak coffee for the astronomical price of RMB49 up (US$7) to RMB65 (US$9.5). A distinctly tacky little caff selling poor coffee is a sad tribute to a great author. Ho hum! Perhaps we should just be glad the building still stands amid the destruction around it.

One Comment on “Eileen Zhang’s Expensive Coffee”

  1. 1 mengmeng said at 4:50 pm on November 11th, 2009:

    wow, zhang ai ling must be ironically pissed off and probably write an nasty however delicate article about it, which might even brought more biz to the greedy cafe. that’ll be a what we call irony.
    like your blog very much, hope someone could do a same ‘rhyming’ for Beijing.

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