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[Mallcore]: One of Everything at Taikoo Li

The future will be scaled to infinity.
2021-10-12 12:00:00
Photos: Angela Leung
"Mallcore" is a series of columns in which SmSh writers explore the many gigantic and baffling shopping malls and complexes in this gigantic and baffling city, and then let us know about the fantastic, wondrous and / or shocking and terrible things in them, preferably from a Ballardian, dystopian, existentialist quagmire sort of perspective that cries out in agony about the disenfranchisement of the modern human condition.

Pudong is the spoilt child of Shanghai in 2021. Look at it over there, just getting whatever it wants. Within the past few weeks, we've looked at the huge Museum of Art Pudong, the new world's largest Planetarium, even an official Jurassic Park animatronics exhibitionthat screams parent-trying-to-placate-a-screaming-child.

Enter Taikoo Li, a needy attention seeker in the emerging Qiantan area.

Let's stop right here. So, it's another mall in Shanghai, yeah, but not just another mall. The sheer enormity of this one makes it noteworthy. It's got one of everything. You can choose to avoid it if you wish. We're just here to tell you, hey, this crazy thing is over there.

This is what it's all about.

New Mall Alert:

Taikoo Li is an open-air shopping complex with a massive array of domestic and foreign brands, ranging from local restaurant success stories to international fashion houses. The design concept of is somehow similar to The Roof near Xintiandi or Aegean Place in Minhang. In terms of positioning, it's joining the ranks of IFC in Pudong and Plaza 66 in that it's trying to forge a more upscale identity – no McDonalds or Burger Kings in sight.

They do have a Shake Shack, though.

Which is... classy these days?

The two conspicuous signs that usher you through the mall are Dior and Louis Vuitton.

This Shanghai version is the third location nationwide for Taikoo Li and the most over-the-top, daunting, and luxurious. Which is Shanghai's ethos these days so it fits right in. Even the Starbuckshere boasts that it's the first one equipped with a "Greener Store Lab", and we're already too exhausted to find out what that even means.

Welcome to Taikoo Li:

What to say about the architecture. It's corridors and walkways going this way and that on multiple levels into green zones and stone courtyards. It's divided into three sectors: "Wood Zone", "Stone Zone", and "Central Park". The whole venue covers four floors plus a basement. There are two bridges connecting the two parts of the mall, where you can overlook the Qiantan area: it's thriving. Most shops are open at this point, but there's still quite a bit more on the way.

Kinda feels like you can't walk half a block in Shanghai without seeing that "Coming Soon" canvas scaffolding these days.

The terrace is mainly for wellness events, where you can also find independent vendors. The Cheesecake Factoryand another Tsutaya Booksare on the way, along with a multi-sensory cinemaMOVIE MOVIE by Broadway Cinemas.

The Experience:

Packed, packed, packed, and deeply existential. Dining spaces in particular. Everything is crowded, particularly at lunch. Lines leading from inside to outside the venues. Grrrrr.


It's also something of a tourist attraction, given its... novelty?

The Area:

Qiantan. Geographically, it's situated to the east of Huangpu River in Pudong. The closest metro station is Oriental Sports Center along Line 6/8/11, which gives you direct access to Taikoo Li and other recent constructions. The area is growing from a no-man's land to reinventing itself as a shopping-slash-lifestyle destination. Apart from the most popular landmark Taikoo Li, there are also Shangri-La, Crystal Plaza and a few more. It's similar to Nanjing Lu – except that it's in the middle of nowhere.

Food and Drinks Inside (Or, Rather, Outside):

It's a lifestyle website Directory Listing Manager's nightmare. It's got one of everything. If it's a Shanghai F&B venture that can be scaled, it has been scaled to here. A-sides include the aforementioned Shake Shack, Craig Willis'La Strada, Brownstone, Vesta Bistro...

In terms of Asian restaurants, the setup is sort of like IAPM in Xuhui, they have a comprehensive mix of Din Tai Fung, Dafu Dong, Sen-Ryo, Cou Cou Hot Pot, Men Wah Bing Teng, Ji Shi Constellation,to name a few.

For cafes, surely, they've got established chains like % Arabica, Peet's, Seesaw, M Stand, and more; a handful of bubble tea shops like Kokoro and Other Tea; you also won't miss La Parisienne for French pastries and desserts (not sure why it got a low rating on Dianping, it's actually nice); along with one of the bestest chocolate shops Venchi– which comes with double price than the origin country Italy.

On the basement, they host the most old-school, affordable food court Dashidai (it's called Food Republichere) with a range of Chinese food like Hainanese Chickens, Xiaolong, blah blah. Possibly the most affordable place there, so it's extremely busy during lunch hours, with a few bao'an at the entrance. It's like trying to get into a concert venue.

Currently still under construction are Cheesecake Factory, Le Coq, Spanish Ham Bar, BoboLee(of course they will grab the chance to stand out on another rooftop), Lenotre, the ice-cream king Luneurs, and a couple of Oriental blends.

Green Common the veggie restaurant has also sorted themselves out with a spacious home on the top floor inside the mall, but sadly without outdoor seating.

Who Is Going:

Everyone in the universe in Pudong – as a lot of this stuff is new on this side and they no longer have to cross a river for it. Basically, everything here is a link in the chain back to Puxi, though, so we're not sure what would draw you out for a special trip.

At least you know where another Shake Shack and / or Cheesecake Factory is if you find yourself in the area.