Expats in Shanghai often gather at certain places, such as Xintiandi, Tongren Road and the Bund. For many who are only able to say: Ni hao and Xie xie, it is amazing how they can pronounce those addresses to the cab drivers so soon after their arrival.
Julu Road is another of those often heard streets, packed with fancy restaurants and bars hidden within a selection of European style houses. Many contain beautiful, rare gardens.
Jasmine, now one year old, is one of those exquisite restaurants on Julu Road. Owned by a Chinese Australian who visited the city back in 1991 and then opened several restaurants, the 60-seat Jasmine provides fusion style cuisine that's always popular in Shanghai.
It is now difficult to identify exactly when fusion restaurants suddenly started to appear, just as it is hard to remember just when exactly it became normal to see groups of foreigners on the city's streets.
Chinese love fusion food because those restaurants are usually quiet and elegant, very different from the typically noisy and crowded Chinese restaurants they have grown up with.
Foreigners, on the other hand, are attracted to them because they can taste the flavors of Chinese food without worrying about strange ingredients or too much oil.
Rather than trying to integrate the completely different Chinese and Western styles of food, most restaurants, like Jasmine, fuse Chinese food with a Western environment - the music, the seating arrangements etc.
The first impression of Jasmine is that it is very white-the interior is pure white - white walls, white tables and chairs, and even white lilies hanging on the walls. The whole place has an aura of minimalism and tranquility.
The food is described as: "Exquisite modern Chinese cuisine from Canton, Beijing, Yangtze and Sichuan."
The principle for the food is the: "Two Nos" and "Three Lows"-no MSG, no additives, low sugar, low salt and low oil. Hence, most dishes-even the most unhealthy fried ones - taste much less oily than typical Chinese food.
For example, the prawns pastry, seems no different from those common fried prawn rolls, but they are cake-like rather than spring roll-like and this suits and preserves the prawns inside much better.
For its one-year anniversary, Jasmine will be presenting new dishes for customers to taste running through May 15. If customers give positive responses, the new creations will be added to the menu shortly after.
Address: 878, Julu Road