The Market’s Grand Opening

Jose Sanchez reviews the Grand Opening event of The Market , exploring what makes this international market in a traditional Shanghai neighborhood so unique.

When I started thinking about where to continue exploring Shanghai in my senior year, Smartshanghai had an interesting suggestion: the grand opening of The Market at 280 in Aomen Lu. After reading that, I sharpened my RA sales pitch and decided to make this my next floor event.  I told my residents that we would be getting free food, as that is how it was advertised, and noted that we might sit at a German hot dogs bar that in flavor and spirit comes as close to Berlin as any place in Shanghai.

That worked.

Once I had convinced them, my residents seemed to like everything about this food market, except getting there. The ride by metro took about an hour, as we were getting there from the Residence Hall in Jinqiao. The closest subway stop to the market is Jiangning in line 13.

But the inconvenient address is the reason this new eating adventure exists. The Market itself used to be a swimming pool but Estaban, the current owner, has transformed this small space it into a social hub with different stands offering international foods and drinks; such as Colombian Coffee, German hot dogs, Mexican enchiladas and tacos, and a lot of sweets and desserts like pies and chocolate pudding—all for affordable prices. It also has a rooftop. And rooftops in Shanghai are always a cool thing.

Yet the best part of the Market is the middle lower area (where I guess the pool used to be) which is now a cozy stage for different events. During the opening on September 10th, there was not only musical performances but also poetry readings. There are also sections where they sell clothing and handmade accessories.

In addition, an animal rights organization collaborated with the Market during the grand opening. SOS Animal Protection is a Spanish unofficial organization based in China that raises awareness about street animals (mainly dogs and cats) and tries to find these abandoned animals a new home. The organization brought some of their animals to the opening, which freely played in the rooftop with anybody passing by.

With an unusual degree of imagination, The Market smartly creates a new and fun international space in a traditional Shanghai neighbourhood in a successful attempt to blend the international and Chinese sides of Shanghai. Somewhere between exciting and unexplored, at least to expats, the Market’s location is the perfect one to engage a little further into the real Shanghai experience while still getting a taste of the world.

This article was written by Jose Antonio Cabrera Sanchez. Please send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Jose Antonio Cabrera Sanchez

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