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A big story of the little chestnut

By Wang Ying | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2014-11-21 15:14

A big story of the little chestnut

Xinchangfa is famous for its roasted chestnuts. Photos provided to Shanghai Star

As the weather grows cooler, Shanghai residents look forward to indulging in their favorite snack—roasted chestnuts. Wang Ying reports.

For many Shanghai residents, autumn is a wonderful time of year. While the chilly winds may whip through the streets and falling leaves blanket the ground, the people of the city can ward off the coming winter by indulging in their favorite autumn snack - sweet roasted chestnuts.

As the weather grows colder, an inconspicuous lane, at the crossing of Middle Yan'an Road and North Chengdu Road, attracts long lines of people who wait patiently for a delicious snack.

At the front of the line is a huge iron pot filled with lumps of coal. A senior chef is stirring the golden sand and chestnuts with a big spade. Amid the sizzling sounds and thick smoke, the sand turns into a black powder, and the brown chestnuts start to crack, giving off an irresistible scent.

This has been a common scene for many decades, ever since Qian Fusheng and his wife opened a grocery store called Xinchangfa 新长发 in 1935.

It was their second attempt at opening a store. The couple's first store, Xinfaxing, opened in 1931, but soon closed because of poor management. Qian did not give up, opening Xinchangfa in 1935 with a secret weapon - sweet roasted chestnuts.

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