For 51 years, Mr Cen has been making woks in a little shed nestled in an old part of Shanghai.
Spanning 3 generations, this ancient Chinese art of the wok will soon be a thing of the past as urbanisation and industrialisation threaten to revamp this district and on a sad personal note, none of Mr Cen’s kids have the faintest interest in carrying on the family’s business. Now in his mid 70s, the bubbly and chatty Shanghainese maestro is the only surviving wok-maker in Shanghai – his rough and tired hands hammer away producing no more than 2 woks a day.
I bought 2 woks off him today and it only cost me all of RMB200 (£20, S$40). Price aside, that was the equivalent of an entire’s day work for Mr Cen and a superior craftsmanship second to none.
Make this a “Must Go” & do pick up a handmade wok along the way. This, my friends, is the penultimate keepsake for any visitor.
Shop name: Cen Rong Gen
Address: 214 Baoyuan Road, Shanghai, China.