Shanghai is a city with an ancient past and a modern present. It has been the center of Chinese civilization for more than two thousand years, yet it retains its unique atmosphere today. The Bund is lined by buildings from different eras that reflect the transition between Western and Eastern cultures. In addition to these historic sites, many new skyscrapers are also being built on both sides of the river. This makes Shanghai one of China’s most dynamic cities. For the visitor, Shanghai has everything to offer in terms of food: delicious local dishes, international cuisine, snacks, drinks, desserts, etc. There are plenty of street foods available here, but not all of them can be considered authentic or safe. So we have compiled this list of 10 MUST-TRY Street Foods in Shanghai.
1) Pu’er Huan
A classic dish among locals, Pu Erh Uan means “drinking tea leaves.” Traditionally made using only green tea, Pu Erh Huang was originally served during the Qing Dynasty as a refreshment after meals or at any other time when guests were visiting each other. But now you will find restaurants serving Pu’er Hug every day! Try their version because they know how to prepare it very well. A flavourful aroma wafts through your mouth as no other dumplings do. Served either steamed or boiled, the skin becomes crispy while inside remains soft and chewy. You may choose to eat it plain, marinated in soy sauce, or even deep-fried. However, if you want to experience true taste sensation, then go for the signature dish
2) Xiao Long Bao
Xiao long bao is another famous snack sold along the streets of Shanghai. These small soup dumplings come wrapped in bamboo leaves, which adds springiness to the texture. They are usually filled with pork floss, minced beef, egg white, and sometimes vegetables such as cabbage. Dumpling wrappers vary according to regions; some use wheat flour, others rice paper. Some places serve xiao long bao hot, whereas others prefer cold versions. Cold ones are often eaten alongside beers or whiskies. If you happen to visit Nanjing Road, don’t forget to stop by Yifu Yuan. Here, you’ll see people lining up patiently outside to buy a pack of 50+ freshly handmade dumplings. For dessert lovers, Xigui Tang serves yummy ice cream stuffed dumplings.
3) Chinese-style fried chicken
Chinese-Style Fried Chicken, otherwise known as Beijing style roast duck or simply Peking Duck, is a roasted whole duck or goose prepared using five spices: star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, fennel seed, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Although similar to Japanese yakitori, the main difference is that yakitori uses skewers, whereas peng jing DUI uses clay pots. Another major difference is that yakitori originates from various parts of Japan, whereas peng jingdui originates from the Shandong province in eastern China. The Chinese-style fried chicken is popular among visitors because of its light sweetness, crispness, tenderness, and juicy flavor.
4) Chai Pan wonton
Chai pan, meaning “tea pot” in Mandarin, refers to a wonton wrapper used primarily around Northeastern China, especially Hebei Province. Its thin dough is translucent, so it looks almost exactly like porcelain. Unlike regular wontons, chai pan does not contain meat nor seafood stuffing. Instead, it contains ground peanuts and vegetable oil. It can be found everywhere on street carts, but many vendors sell them in supermarkets too. In addition, there’s also a special variety called black sesame chai pan. Black sesame has a stronger peanut flavor than a normal chai pan. In Shanghai, one must try this delicious food at least once in their lifetime.
5) Cong You Bing
Cong, you bing, translated as ‘pure mouth bread,’ is a traditional Shanghainese treat. As the name suggests, cong you bing doesn’t have any fillings within the crusts apart from sugar. This makes the entire thing sweet enough without having to add extra ingredients. Cong you bing is typically shaped into balls before being baked, although triangles and squares are common alternatives. It has some variations regarding size and shape. There are big chunks of cong you are available, while smaller pieces are more commonly seen. Despite the name, cong you bing isn’t pureed bread, rather it consists of unleavened flatbread made from cornstarch and potato starch – hence the translation.
6) Pai gu nian ago
Shanghai cuisine includes lots of different local dishes built upon noodles, dumplings, and pancakes. A very well-known dish here is Pai Gu Nian Gao. The vermicelli was originally imported from Italy during the early years of the Qing dynasty. However, today it is mostly produced locally due to a lack of demand for pasta back home. Therefore Pai Gu Nian Gao came to represent Shanghai domestically. When you taste this cuisine, you will realize that it lacks nothing compared to Italian pasta.
7) Tea eggs
Tea Eggs, which literally means “egg wrapped in tea leaves,” is another classic breakfast item with origins dating back to ancient times. They were usually served in Northern China, where people liked strong flavors such as those associated with Pu’erh teas. Today they’re most often eaten in Southern China. The first written reference to tea eggs appeared in Lu Yu’s Classic Cookbook, which described how to make tea cakes by mixing together glutinous rice flour, yeast, salt, water, and raw egg yolks. However, these weren’t wrapped in tea leaves but steamed instead. Modern-day tea eggs generally consist of two wrappers: one outside layer and one inside layer. Most places selling tea eggs serve up both versions-the version with just one outer wrap tends to be considered inferior. Tea eggs are sometimes seasoned with Shaoxing wine, vinegar, chili pepper flakes, minced garlic, etc., according to individual preference.
The malatang, or braised pork belly in fermented bean curd sauce, became popular after its introduction to Hong Kong in 1949 when Mainland Chinese refugees arrived in the territory. Malatang is traditionally prepared using intestines stuffed with finely chopped lean pork fillet mixed with wheat gluten paste, scallions, ginger, spring onions, and other seasonings.
9) Duck neck
In recent decades, duck necks have become increasingly fashionable across Shanghai, especially among young urban professionals who seek out new food trends on their travels. In fact, many restaurants now specialize solely in serving duck necks, including Beijing’s famed San Xiangge. Duck necks can also be found at street vendors throughout the city, though prices tend to vary based on location.
10) Soy milk
In modern Shanghai, soy milk is consumed mainly as an alternative to cow milk. It is sold everywhere, even in supermarkets. Soy Milk comes in various flavors, ranging from plain white to chocolate brown.
Shanghai is not only famous for its delicious foods but also because of its unique culture. There are so many things to see and do there!. We hope that this list can help you plan your trip better. Book flights with Cathay Pacific Airlines to have a memorable experience in Shanghai.