Snacks is the embodiment of folk wisdom, is an indispensable part of China’s food culture. In every city, there are so many fascinating speciality foods, is not just a simple matter of filling their stomachs but also a kind of sentiment. Because local speciality food usually reflects the life of the local people, a piece of past history and strong feeling of homesickness…
Shanghai China – the Pearl of the Orient has been the meeting point of prosperity since ancient times. With unique flavour, this city attracts tourists from all over the world like a magnet. The fascinating night scenery, the rhythmic sea culture like a flowing picture scroll, let a person intoxicated. If you want to know a city thoroughly, you have to integrate into the food culture of the locals. So, let’s take stock of the famous street foods and best snacks in Shanghai, how many have you eaten?
Best snacks in Shanghai
1. Sheng Jian – 生煎馒头
Sheng Jian Bao/生煎包 (aka Sheng Jian Mantou/生煎馒头). A lot of people say that Shanghai’s shengjian is not good, dead noodles, thick skin, sweet. In fact, perhaps you have eaten a “fake shengjian”. Authentic Shanghai pan-fried buns, with snow-white fluffy skin, solid and full of fillings, fragrant soup, crispy bottom plate. Just one bite will make you feel the charm and tolerance of this city.
2. Xiao Long Bao – 小笼包
With thin skin, tender meat, juicy and fresh flavour, you will fall in love with it after taking a bite! Especially the freshly baked Xiao Long Bao, one by one, snow-white crystal, small and exquisite, shaped like a pagoda, gently bite, the soup lingers on the tip of the tongue, leaving a long-lasting aftertaste. Remember, to eat Xiao Long should follow the four major mnemonics, so as not to burn. “Lift gently, move slowly, open the window first, suck the soup later.”
3. Scallion pancakes – 葱油饼
For Shanghainese, scallion pancakes definitely have a special memory and will bring back many fond memories. Just out of the pan of the scallion pancakes, round, golden slightly with a bit of porcelain bottom circle of the kind of flint red colour. Authentic Shanghai scallion pancakes, sprinkled with green onion, also mixed with crystal version of lard, scallion aroma, gently bite, first of all, full of crispy mouth, followed by a rich scallion aroma, just once you will fall in love with it, and can not help themselves.
4. Xie ke huang (Crab-Yellow Pastry) – 蟹壳黄
“Xie ke huang” literally means yellow crab shell and is a kind of Shanghai snacks. The name comes from the pastry’s appearance since it looks like the color of a steamed crab shell. It is a kind of baked cake with sesames sprinkled on it. The stuffing tastes salty or sweet.
The salty stuffing is made of shallot oil, fresh pork, minced crab meat or peeled prawns. The sweet stuffing is made of white sugar, roses, sweet bean paste or red dates (Jujube). The freshly baked crab shells are crispy, soft, fluffy and fragrant, and are a favourite among tea drinkers. Foreigners to Shanghai, must go to try, really good.
5. Begonia cake – 海棠糕
Begonia cake in Fengxian district is one of the famous pastry cakes in Shanghai. This cake was created in the Qing Dynasty, because the pastry is shaped like a begonia flower and named. Traditionally, the sweet and savoury Begonia Cake is made by putting the batter into a special mould and baking it, with a flour crust on the outside and a bean paste filling on the inside.
The freshly baked Begonia Cake exudes a caramelised sweetness, and when you take a bite, the oily and dense red bean paste mixed with the soft and fluffy crust is like the warmth of the winter sun. If you happen to chew on the crunchy sugar shell, the flavour will be even richer, which can be described as a combination of soft and strong.
A hot piece of cake, which was the daily life of the old generation of Shanghainese, has become a luxury nowadays. Apart from the attractions of the old town, shops selling the ancient method of making begonia cake are almost impossible to find on the streets.
6. Plum Blossom Cake – 梅花糕
It is said that plum blossom cake originated in the Qing Dynasty, and developed into the most characteristic snack of Jiangnan during the Qing Dynasty. When Emperor Qianlong went to the south of the Yangtze River, see its shape like plum blossoms, attractive colour, sweet but not greasy, better than a number of cakes in the palace, it will be given the name of plum flower cake. With the change of time, nowadays the plum blossom cake has been improved on the traditional basis, and the flavours have become more and more diversified.
7. Yang Chun noodles – 阳春面
Invented by the Shanghainese, were originally called “light noodles in clear soup”. There is no topping on the noodles, and the only flavouring is soy sauce, of course a little lard is also very good. It is said that Qianlong, who was travelling south of the Yangtze River at the time, ate a bowl of nameless noodles in the street, and while he was interested in it, he said that it was March, so he gave it the name of “Yangchun Noodles”. Many places in China make Yangchun noodles, and the recipe is pretty much the same, but Shanghai’s authentic Yangchun noodles are better than any other place. You should try it sometime!
8. Noodles with scallion oil – 葱油面
9. Leisha dumpling – 擂沙圆
Leisha dumpling is one of the best snacks in Shanghai. It was said that in the late Qing Dynasty, an old lady surnamed Lei sold sweet dumplings with soup for a living. In order to sell more, she tried to find ways to keep the dumplings fresh longer and she tried to coat the dumplings with dry glutinous rice flour, and she discovered that red bean flour was the best choice. Therefore, the dumplings are called Lei Sha Yuan or Leisha dumpling after her.
If you are lucky enough to come across an authentic Lei Sha Yuan in a bustling city like Shanghai, you must stop by and try it. This is the authentic taste of old Shanghai.
10. Little Shaoxing Chicken Porridge – 小绍兴鸡粥
Is one of the special snacks in Shanghai, was founded in 1947, because the founder and the main operation of the master are Shaoxing people, so the name “Little Shaoxing Chicken Porridge”. The dish is made of sanhuang chicken, white japonica rice and various seasonings. The chicken is white, smooth and delicious, and the porridge is green and bright with rich nutrition, which is a good tonic, the more you eat the more fragrant.
Recommend places to go to enjoy
The fascinating Shanghai night scenery, the rhythmic sea culture, like a flowing picture scroll, let a person intoxicated. However, more unforgettable, but those hidden in the streets and alleys of the snacks. Today, I introduce you to a few places in Shanghai snacks must go, take a look together.
1. City God Temple Snack Plaza – 城隍庙小吃街
- Address: Chongming District, Shanghai
When it comes to Shanghai snacks, the first thing that pops into your mind is the historic Chenghuangmiao Snack Street. When night falls, it is brightly lit and crowded. Nanxiang Xiaolong, the crystal clear skin, wrapped in tender meat filling, gently bite, the soup overflows, the aftertaste; Crab Shell Yellow, golden and crispy, the aroma of the nose, each bite is full of happiness; and the fried buns, the crust is crispy, the filling is tender and juicy, each bite makes people can not stop.
2. Yunnan South Road Food Street – 云南南路美食街
South Yunnan Road Food Street is another piece of snack land. Here are a variety of snacks, a variety of snacks. Seafood congee, the perfect combination of fresh seafood and dense congee, each mouthful is the gift of the sea; Chongqing small noodles, spicy and fragrant, so that people eat sweaty but still can not stop; and the pork ribs rice cakes, doughnuts, soybean milk and other traditional snacks, but also let a person as if back to childhood.
3. Yuyuan Shopping Centre – 豫园商城
Yuyuan Shopping Centre, this ancient building complex also hides countless food secrets. Shanghai specialities such as Nanxiang xiao long bao and crabmeat xiao long bao are available here. The exquisite pastries and candies are also a delight to look at and eat. In the teahouse, order a pot of fragrant tea, listen to the melodious sound of silk and bamboo, savour the leisure and comfort of Shanghai, it is really a great pleasure in life.
4. Tianzifang – 田子坊
- Address: 210弄 Taikang Road, Huangpu, Shanghai
Tianzifang, a place full of art is also a gathering place for food. In the cafes deep in the alleys, you can taste the creative snacks inspired by art; in the exquisite pastry shops, you can find those traditional and modern food. The handicraft shops here are also a highlight, allowing you to savour the food and feel the charm of art at the same time.
5. Xintiandi – 上海新天地
Xintiandi – one of Shanghai’s fashionable landmarks, has no shortage of food. The snack bars here are all unique, some incorporating international elements for innovation and improvement, while others adhere to the traditional production process to inherit the classics. Enjoying the perfect combination of food and scenery on the piazza makes you feel like you are in a dream world.