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Shanghai Dining

Shanghai enjoys a good reputation in Chinese gourmet circles, and numerous restaurants have sprung up here specializing in almost all of China’s regional cuisines, like Beijing cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Cantonese cuisine, Suzhou Cuisine as well as Shanghai local dishes. Shanghai doesn’t have its own official cuisine, instead it has integrated cuisines from Zhejiang and Jiangsu Province. Due to its advantageous position at the south of the Yangtze River there is a wide range of fresh water fish and shellfish.

The use of sugar is another uniqueness found in Shanghai’s cuisine and especially when used proportionally with soy sauce, the taste created is not so much sweet but rather savory. Every household in Shanghai would consume as much soy source as sugar. Visitors are often surprised when the "secret ingredient" was revealed by local Shanghai people. 

Some Local and Traditional Food and Snacks in Shanghai

Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Dumplings)

The Xiao Long Bao is the famous steamed dumplings of Shanghai. Unlike the buns in northern China, these buns are very small. The buns are usually steamed in containers made of bamboo. It is deeply popular with the tourists both home and abroad for its thin skin, meat stuffing and fresh flavor. Its stuffing are made with minced pork, a little ginger powder, salt, sauce, sugar and water. The dish is now popularized and consumed widely throughout China as a Dim Sum. 

Sheng Jian Bao

This is one the most famous snacks in Shanghai, with the delicious meat pie inside the dumpling, it will have rich juice when you bite it. The most popular three restaurants now in Shanghai where it makes best Pan-Fried Steamed Dumpling are “Feng Yu Sheng Jian”, “Fei Long Sheng Jian” and “Xiao Yang Sheng Jian”. There is one chain store of “Feng Yu Sheng Jian” on West Huaihai Road.

Da Zha Xie (Hairy Crab) 

Da Zha Xie is a special type of crab found in rivers, and is normally consumed in the winter. The crabs are tied with ropes or strings, placed in bamboo containers, steamed and served. There is little artificial ingredient added to the dish yet it tastes fantastically good. Da Zha Xie is usually consumed with vinegar. Locals are particular about when to consume male crabs and when to consume female crabs. 

Babaofan (Eight Treasures Rice)

It is a traditional sweetmeat of Chinese meal, especially prevailing in the south of China. Use sticky rice and eight dry and fresh fruits including sweet scented Osmanthus, red Chinese date, lotus seed, longan, etc. as the main material, so it is called Eight Treasures Rice. Braize the sticky rice mixed sugar, lard, sweet-scented osmanthus, then pour them into a bowl which holds red Chinese date, lotus seed and longan. After it is cooked, pour caramelized sugar over the rice and the Babaofan is complete.

Shanghai Wontons

Three Fresh means egg shredded, dried small shrimps and Seaweed, which is the soup made of. The thin skin wraps fresh meat and the shape is different with dumplings. It tastes spicy and smooth. 

Lion's Head Meatballs

Traditionally this Shanghai casserole dish featuring oversized pork meatballs and greens is made with pork fat and cooked in a sand clay pot. The large meatballs are meant to represent a lion, and the shredded greens are its mane.