Friday, May 2, 2014

The Best Street Food in Shanghai

When it comes to dining, Shanghai offers every extreme. Whether you're looking for multi-sensory experiences with celebrity chefs or entire restaurants committed to dumplings, you'll find them. But one of the city's most exciting culinary faces is its street food. For a truly local and delicious experience, here's a bunch of snacks that any adventurous foodie should sample while in Shanghai.

Jianbing at the Wulumuqi Lu Market

Jianbing are traditionally sold for breakfast, so most stalls selling them have packed up by 11am. However, there's a lady at Wulumuqi Lu Market who's much more committed than that, drop by anytime of the day to pick one up. A dish that originated in the province of Shandong, the jianbing is a type of Chinese pancake, made of millet flour and water and cooked over a fire. Filling is added in the form of egg, coriander, onions, soy bean paste and spicy chilli, and, occasionally, a deep-fried stick or wonton wrapper is added, for the crunch factor.

Rice balls (ci fan) at 100 Nanyang Lu

Another popular breakfast option is the rice ball and one of the best places to get it is at 100 Nanyang Lu, right near the corner of Xang Lu - a stall that's been operating for more than two decades. You'll have to wake up reasonably early, though - even if you have found one of those amazing Pudong hotels to stay in. The stall is only open between 7am and 10am.

It's not hard to figure out why the mighty rice ball has become such a staple. For a start, it's got enough carbohydrates and protein to fuel your day; secondly, it tastes wonderful. Common fillings include fried egg, special sauces, pork floss, fried dough and vegetables.

Wonton soup in the middle of the night

Every night at 11pm, a stall opens on Jinling Dong Lu, you'll find it between Jiangxi Lu and Sichuan Zhong Lu, and serves steaming hot wonton soup into the wee hours of the morning. It's definitely the place to be after a night out spent at the theatre or drinking in one of Shanghai's up-and-coming wine bars. Think succulent pork filling hugged in perfectly slippery wonton wrappers.

For vegetarians - tofu flower soup

Animal lovers, if all the talk of pork has got you wondering how you're going to cope in the realm of Shanghai street food, here's one for you: tofu flower soup. You'll find it at loads of eateries, but one of the city's finest is Fengyu Shengjian (281 Shaanxi Nan Lu), open between 6am and 8:30pm. Smooth, silky tofu is dressed with chilli, soy, seaweed, pickled radish and spring onions, inside a broth derived from curdled soy milk.

And dessert? Mung bean pie

If you happen to see a long queue of locals outside a food stand, the chances are it's selling the humble mung bean pie. Made of sweetened mung bean paste, it's the ideal post-meal sugar hit. Some of the best pies in town are sold at Jianlilai Lvdoubing (31 Lane 1725, Gonghexin Lu), open between 8am and 9:30pm.

Kathleen Bunn


Frosted Fingers said...

I don't know if I'd survive over there with their food! :)

Tricia Nightowlmama said...

some of it really looks tasty but some .. hmmm I don't know. I suppose if you grow up on the stuff you love it

Ty Watson said...

Everything looks and sounds tasty but I'm not sure if I could eat it, I'm very picky. But, I'd also try anything once though.

Mom Foodie said...

I love authentic Asian cuisine. We used to eat as a group when I worked at a Korean sushi bar... the stuff not on the menu was incredible.

HilLesha said...

Seems like an interesting place to visit! I'm not sure about the food, though. I could never get into Asian food (just rice). My siblings on the otherhand love, love Asian food!

Liz Mays said...

I'm such a picky eater. I'd be a mess over there, wouldn't I?

TerriAnn van Gosliga said...

I'd be all over that won ton soup! Since we found out my hubs can't have gluten - that means almost no Chinese food any more unless I cook it with something gluten-free!

Vanessa said...

I've always wanted to visit Shanghai. Looks like so many interesting dishes.

Anne - Mommy Has to Work said...

I'd probably try some of their food.

Sheri said...

The won ton soup looks great but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try much else.

Raijean of said...

I'm not usually one to try different types of food but that looks delicious.

Marcie W. said...

I always yearn to travel and have sworn that I would stick with authentic street food while visiting every destination.

Angela said...

I've never been to Asia. I definitely want to go and try the street food.

Simply Being Mommy said...

That soupy noodle dish looks delicious. I've got to make it Shanghai!

Donna said...

That won ton soup looks so rich and delicious!

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