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Shanghai Local Cuisines

Shanghai cuisine, sometimes known as Hu cuisine, is a popular style of Chinese food. It is not one of the Eight Major Cuisines of China but it has its own appealing style. Generally, Shanghai cuisine is divided into two styles - Benbang Cuisine and Haipai Cuisine. Shanghai's cuisine is closely related to those of the surrounding provinces -Jiangsu and Zhejiang - and taken together these are known in China as Benbang cuisine (lit means "local cuisine"). Haipai Cuisine, literally meaning 'all-embracing cuisine' is derived from the cosmopolitan culture formed in Shanghai in the end of the Qing Dynasty, while Benbang Cuisine, literally meaning 'local cuisine', is the traditional family style cuisine that has appeared in Shanghai over 100 years ago.

Features of Shanghai Cuisine

Shanghai cuisine always tastes fresh, mellow and sweet. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to enhance the dish. Sugar is also very common in Shanghai cuisine, especially when used in combination with soy sauce. Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, crab, chicken are "drunken" with spirits and are briskly cooked, steamed, or served raw. Shanghai cuisine usually has a great flavor and a bright color derived from soybean sauce and the oil. The use of sugar is another uniquness found in Shanghainese cuisine and, especially when used proportiaonally with soy sauce, the taste created is not so much sweet but rather savory. Household in Shanghai would consume as much soy source as sugar. Visitors are often surprised when the "secret ingredient" was revealed by local Shanghainese.

Representatives of Shanghai Dishes

The most notable dish of this type of cooking is "sweet and sour spare ribs". "Red cooking" is another popular style of stewing meats and vegetables in China. 

• Chinese mitten crab
The Chinese mitten crab is a hairy crab found in the Yangcheng Lake. It is normally consumed during winter (September to November every year). The crabs are tied with ropes/strings, placed in bamboo containers, steamed and served. Don't be intimated if you don't know how to deconstruct this delicacy, check out our 'how to' guide or ask the waitstaff at the restaurant for help.
 Chinese mitten crab
Mitten Crab

• Drunken chicken
Forget enjoying a meal while a bit inebriated, some of the best foods in Shanghai have already beat you to it. Of all the drunken varieties of dishes in Shanghai, the cold dish of drunken chicken is the most one. After the chicken is steamed and chopped into pieces, it then marinates overnight in a bowl of punishingly strong white spirit, or other hard liquors. Served chilled, the poultry is a heady, salty delight.

• Smoked Fish Slices
An ideal menu for those who like highly spiced food. The Smoked Fish Slices (fresh fish marinated and spiced to taste like smoked fish) make a delicious, unusual hors doeuvre, while the strong-tasting Stewed Pork Flavored with Dried Squid dish is offset by the vegetable rice to make a substantial meal.

Smoked Fish Slices

• Lion head meatballs
Lion head meatballs might not be as big as a lion’s head, but they are delicious anyway, sort of like the foie gras of meatballs with indulgent crab meat and a creamy texture. The delicate, porky nuances of these meatballs are quite irresistible with rice (lots of it).

• Xiaolongbao
A notable Shanghai delicacy is xiaolongbao, sometimes known as Shanghai dumplings in English-speaking countries.[1] Xiaolongbao is a type of steamed bun that is filled with pork (most commonly found) or minced crab, and soup. Although it appears delicate, a good xiaolongbao is able to hold in the soup until it is bitten. The dumpling, cleverly hiding its soup within its delicately pinched wrapper, has reached cult-like fanaticism in this city. Even though it burns the mouths and tongues of novice dumpling eaters

Shanghai Featured Restaurants

•1221 Restaurant
Address: 1221 Yanan Xi Road
Opening Hours: 11:00 am -14:00 pm,17:00 pm -11:00 pm

The décor is modern and stylish and the menu offers a mix of traditional and innovative Shanghainese cuisine that is very tasty. Try the 'la la ji ding' or spicy cold chicken noodles or any other of their fabulous cold appetizers. A unique dish is the stir fried beef with deep fried dough sticks, a mix of crispy and soft textures. Service is friendly and attentive.

•M on the Bund
Address: 7/F Guangdong Road
Opening Hours: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 6:15 pm to 10:30 pm
M on the Bund is one of restaurant that offers best Shanghai food. It is one of the best 100 restaurants in the world. The food has bee described as “eclectic European” and has stroing Turkish, Lebanese, French and Italian influences. In addition, the large terrace of the restaurant offerd unparalleled views of Pudong and the Bund.

Mei Long Zhen
Address: Lane 1081, 22 Nanjin Road
Opening Hour: 11:00 am – 2:00 am. 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

You can find traditional Shanghai food back in the 30s in this restaurant. Service with scowl but very efficient. It is a good place to try local specialties, such as Lion head meatballs, Smoked Fish Slices, etc. 

Eating in Shanghai

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