Shanghai, being a relatively new city in China, does not really have a cuisine of its own, but successfully refines all the work of the surrounding provinces such as Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Through years of culinary practice and the assimilation of the art in other styles of cuisine, Shanghai chefs have also created a style of cuisine peculiar to the region. Shanghai dishes are usually characterized by the use of heavy and highly flavored sauce.
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.
The following dishes are considered traditional dishes to Shanghai:
Da Zha Xie
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 few other artificial ingredients added to the dish yet it tastes fantastically good. Da Zha Xie is usually consumed with vinegar. Locals are also quite fussy about when to consume male crabs and when to consume female crabs.
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 Flavoured with Dried Squid dish is offset by the vegetable rice to make a substantial meal.
Shanghai pepper duck
(half or whole) fresh duck steamed with szechwan peppers, ginger and scallions until tender, lightly fried and served with plum sauce and steamed bread 10.00/19.00
Seasoned chicken wrapped in lotus leaves and baked in a dough pastry.
Red cooking is a popular cooking technique in eastern China.
Pi Dan (Preserved Eggs)
Deep flied duck, then coveredwith braised with the fresh Lotus leaf, together with some meat, shrimp, mushroom, preserved ham.
Xiao Long Bao (Little Dragon Bun)
Unlike the buns in northern China, these buns are very small and easy to swallow. The buns are usually steamed in containers made of banboo. The skin of the buns are very thin and the bun is very juicy. The dish has been popularized and consumed widely throughout China as a Dim Sum.
Chou Dou Fu (Smelly Tofu)
Ones 1st reaction is to hold their nose and eating it would be the last think to enter your mind. The smelly tofu is a popular local food mainly found on Shanghai streets. The tofu is fermented with many ingredients before being fried. Old ladies usually serve them on their little trolleys. Despite its odor, most foreigners love it after tasting it and its dirt cheap too!
Shanghai Featured Restaurants
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. An unique dish is the stir fried beef with deep fried dough sticks, a mix of crispy and soft textures. Service is friendly and attentive.
A. Opening Hours: 11：00-14：00，17：00-23：00
B. Add: 1221 Yanan Xi Road
Mei Long Zhen
Traditional Shanghai food in an authentic Shanghainese restaurant founded back in the 30s. Service with a scowl but very efficient. A good place to try lots of local specialities - shi zi tou (lionhead meatballs) and of course Shanghai dumplings (they even have crabmeat filling!). Prepare to be amazed by the guys who fill your teapot and sit back and enjoy a little old world Chinese style.
A. Opening Hours: 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm
B. Add: Lane 1081 22 Nanjing Road
M on The Bund
One of Shanghai's very best. The large terrace offers unparalleled views of Pudong and the Bund. The food has been described as "eclectic European" and has strong Turkish, Lebanese, French and Italian influences. Great care is given to freshness, quality and presentation. There is an excellent selection of wines to complement your meal and the dessert, especially the pavlova is superb. If you can't get a table, enjoy the scene at the very cool bar. Conde Naste magazine considers it one of the best 100 restaurants in the world.
A. Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.15pm-10.30pm
B. Add: 7/F 20 Guangdong Road
(Chinahighlights.com Shanghaifinance.com August 1, 2007)