Shanghai is a relatively new city in terms of China's long history and therefore doesn't have its own cuisine. However, this city has successfully refined the dishes of surrounding Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Through years of culinary practice and the assimilation of the art of style from other cuisines, chefs in Shanghai have started to create a style of cuisine particular to the region. Shanghai's dishes are usually characterized by their use of heavy and highly flavored sauces. The phrase "eating in Shanghai" refers to the all encompassing nature of Shanghai's cuisine.
The use of sugar is also quite common in Shanghai as compared to other regions and cities. Sugar is used almost in the same proportions as soy sauce, and often mixed to create not a sweet but rather savory taste. Households in Shanghai consume almost equal amounts of soy sauce and sugar. Visitors tend to be surprised when chefs reveal their "secret ingredient" to them. Some of Shanghai's main dishes include Da Zha Xie, Smoked Fish Slices, Shanghai pepper duck, Beggars Chicken, Red-Cooked Chicken and Xiao Long Bao.