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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top Foods to Try in Shanghai - You Can't Visit the City and not Eat these Delicacies!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Foods to Try in Shanghai - You Can't Visit the City and not Eat these Delicacies!

Known for its sky-high buildings and shopping malls, Shanghai also has its own unique cuisine which includes plenty of delicious dumplings and noodles - here are a few must try foods.


Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

These decadent soup dumplings are semi-transparent dumplings filled with aromatic pork and piping-hot broth. The filling is a combination of ground pork, scallions, seasoning, and a gelatin-like pork stock that melts when heated, creating the famous rich soup. Every kitchen in Shanghai has its own unique recipe for their stock, and whichever you have, you are guaranteed a mouthful of delicious, soupy dumpling.


Baked quail eggs

A common sight on any street food stall, the delicate looking quail eggs are baked in a small mound of slat for two hours, before they are dug out and served in a plastic container. Customers simply have to peel the eggs as pop them into their mouth as they go about their day.


Eel Noodles (Shansi Leng Mian)

The city is famed for its multitude of eel dishes, but you can't miss out on the Shansi Leng Mian - a street food take on a classic restaurant dish, the meal is served as two separate components, and hungry customers may choose to eat it separately or mix together. The first component is firm wheat noodles are served cold with a splash of brown vinegar underneath and topped with a sesame seed sauce. The second is the portion of eel, served piping-hot with a sweet braising liquid. Savour the contrasting flavours or combine them for a hot and cold mouth of heaven.


Sweet dumpling (Tangyuan)

Shanghai street food is generally savoury, and heavy on the pork, but there are a few sweet dishes the locals can't get enough of, and Tangyuan is one of them. An auspicious dessert, usually made during the new year or winter solstice, these sweet dumplings are made from glutinous rice powder and stuffed with a sweet sesame filling or crushed peanuts.


Scallion Pancakes (Cong You Bing)

Before you head back to your hotel or apartment, like Citadines Biyun Shanghai, for example, one of the service apartments in Shanghai, queue up for a mouthwatering Cong You Bing, a fried pancake that will help you end your day right. Locals have been known to line up for hours just to get their hands on these soft, buttery pancakes topped with scallions and pork.



Visit shanghai in June, and you'll see mountains of little green pyramids piled high everywhere. Zongzi is a rice dumpling of sorts that is wrapped in reed leaves and steamed. Usually made by little old ladies who make everything by hand - the tender leaves are filled with either red beans or fatty pork bits, glutinous rice and a duck egg, and then steamed for two hours.


Red-braised pork (hongshao)

So beloved is this dish that you can find it anywhere in Shanghai, from the smallest street vendor to the biggest restaurants. Large chunks of fatty pork are braised for hours in a combination of sugar, soy sauce, and fermented bean paste till the meat is tender and glistening red.