Street food in Shanghai is amazing, but it can be hard to know what to choose and it’s very easy to get stuck into buying the same thing every time! Whilst you’re out there, it’s important to try everything that you can, as the street food is really special (and it’ll save you money, too!).
Shanghai is the street food epi-centre. The food is often sweet, and quite oily, and due to it’s geographical location (the River Delta), fish, eels, crustaceans are popular on the scene – as well as water plants such as lotus root. Shanghai has a cosmopolitan population, so dishes from all over China can be found in local stalls as well.
1. Crab shell pie / Xie ke huang / 蟹壳黄
These can either be sweet or savoury, and are baked in a clay oven until golden. These are a great snack and are available all year round.
2. Soup dumpling / xiǎolóngbāo / 小笼包
These can be tricky to eat for the untrained, but are absolutely delicious! These are steamed dumplings that are filled with hot soup, hence the name – so be careful when trying your first one!
3. Green onion pancake / cōngyóubǐng / 葱油饼
These are best in the morning at about 6am when they’re being freshly cooked up.
5. Shaanxi-style sandwich / ròujiāmó / 肉夹馍
Sometimes referred to as a Chinese hamburger, this is a meat sandwich popular all over China. Commonly pork, it’s infused with 20 spices so is full of flavours.
6. Portuguese egg tarts / dàntǎ / 蛋挞
Originating from Portugal, these are commonly found in Macau but also of course Shanghai. They are a popular desert covered in pastry.
7. Pan-fried pork dumplings / sheng jian bao / 生煎包
These are fried in shallow oil, filled with pork, spices and are generally breadier than a regular dumpling. These are both soft and slightly crispy, and are something you definitely need to try!
8. Bubble milk tea / bōbà nǎichá / 波霸奶茶
Bubble milk tea is sweeter than other tea’s as it’s made using condensed milk, giving it a smoother taste. It can come in different flavours and is very popular in China.
9. Radish fritters / yóu dūnzì / 油墩子
These radish fritters are delicious and are filled with so many flavours. They are oily, crispy, sweet and you can add sauces and spices of your choosing, including chili to add a salty flavour.
10. Zongzi / 粽子
These are a mid-summer treat. It’s sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. These are a perfect snack when you’re feeling hungry on your travels. They come filled with different options such as pork, chicken or red beans and take 2 hours to cook to give the rice it’s perfect texture.
Want to know more about eating and drinking in China? Click here to learn about the perfect side dish with any of these meals, beer.