If there is one thing I LOVE about the Top 5 Destinations in Shanghai it is the food. When living in this part of China I found my eyes opened to culinary delights that I still haven’t been able to find in Chinese Dining in the UK. Even with how far we have come and how authentic our cuisine is, we still find that Chinese food has been amended for the English tastebuds, and mainly caters as a type of junk food takeaway. Much to my surprise when landing in China, the flavours are nothing like the english form I found in London. Before moving in fact, I disliked Chinese Food because I likened it to the local down the road.
You won’t find mere Soya Sauce on the dining in China, the flavours have far more depth. The rich Soya Sauce is still a major ingredient but it also contains alot of Chilli, Sugar, Anisee, Wild Mushroom flavouring, and various other spices. Unlike the oily poor clone of cuisine we see in Britain it has quite a kick to it and contains bits that you wouldn’t usually add such as odd peices of meat, and quite popularly, Frog. Now I am not a fan of all that so tried to stick to the pure breasts ect where I could but I found the flavours amazing.
My favourite Meal was the winter Hotpot. With optional bases such as the Numb and Hot to the pure Chicken Broth, it caters for everyone. Then you choose your vegetables and meats and plunge it into the broth to cook and boil. You then remove it an dip it in one or many of the dipping selections based before you before eating it. THe sharing of the hotpot makes the dining experience as enjoyable as the eating of the food. The depth of flavour increases as the dining lengthens as the juices from the meat and vegetables add flavour to the broth. My favourite Meat and Veg were the lean Mutton Slices, Mushroom Selection and the wilted Chinese Cabbage.
XiaoLongBao (Chinese Shanghai Dumplings)
Do not make the mistake of attempting them anywhere but in Shanghai. They are fresh made there and the flavour of the Pork is like no other. Usually filled with Pork, Crab or a mixture of both, these parcels of deliciousness are great for a winters day. You stab the chopsticks into the top and bite into the side to drink the broth inside the dumpling before dipping the rest into Chinese Vinegar Dip. Eating them with chopsticks takes practice but they are sooo good. My favourite location for these bad boys is either within Yuyuan Gardens (you can’t miss the queue of people) and Yunnan Lu, where there are many small shops making them fresh for you to eat.
Next door is also a place you can try baby birds deep fried.. not for the faint hearted!
DIMSUM At it’s best
Dimsum is in actuality a Hong Kong-nese delicacy where small portions of chinese delights are served. but something much similar is served in Shanghai’s Xintiandi District. It is not cheap but it is well worth a visit. Me and my partner ate here paying for a ‘Champagne Lunch’. The food was delicious! I recommend this restaurant as it is the best place for Dimsum that I found both in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
Restaurant Details: Ye Shanghai, 338 Huang Pi Nan Lu, near Taicang Lu, Xintiandi, Shanghai (Hotels should be able to translate this into Chinese so you can show this to a taxi driver)Tel：021-63112323.
The Xintiandi road can not be entered by car is discreet so dont get too frustrated if you can’t find it first time round, you’ll find it eventually! This area has the best dining in Shanghai so don’t miss out. More Info: http://www.privy.net/shanghai/go/eat/neighborhood/French-Concession or http://www.privy.net/shanghai/go/eat/neighborhood/Xintiandi
BAMBOO RICE STICKY PARCELS (Zongzi)
These are traditional Chinese foods eaten all year round but most popular during the Dragon Boat Festival. This follows the story about Qu Yuan, a chinese poet, who commited suicide by throwing himself into a river as symbol of nationalism. The Bamboo Rice Sticky parcels are said to be symbolic of his act, though the reasons behind this vary. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_boat for more information on this tale. These parcels are popular for locals who eat them as snacks or for breakfast. They fill up faster because of the glutinous rice and the parceling tradition is local as it is believed farmers used to take their lunches within leaves tied with string to keep for later in the afternoon.
http://www.Annieko.com does an amazing recipe for these treats on the website. Click on the image to see the full recipe or watch the video below: