5 Things You Need to Eat When Visiting Shanghai
One of China's biggest and developed cities, Shanghai is full of incredible restaurants and food, both foreign and local, from the traditional staples to modern, innovative, culinary creations. While the city has changed at a breakneck pace, beloved restaurants have often closed to make way for the new. However the classics are still ubiquitous and found all around the streets of Shanghai.
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Lion's Head Meatballs
These huge mammoth sized meatballs are made with fatty ground pork and mixed with tofu to make them extra juicy. They're usually served with either a lightly flavored broth and cabbage or a heavier soy sauce braising stock. You'll find them on the menus of most traditional restaurants focused on Shanghainese cuisine.
Xiaolongbao (Soup Dumplings)
The classic and ultimately most famous of the dishes from around Shanghai, xiaolongbao nowadays are popular almost everywhere around the world. The best of the best feature a thin dumpling skin with plenty of soup but still made so that they won't break easily. That way you get an explosion of the incredibly delicious soup as it goes in your mouth.
Another timeless classic, hongshao rou is found almost all over the country, with each region having their own special version. The pork belly is cooked over a long time to make it super soft and melt in your mouth, using a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, spices and sugar. Shanghai's version of this delicious dish uses less spice and more sugar, with a strong dark soy sauce flavor.
You'll see these little pockets of joy being fried up in small shops all over the streets of Shanghai. Similar to xiaolongbao, shengjian have more meat inside and less soup and are fried with oil on a large pan until super crispy on the bottom. The skin is much thicker too especially on the pleated side, allowing for an extra crunch to the texture.
A list of Shanghai staples wouldn't be complete without including some noodles and huangyu mian is a classic food icon of the city. Often translated into English as yellow croaker noodles, the fish is common in waters around Shanghai. The broth is made with simmered fish bones until it gets an almost creamy taste to it, added to firm, chewy noodles and pieces of flaky yellow croaker.
An important stop for anyone with an interest in filling their belly with delicious food, Shanghai is full of mouthwatering restaurants that'll keep you wanting to come back. Apart from the classics the city has long been famous for, you'll find a range of different restaurants offering food from all over the country such as Yunnan and Xinjiang, it's a great way to sample the extensive cuisine found in different areas around China.