The influx of migrants and immigrants alike places Shanghai as one of the ultimate spots to sample the various styles and flavours that China and the surrounding areas have to offer. In my five months here barely a day goes by where I do not discover a new and wonderful (or sometimes just plain unusual) food to try.
Although the restaurant scene is flourishing with the influx of new wealth and a growing middle class with the desire for the finer things, Shanghai’s culinary character is best understood from street level.
Not only is it possible find great, local Shanghianese favourites on almost every street corner, the migrant population from all edges of China has brought with it a diverse range of dishes and flavours.
Street food stalls vary from hole in the wall type places, with basic fitted kitchens to modified bicycles with worrying looking gas burners welded to them. There are noodle joints, soup stalls, kebab bbqs, bread stalls. All manner of food varieties and styles.
In this blog I intend to share some of the items I have found in the last five months here working and walking around the city. Already I have discovered so many tasty treats and meals on the streets of Shanghai that I have a backlog of photos and descriptions to add to this site. My current project is to try and name what I have eaten already and get an idea of how they are produced.
I will provide pictures of what I find where I can and with any luck find the name and provenance of the food, this is not so easy a task as it might sound for the following reasons:
-I am currently learning Chinese slowly.
-Some of the stall owners do not speak mandarin even if I did (Chinese standard form)
-Some items come and go so quick that research is hard.
-Some things don’t have a name or have a name which is pretty much just a description of what it is. A common conversation (through a friend who speaks Chinese) usually follows thus:
Me: “So what do they call that spicy flat bread thing?”
Friend: He says it is called “blah blah blah (something in Chinese)” it means the bread that is flat with spice.”
Anyway I will do my best to get as much information as I can and once I figure out some recipes I will post them too.
Please feel free to comment and ask me any questions, I will go out and try and answer them. More importantly feel free to tell me what it was I just ate, or any extra information you may have.
Okay, I promise to hit the streets for research purposes.
Thanks for reading, Alex