Ni Hao. (Hello, in Chinese) Travel along with Editor-in-Chief Jill Melton as she explores the streets and alleys in Shanghai and its fascinating street food.
Bikes are everywhere in Shanghai. It's almost impossible to cross the street. They transport people and food—as did this old bike, very common in the streets. But before we could eat, we had to walk through the park. Shanghai is definitely where I'm going to retire. Old folks are everywhere in the park doing their tai chi—in groups or alone.
The little permanent family-run food stalls that line the streets are the lifeblood and livelihood of the community. They're the source of income for the Shanghainese, but also pride, tradition and home--most of the owners live on top or behind their restaurants. Their food is cooked on the spot and made to order. Each restaurant has its own small kitchen, with a few humble tables, often inches from the hot oil or griddle.
As were most of the Chinese when I asked to photograph them. Very few spoke English, but a smile says it all. Small food stands are the norm here. This man was arranging his eggs.
I loved this interesting and super yummy dish known as Do hau. Soft, custardy, warm tofu is dipped from a cauldron, into styrofoam bowls, topped with dried shrimp, green onion, pickled veggies, hoison, chili paste and soy sauce. Eaten with a spoon, it was heaven . . . albeit a brief one . . . more food awaited. For a similar Recipe: Ma-Po Bean Curd
The pride and joy of Shanghai, and their most famous dish is xiao long bao...little steamed dumplings filled with meat and a hot broth. The best ones have paper-thin dumplings, and folks are passionate about whose are the best. The way to eat--nibble the outside, allowing some hot broth to flow out into a spoon held underneath, then pop the rest in your mouth, spooning up the broth, that has been mixed with soy and chili paste. For a Similar Recipe: New Year's Dumpling Delight
This noodle shop was the probably most intriguing stop. With a sleight of hand, this noodle maker turned a strip of dough into fine noodles in seconds. After a 15 second bath in a boiling cauldron, the noodles were dressed with soy sauce and oil—chewy, simple and delicious. This dish is called Zhong You ban mein.
These scallion pancakes were cooked on a typical street vendor griddle. This one was in a small crude storeroom. This particular vendor we went to has been making these pancakes for years and years.
Real fried rice. Rice is everywhere in China, and, for street vendors, it is typically prepared this• way—in easy to carry fried blocks.
Pancakes and flatbreads were also very popular. This is Dang Bing, an egg bread fried on a skillet, flipped and spread with a sort of sweet hoison sauce, chili paste, green onion and topped with a scrambled egg.
I've always avoided the hard cooked eggs in the convenience store, but these were delicious. These hard cooked eggs are boiled in tea, soy sauce and anise, creating a beautiful speckled cracked pattern on the egg. Delicious.
The street vendors never fail to have interesting and exotically prepared fresh ingredients for sale in their stalls.
Finally, tea. The tea service is done with an elaborate amount of not only tea, but utensils, brushes, cups, kettles, and little buddhas.
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