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Cuisines in Shanghai

Cuisines in ShanghaiShanghainese food is not known for being the best in China! However, over the years Shanghai has become a city that excels at bringing together many different kinds of cuisine.

This wonderfully modern and fashionable city has excellent European Continental cuisine in stylish restaurants such as "M" on the Bund and French, German and American cuisine are widely available here. 

There are a couple of excellent Indian restaurants in the Tandoor and Hazara. Italian, Indian, Thai, Mexican, Vietnamese and even Brazilian and Cajun cuisine are also on offer here and the style and decor in many of the city's best places such as Face and Ali YYs, is beautiful and unique. 

Beyond the various cuisine of the world, Shanghai is a center for the culinary culture of China. Here, you can taste famous dishes and culinary styles from all over China. Bifengtang is a great chain serving delicious Cantonese cuisine. Beijing, Yangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Fujian, Chaozhou, Henan, Anhui, Hunan as well as vegetarian and Xinjiang cuisine are all available with exceptionally high quality and authenticity in this city. Shanghainese cuisine too can be very delicious and 1221 is a beautiful place to sample the city's unique dishes. Explore our dining index for the best that Shanghai has to offer.

Cuisines in ShanghaiSome of the best and most interesting culinary offerings one can find in Shanghai include: Nanxiang Steamed Pork Dumplings, Local River Crabs, Vegetarian Steamed Buns, Chicken and Duck Blood Soup, and Niangao with Spare Ribs. 

Shanghai's world-spanning culinary styles, superior dining environments, cosmopolitan atmosphere and high quality of service make the city a haven for all those who crave variety and excitement on their plate. 

 Chicken and Duck Blood Soup

This Shanghai favorite is soup (known as Jiya Xuetang) that contains solidified blood as its main ingredient. In fact, the blood rather resembles dark red tofu and has very little taste. The broth used is a very light or slightly salty clear chicken broth with some spring onion added for a nice flavor. All in all, this traditional Shanghai snack is quite tasty. Don't be scared. If you are not totally disgusted by the idea to begin with, you may like it. It is available in places like the Old City God's Temple Laochenghuangmiao and Yuyuan area.This soup is said to be very healthy and good for you. The Chinese claim eating certain parts of animals strengthens the corresponding part on one's own body.

Nanxiang Steamed Pork Dumplings

Nanxiang Steamed Pork Dumplings (Nanxiang xiaolongbao) are a traditional snack of Nanxiang Township in Shanghai's suburbs and can be found all over Shanghai. These dumplings are made with a thin skin of dough and stuffed with a seasoned minced pork. The dumplings are then steamed in a bamboo steamer. Note that these dumplings are wrapped and sealed differently than other dumplings like jiaozi. We recommend taking a bite to let the juices cool. Otherwise, the juices could burn your tongue or spilt out on you. Then one can dip the dumpling into the dark Chinese vinegar provided to cool the dumpling to an appropriate temperature. In the city, there are two famous places to get Nanxiang Pork Dumplings. One is the area around the Yuyuan marketplace, while the other is the snack restaurants at the intersection of Tibet Road and Yan'an Road near People's Square. 


Niangao is a typical southern Chinese dish made with glutinous rice flour strips sliced into pieces and stir-fried with other ingredients.  One especially popular way to prepare Niangao is to stir-fry it with pork spareribs. This Shanghainese dish is known as Paigu Niangao.

Vegetarian Stuffed Bun

The vegetarian stuffed bun is the specialty of certain Yuyuan Garden and Old City God's Temple area snack restaurants. The bun itself is a light white bread. It is stuffed with finely chopped green vegetables, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and marinated bean curd with sesame oil and sugar as the condiments. It's quite appetizing in color, aroma and taste. 

You can find these in other parts of China, but the Shanghai has its own variety.

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