As a renowned international metropolis of perfect blend of cultures, the modern and the traditional, and the western and the oriental, Shanghai can feast you with all the best food from home and abroad for all budgets. Apart from the local dishes of Shanghai, you will find not only the cuisines and featured food of other different regions in China but delicacies from all over the world. Vegetarian and Muslim restaurants are also available for diners who have special dietary requirements
Classification of Shanghai Cuisine
Shanghai Cuisine includes two styles - Benbang Cuisine (literally meaning 'local cuisine) and Haipai Cuisine (literally meaning 'all-embracing cuisine'). Benbang Cuisine is the traditional family style cuisine that appeared in Shanghai over 100 years ago. Using fresh fish, chicken, pork and various vegetables as the main ingredients, Benbang Cuisine always has a great flavor and a bright color derived from the oil and soybean sauce, tasting fresh, mellow and sweet.
Deriving from the cosmopolitan culture formed in Shanghai in the end of the Qing Dynasty, Haipai Cuisine absorbs the advantages of many cuisines from other regions of China and even western cuisines, and then adapts them to suit local tastes. With Fresh fish, shrimps and crabs as the main ingredients, the appearance, flavors and cooking techniques of the Haipai dishes have many variations. In recent years, Cantonese Cuisine has greatly influenced Shanghai Cuisine, which consequently makes the dishes less oily and more delicate with the use of more high quality and expensive ingredients.
There’re numerous local snacks in Shanghai, including Nanxiang Steamed Stuffed Bun--famous for its thin wrap, big stuffing, strong flavor and tender meat, Crab-Yellow Pastry—the round yellow pastry looks like the shell of a cooked crab, Fried Stuffed Bun-- with a thin and soft wrap, a golden-colored and crispy bottom, and delicious meat, Chop Rice Cake-- a fried snack mainly made of a big pork chop and rice cakes, Vegetable Stuffed Bun-- buns stuffed with greengrocery, mushroom, bamboo shoots and dried bean curd, Leisha Dumpling-- a kind of glutinous rice dumpling stuffed with meat, sweetened bean paste, or sesame, and Won Ton.
To satisfy your one-stop tasting, it’s a good choice to go to the snack streets clustered with restaurants and eateries in Shanghai. The main snake streets in Shanghai are Wujiang Road, Old Town God Temple Snack Street, South, Yunnan Road, Xianxia Road, Huanghe Road, and Zhupu Road.
The most popular snack street in Shanghai is Wujiang Road with a lot of Chinese and foreign restaurants clustered here. Many old restaurants along this road are famous for authentic and delicious Shanghai snacks. But they are not expensive and gain popularity among the locals and the tourists. Also, many western-style restaurants and cafes opened here recent years where you can try various kinds of western food in Wujiang Road and feel home in Shanghai.
With the name of 'Shanghai Snack Kingdom', the Old Town God Temple area is a time-honored and the largest snack street featuring the most famous restaurants and eateries in Shanghai. Snack Street is constructed following a style of Ming and Qing Dynasties in accordance with the architectural style of the nearby ancient Yuyuan Garden, restaurants in the Old Town God Temple.
South Yunnan Road is an old food street and a good place for Chinese cuisines lovers because restaurants here are mainly Chinese ones, focusing on Shanghai cuisines and Sichuan cuisines. Western restaurants and food can hardly be seen in this street.
Famous Shanghai Restaurants
Shanghai Classical Hotel
Specialties: This restaurant has been in operation since 1875, serving authentic and traditional Shanghai dishes, including Babao Duck, Fried Prawn and Ba Bao La Jiang.
Specialties: It is an old restaurant favored by many foreign leaders and visitors. It’s famous for its delicious Shanghai Benbang Cuisine and dim sums abd teamed crab stuffed bun, crab bean curd and Mei Mao Su are its signature dishes.
Lao Zheng Xing Restaurant
Specialties: It is one of the oldest Shanghai Cuisine restaurants. With simple and elegant decoration as well as traditional Shanghai Benbang dishes, it is popular with senior Shanghainese. Fried prawn, stir-fried eel and Ba Bao La Jiang are recommended.
Jinmao Club Shanghai Restaurant
Specialties: Being located at the 86th floor, this is the highest Shanghai Benbang Cuisine restaurant. Dining day or night, diners get to appreciate the charming scenery of Pudong. It has a nice environment and there are many recommendable dishes such as shark fin and seafood soup.