In our previous Shanghai Food – Snacks write up, we introduced some popular Shanghai Snacks and Shanghai Snack Streets. This article, we are back with more delicious Shanghainese Snacks as we take a deeper look in the wonderland of Shanghai cuisine!
Shanghai snacks are not only exquisite in look but delicious in taste too! Here are a list of Famous and Popular Shanghainese Snacks and where to find them!
Nanxiang Steamed Stuffed Bun / Xiaolong Bao
南翔小笼包 (nán xiáng xiǎo lóng bāo)
Xiaolong Bao (also known as soup dumpling or steam stuffed bun) is one of the famous snack Shanghai is known for. The Shanghai-styled Xiaolong Bao supposedly originated in Nanxiang Town in a northern suburb of Shanghai. Hence the Nanxiang Steamed Stuffed Bun is often known as the authentic Shanghainese Steamed Stuffed Bun.
The Steamed Stuffed Bun is well-known for its thin wrap and generous meat filling. Its meat is tender and well-flavoured. The Shanghainese Steam Stuffed Bun is small and exquisite. What makes it such a unique dish is – as you bite into the small bun, hot and delicious soup flows out!
The soup liquid in the bun is not pre-prepared. The soup is actually created by the meat jelly in the bun. As the bun is steamed, the meat jelly melts to form the thick and savoury soup.
Right way of eating Xiaolong Bao
- Carefully bite a small opening at the side of the dumpling.
- Savour the thick delicious soup inside first. You may sip from the dumpling opening or pour the soup onto your spoon. Be careful as the soup may be piping hot.
- Lastly, dip the dumpling with some vinegar. Depending on preference, you can also add some sliced ginger stripes. You may then finish off the delightful dish.
The pork meat filling is usually mixed with different ingredients during different seasons: bamboo shoot in Spring, shrimp in Summer and crab meat in the Autumn.
Variation of the Soup Dumpling
Xiaolong bao has since developed some variations. Different province may serve them in their own styles. One of the variation is a slightly bigger dumpling with a straw stuck from the top.
This dish has over a century of history. The decendents of its creator now still manages two restaurants located in downtown Shanghai, serving up hot and fresh Steam Stuffed Buns (Xiaolong Bao) everyday to long queues of patrons and food lovers.
The two restaurants are:
Nanxiang Mantou Restaurant:
(At the famous Shanghai Attraction – City God Temple 城隍庙 chéng huáng miào)
Add: 85 Yuyuan Laolu, Shanghai
Opening hrs: 7:30-21:00
Gu Yi Yuan Nanxiang Xiaolong
Add: 238 Guyiyuan Lu, Nanxiang Town, Jiading District, Shanghai
Tel: 021-59121335, 59126013
Opening hrs: 7:30-21:00
蟹壳黄 (xiè ké huáng)
The Crab-Yellow Pastry is named as such by its resemblance to the shell of a cooked crab. This Shanghainese pastry can be either sweet or salty depending on its filling. The savoury ones are stuffed with shallot oil, pork, shrimp or crab. The sweet ones contains sugar, roses, sweetened bean paste or Chinese date paste.
This snack uses oil-mixed dough and after stuffing with filling, wrapped with sesame and oven baked. The Crab-Yellow Pastry’s fragrant and cripsy texture makes this another Shanghai snack you have to try!
Recommended Restaurant to try the snack:
Add: 255 Yanping Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Fried Stuffed Bun
生煎馒头 (shēng jiān mán tou)
Shenjian Mantou or Fried Stuffed Bun is a popular Shanghai snack. The bun is soft and munchy while the bottom, being pan-fried, is crispy and fragrant. The wraps are made of semi-fermented paste and filled with pork, shallot and ginger. Soy, pepper and sesame further enhances its taste. Served hot, the fried stuffed bun makes for a great scrumptious snack!
Recommended Restaurants to try the snack:
Xiaoyang Shengjian Restaurant (Yang’s Fry Dumpling):
Add: No. 54 and No. 60, Wujiang Road, Jing’an District
Fengyu Shengjian Eatery:
Add: No. 48, Guangling 2nd Road, Hongkou District
Youlian Shengjian Restaurant:
Add: No. 45, Xinzha Road, Putuo District
Feilong Shengjian Restaurant:
Add: 1F, Dongtai Plaza, No. 2002, North Sichuan Road, Hongkou District
Add: No. 4-6, Lane136, Pudong Avenue, Pudong New Area
Pork Chop with Rice Cake
排骨年糕 (pái gǔ nián gāo)
Paigu Niangao (Pork Chop with Rice Cake) is a distinct dish of Shanghai. The pork chop is first marinated and boiled with sauce, oil, sugar, ginger and wine, while rice is beaten into paste and cut into small pieces of cake. The pork chop is then wrapped with the rice cake and fried briefly.
This creates a uniquely delicious dish, where the aroma of the meat blends perfectly with the crisp texture of the rice cake.
Recommended Restaurants to try the snack:
Two restaurants in Shanghai are specifically popular for their Pork Chop Rice Cakes, since 1930s. Each have their own style of preparation and taste.
Add: at the intersection of Middle Sichuan Road and Fuzhou Road, Huangpu District
Xian De Lai:
Add: No. 69, South Yunnan Road, Huangpu District
擂沙圆 (léi shā yuán)
Leisha dumplings are glutinous-rice balls which can have either meat or red bean or sesame paste as filling. The rice ball is then coated with powder to add to its flavour as well as prevent it from sticking to each other. The powder coating can be of sesame or red bean.
The riceball is chewy and finely coated with the fragrant powder. Matched with the sweet flowing filling inside, this Shanghai snack is irresistible to people of all ages and appeals especially to those with a sweet tooth.
Recommended store to try the snack:
Qiaojiashan Snack Store:
Add: No. 313, South Xiangyang Road, Xuhui District
You Dun Zi
油墩子(yóu dūn zi)
You can easily find YouDunZi being sold along Shanghai streets. The pastry is crispy, delicious and exceptionally satisfying, especially when you are getting a little hungry during your sightseeing!
Vegetable Stuffed Bun
素菜包子 (sù cāi bāo zi)
Vegetable Stuffed Bun, as its name suggests, has no meat in its filling. However, the taste is just as good as any meat bun, if not better and more unique. The bun is a soft white bread, while the vegetarian filling includes finely chopped green vegetables, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and marinated brean curd.
Vegetable Stuffed Bun have a history of over 70 years and can be found in many restaurants in Shanghai. It tastes fresh, light and delicious, so give it a try and you might just grow to love your greens.
Recommended restaurant to try this snack:
Chunfeng Songyue Vegetarian Restaurant:
Add: No.99, Jiu Jiaochang Road, Huangpu District (near Bailing Road)
馄饨 (hún dùn)
Won Ton is a popular dumpling in China. In Shanghai, there are commonly two distinctions of Won Ton- Big Won Ton (dà hún dùn) and Small Won Ton (xiǎo hún dùn).
The Big Won Ton are stuffed with pork meat and shepherd’s purse (a herb like plant). The Small Won Ton are stuffed with meat alone. The Won Ton wrap is very thin; half a kilo of flour wrap can produce 50 Big Won Tons or 70 Small Won Tons.
Won Ton provides a very satisfying meal or snack. It is usually served in soup – thicker broth for Big Won Ton and lighter flavoured chicken soup for the Small Won Ton.
Jin Shifu Won Ton Restaurant:
Add: No. 78, Sinan Road, Luwan District
Cold Noodle With Sauce
开洋葱油拌面 (kāi yang cōng yóu bàn miàn)
Cold noodle is a popular dish in Shanghai, especially during hot summers. Although a simple dish, the Cold Noodles with Sauce, offers the Shanghainese simple delights of a cool and refreshing light meal.
Add: No. 200, Wujiang Road, Jing’an District
The Small Shaoxing Chicken Porridge
小绍兴鸡粥 (xiǎo shào xīng jī zhōu)
The Small Shaoxing Chicken Porridge originated from a restaurant opened in 1947 in Shanghai. The founder and its chefs of the restaurant were from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. Serving their local chicken porridge dish and being a place the Shaoxing community would gather, it soon became known as “Xiaoshaoxing Chicken Rice Congee Restaurant”.
The Small Shaoxing Chicken Porridge is cooked with chicken soup. Served with chopped chicken meat, and with condiments like shallot, ginger powder and chicken oil, this savoury and sweet dish is not only delicious, it is also highly nutritious.
Recommended restaurant to try this dish:
Xiao Shaoxing Restaurant
Add: No. 69-75, Yunnan South Road, Huangpu district, Shanghai
Tel: 21-63260845 63203562
GaoQiao Muffin / Pastry
高桥松饼(gāo qiáo sōng bǐng)
Gaoqiao Pastry is a soft pastry with fruity fillings. The pastry’s sweet taste comes from its various fillings of different fruits and adzuki beans. It is a popular snack in Shanghai and especially so during Chinese New Year as one of the festive goodies.
Recommended place to try this snack:
Gao Qiao Shi Pin Chang (Gao Qiao Food Company)
Add: No. 25 Rui Jin Road (Junction of Huai Hai Zhong Road)
Learn Mandarin Words:
Learn Mandarin Phrases:
- nǎ lǐ yǒu hǎo chī de xiǎo chī
哪 里 有 好 吃 的 小 吃？
Where (can I find) delicious snacks?
- jiù zài zhè cān guǎn !
就 在 这 餐 馆！
Right in this restaurant!