Shanghai is a food lover’s paradise with a rich culinary history that dates back centuries. From street food to high-end restaurants, Shanghai boasts a diverse food scene that is sure to tantalize the taste buds of any foodie. The city’s cuisine is influenced by both local and foreign cultures, resulting in a unique blend of flavors that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. In this article, we will take a closer look at Shanghai’s food scene and provide you with the ultimate foodie’s guide to this vibrant city. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer to Shanghai, this guide will help you navigate the city’s food scene and discover some of the best food experiences that Shanghai has to offer.
Introduction: Shanghai’s Food Scene
Shanghai is a foodie’s paradise that offers a unique blend of Chinese and international flavors. From street food to high-end restaurants, the city’s food scene is diverse and vibrant. Shanghai’s cuisine has a rich history and cultural significance, making it an essential part of the city’s identity. In this guide, we’ll take you on a culinary journey through Shanghai, exploring its street food, world-class restaurants, and diverse food culture.
Overview of Shanghai’s Cuisine
Shanghai’s cuisine is a blend of the flavors of nearby regions like Jiangsu and Zhejiang, as well as Beijing and Guangdong. The city’s food is known for its sweet and savory dishes, as well as its use of soy sauce, rice wine, and vinegar. Some of Shanghai’s most iconic dishes include xiao long bao, sheng jian bao, and braised pork belly. With its diverse and flavorful cuisine, Shanghai is a foodie’s delight.
Why Shanghai is a Foodie’s Delight
Shanghai’s food scene offers something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a delicious meal. From Michelin-starred restaurants to street food stalls, the city offers a wide range of culinary experiences. Shanghai’s food culture is deeply rooted in its history and traditions, making it an essential part of the city’s identity. Exploring the city’s food scene is a great way to experience its vibrant culture.
The Best Street Food in Shanghai
Shanghai’s street food scene is renowned for its diversity and flavors. Here are some of the must-try dishes:
Xiao Long Bao: The Perfect Soup Dumplings
Xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, are Shanghai’s most famous dish. Filled with savory pork broth and meat, these dumplings are a culinary delight.
Sheng Jian Bao: Shanghai’s Iconic Pan-Fried Buns
Sheng jian bao, or pan-fried buns, are a staple street food in Shanghai. Filled with pork and topped with sesame seeds, these buns are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Jianbing: The Ultimate Breakfast Crepe
Jianbing is a popular breakfast food in Shanghai. This savory crepe is filled with eggs, vegetables, and sauce and is perfect for a quick and delicious breakfast.
Where to Find the Best Street Food in Shanghai
Some of the best places to find street food in Shanghai include the Yu Garden, Xintiandi, and the People’s Square. These areas offer a wide range of street food stalls and vendors, where you can try some of the city’s most iconic dishes.
Exploring Shanghai’s World-Class Restaurants
Shanghai is home to some of the world’s best restaurants, offering a range of fine dining and casual options. Here are some of the must-visit restaurants in the city:
Shanghai’s Top Fine Dining Restaurants
Some of the top fine dining restaurants in Shanghai include Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, T’ang Court, and Fu He Hui. These restaurants offer innovative dishes and exceptional service.
Shanghai’s Best Casual Restaurants
For a more casual dining experience, head to some of Shanghai’s best casual restaurants, including Lost Heaven, The Commune Social, and Xinjishi. These restaurants offer a range of Chinese and international dishes in a laid-back atmosphere.
Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Shanghai
Shanghai is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants, including Fu He Hui, Xin Rong Ji, and Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet. These restaurants offer exceptional dining experiences, with innovative dishes and excellent service.
Hidden Gems for Foodies
If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, check out some of Shanghai’s hidden gem restaurants, including Jia Jia Tang Bao, the Deyi Shun Restaurant, and the Yang’s Fry-Dumpling. These restaurants offer exceptional food in unique locations, making them a must-visit for foodies.
The Influence of Shanghai’s Food Culture
Shanghai’s food culture has a rich history and has been shaped by the city’s regional and international influences. Here are some of the key influences on Shanghai’s cuisine:
The History of Shanghai’s Food Culture
Shanghai’s food culture has been shaped by the city’s history, which includes its development as a port city and its role as a cultural and economic center. The city’s food culture has also been shaped by the influence of nearby regions and foreign cultures.
The Influence of Chinese Regional Cuisines
Shanghai’s cuisine has been influenced by nearby regions like Jiangsu and Zhejiang, which are known for their sweet and savory flavors. These regions have also influenced the use of ingredients like soy sauce, rice wine, and vinegar in Shanghai’s cuisine.
The Impact of Foreign Influences on Shanghai’s Cuisine
Shanghai’s cuisine has been influenced by foreign cultures, including British, French, and Japanese influences. These influences can be seen in dishes like Shanghai-style fried rice, which was inspired by Japanese cuisine, and Shanghai-style French toast, which combines French and Chinese flavors.
The Rise of Western and Fusion Cuisine in Shanghai
Shanghai’s food scene has evolved over the years, and Western and fusion cuisine have become increasingly popular. Western cuisine, including French, Italian, and American, can now be found in many restaurants across the city. Fusion cuisine combines different culinary traditions, often mixing Western and Asian flavors. In Shanghai, this can mean combining Chinese dim sum with European pastries or adding soy sauce to a classic Italian pasta dish.
Western Cuisine in Shanghai
If you’re looking for some delicious Western cuisine in Shanghai, you won’t be disappointed. From Michelin-starred restaurants to casual diners, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the must-try dishes include French onion soup, pizza, and burgers.
Fusion Cuisine in Shanghai
Shanghai’s fusion cuisine scene is truly unique, and you’ll find some of the most creative dishes here. The fusion food scene blends different cultures, techniques, and ingredients to create a truly unique culinary experience. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the “xiaolongbao” (soup dumplings) with a twist, such as truffle and cheese or foie gras filling.
The Best Restaurants for Western and Fusion Cuisine
If you’re looking for the best places to try Western and fusion cuisine in Shanghai, head to places like M on the Bund or Lost Heaven for a fine dining experience. For something more relaxed, try Kommune or Egg for brunch or Mercato for Italian cuisine with a Chinese twist.
The Art of High Tea in Shanghai: A Unique Experience
One of the most unique experiences to have in Shanghai is a high tea. The high tea culture is deeply rooted in Shanghai and offers a true taste of the city’s history and tradition. High tea usually consists of a variety of teas, snacks, and desserts, and is a chance to slow down and enjoy the company of friends or family.
What Makes Shanghai High Tea Unique
Shanghai’s high tea is unique in that it combines traditional Chinese tea culture with British high tea traditions. You’ll find a variety of teas, ranging from classic Chinese green tea to black tea from India. The snacks and desserts offered during the high tea are also inspired by both Chinese and Western cultures.
The Best Places to Enjoy High Tea in Shanghai
For the best high tea experience, head to the iconic Peace Hotel or Waldorf Astoria on the Bund. Both hotels offer an extravagant high tea experience complete with live music and stunning views of the city. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, try the charming Teaology or the trendy Commune Social.
Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremonies
In addition to high tea, Shanghai is also known for its traditional Chinese tea ceremonies. These ceremonies are a chance to experience Chinese tea culture at its finest and learn about the different types of tea and their health benefits. For a truly authentic experience, visit a local tea house and enjoy a tea ceremony.
Where to Find the Best Coffee and Desserts in Shanghai
If you’re a coffee and dessert lover, Shanghai won’t disappoint. The city is home to numerous cafes, bakeries, and dessert shops that offer a wide variety of sweet treats and caffeine fixes.
Shanghai’s Best Cafes and Coffee Shops
Some of the best cafes and coffee shops in Shanghai include Seesaw Coffee, SPR Coffee, and Mellower Coffee. These cafes serve up some of the best coffee in the city, as well as delicious pastries and sweet treats.
The Best Bakeries in Shanghai
When it comes to bakeries, Shanghai has it all. Head to places like Farine, Le Pain Quotidien, or Baker and Spice for some of the best bread, pastries, and cakes in the city.
The Best Dessert Spots in Shanghai
For those with a sweet tooth, Shanghai has plenty of dessert spots to try out. From ice cream at Godiva to the famous French “mille-feuille” at L’Atelier, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the unique desserts at Heytea, which offers innovative tea-infused treats.
Conclusion: A Food Lover’s Paradise in Shanghai
Shanghai is a food lover’s paradise, offering a unique blend of traditional Chinese cuisine, Western and fusion cuisine, and high tea and dessert spots. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a casual brunch with friends, you’ll find plenty of options in this vibrant city.
Why Shanghai Should be on Every Foodie’s Bucket List
Shanghai’s food scene is simply amazing, with something for every palate and budget. It’s a chance to experience the culinary traditions of China, as well as the best of Western and fusion cuisine.
Final Thoughts on Shanghai’s Food Scene
Overall, Shanghai’s food scene is a reflection of the city’s vibrant and diverse culture. It’s a melting pot of different culinary traditions and cultures, creating a truly unique food experience.Shanghai’s food scene is one of the city’s biggest attractions and a food lover’s paradise. From street food to high tea, Shanghai offers a unique culinary experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something new to discover in Shanghai’s food scene. With this ultimate foodie’s guide to Shanghai, we hope to have provided you with some great recommendations to explore and enjoy the best of Shanghai’s cuisine.
What is Shanghai’s most famous street food?
Shanghai’s most famous street food is the xiao long bao, also known as soup dumplings. These delicious steamed dumplings are filled with broth and meat and are a must-try for any visitor to the city.
What is the cost of fine dining in Shanghai?
The cost of fine dining in Shanghai can vary greatly depending on the restaurant. On average, a fine dining meal for two people can cost anywhere from CNY 800 to CNY 2,000 or more, depending on the restaurant’s reputation and location.
What is unique about Shanghai high tea?
Shanghai high tea is unique because it combines traditional Chinese tea culture with Western-style pastries and desserts. In addition to the usual tea options, Shanghai high tea often includes local teas like jasmine tea and Osmanthus tea, as well as traditional Chinese snacks like mooncakes and rice dumplings.
Can I find vegetarian or vegan options in Shanghai?
Yes, there are many vegetarian and vegan options available in Shanghai’s food scene. Many restaurants and street vendors offer vegetable-based dishes, and some even specialize in vegan cuisine. However, it’s best to research ahead of time and ask the restaurant staff about any potential animal-based ingredients used in the dishes.