Shanghai cuisine

This article is part of the series:

Cuisine of China

Eight Great Traditions
American Chinese
Chinese Buddhist
Historical Chinese
Hong Kong-style western
Chinese Islamic
edit  (

Shanghai cuisine, known as Hu cai (滬菜 in pinyin: h ci) among the Chinese, is one of the most popular and celebrated cuisines in China.



Shanghai does not have a definitive cuisine of its own, but refines those of the surrounding provinces (mostly from adjacent Jiangsu and Zhejiang coastal provinces). What can be called Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, eel, crab, chicken are "drunken" with spirits and usually served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to spice up the dish.

The use of sugar is common in Shanghainese cuisine and, especially when used in combination with soy sauce, effuses foods and sauces with a taste that is not so much sweet but rather savory. A typical Shanghai household will consume sugar at the same rate as soy sauce, even excluding pastry baking. Non-natives tend to have difficulty identifying this usage of sugar and are often surprised when told of the "secret ingredient."

Beggar's Chicken is a legendary dish wrapped in lotus leaves, covered in clay and oven baked to steamy, tasty perfection - in olden times, it was baked in the ground. Lime-and-ginger-flavoured "1,000-year-old" eggs is another popular Shanghainese creation. The braised meat ball and the Smelly Tofu are also uniquely Shanghainese.

Facing the East China Sea, seafood in Shanghai is very popular. Locals though favor freshwater fish just as much as saltwater products like crabs, oysters, and seaweed. The most famous local delicacy is Shanghai hairy crab.

Shanghainese people are known to eat very little (an often target of mockery from other Chinese), and hence the servings are usually quite small. A famous snack in Shanghai, Xiao Long Bao (Pinyin trans: "little steamer bun;" Shanghainese: shoh lonpotzi, or shoh lon mudo -- Shanghainese often prefer the word "mantou" to "baozi") cooked in a small bamboo steamer, is now popularized throughout China as a Dim Sum. Xiao Long Bao, sometimes referred to as a soup dumpling, is a small meat-filled steamed bun unique because it contains soup stock, adding a sensual, surprising effect when eaten.

Due to the rapid growth of Shanghai and its development into one of the foremost East Asian cities as a center of both finance and contemporary culture, the future of Shanghai cuisine looks very promising.

Unlike Cantonese or Mandarin cuisine, Shanghainese restaurant menus will sometimes have a dessert section.

Shanghai Foods

Sheng Jian (Sun Ji - in Shanghaiese)

Locals often goto "Xiao Yang Seng Jian" for the best "Xiao Long Bao" (small steamer bun), it is a tiny little stall which sells pan fried pork buns, eaten dipped in vinegar.

La Mian (La Mi - in Shanghaiese)

La Mian (pulled noodles) traditionally a dish from Yang Zhou, just like all other Shanghaiese food, made into the list of shanghaiese cuisine by popularity. It is a type of noodle Pulled, in to strips of noodles using a single piece of dough. It is served in curry beef soup, with chopped corriander and slices of beef.

See also


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools