I enjoy sampling local foods when I travel and Soup dumplings kept coming up again and again when I was researching food and places in Shanghai, so I knew this was top of my list of foods to try while visiting.
We watched both large and small Soup dumplings being made in Yuyuan Bazaar on our first day, and I got to see that that the filling is set with gelatin so that it can be made, but turns liquid after it is heated. We were hungry to try them, so our guide took us to a restaurant called Shanghai Chic just outside the Bazaar to we could sit down and have lunch.
Our guide Lily helped us choose a few dishes off the menu to try, so we went with Soup dumplings, Beef with Pepper sauce which was beautifully tender, and lastly Pan fried dumplings with 3 dipping sauces.
Lily told us that the best way to eat the Soup dumpling, is to put it on your spoon, bite a little hole in the side and carefully suck some of the hot soup out without burning you mouth, then eat the rest of the dumpling – delicious!
Knowing that Soup dumplings were the food to try in Shanghai, I had gone to a local restaurant here in the US that specializes in Soup dumplings before visiting Shanghai, go give them a try. I liked them but I have to say, these authentic Chinese ones were definitely a step up from those, the flavour was so much better! You can ready more about our time with Lily as our guide in my post, Shanghai, our full day guided tour.
Food Halls and Markets are really fascinating places to visit too, you see all sorts of interesting, and cultural foods!
The first one I visited, near the Tianzifang shopping alleyways on Taikang Road, was called Taikang Foodmarket and seemed very local, with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and dried goods, as well as fish and meats. You get to have a real candid view of the locals shopping in a place like this which is interesting.
Also, while wandering the lovely shopping alleyways of Tianzifang, there were a few food stalls and one in particular caught my eye as it was serving steamed foods including lot of cute animal shaped steamed buns. Of course I couldn’t resist taking a photo! Read more about Tianzifang here.
The other Food market that I visited was Shanghai First Foodhall at 720 Nanjing East pedestrian shopping street. It has 4 floors, one of which is a food court which will satisfy your needs if hungry.
This one had more packaged goods up front and felt a bit more for the tourist purchases, but was still fun to explore as in the back were the meats and fish including of course ducks hanging up by their necks!
There was a lady demonstrating how they made these spun sugar nut flour cookies that they were selling and it was so interesting to watch how she pulled the strands of sugar out and mixed in the nut flour.
The cookies came in a number of varieties made from different nut flours, peanut, walnut, etc. and seemed to be a very popular to purchase. They let me sample one made from peanuts which was very good, so I brought some as a gift for a friend.
There was also a shop within the market called Ichigo which sold nice pastries, so for a snack I picked out an interesting savoury pastry bun that had little sausages on top and drizzled with a little sweet sauce and it was delicious!
Probably the most adventurous food that I tried while in Shanghai was actually on our hotel buffet, it was Chicken Claws!
I just took one to nibble on as I was fairly convinced that they were not going to be my cup of tea as we Brits say, and sure enough it was as I suspected, mostly gristle, bone and skin, not very flavourful and definitely not something I will try a second time. One thing I had wanted to try, but didn’t get around to, was some Crispy Duck, but I suppose that’s gives me something to try out next time.
I had noticed that China has it’s fair share of Western style coffee shops, and they seems to be very popular.
So while in Shanghai for the week, I did pop into both a Starbucks and a Costa to check them out. The Starbucks I visited was in the French Concession area at the corner of E Fuxing Road and Sinan Road and was in a typical French Concession style house on 3 levels. It has a great cozy feel, with a balcony upstairs and even a proper Coffee Lab. And the cakes looked far more interesting that what I have seen here in the US, you can see a photo of the Starbucks in my post about visiting the Tianzifang alleyways.
And in the Costa Coffee shop I was excited to find an English Trifle Latte on the drink menu and so had to try that out! I love how you get to discover different flavours and styles of foods while traveling abroad, I checked with my British friends, and that said that hadn’t heard of that flavour being served in the UK despite it being such a traditional British thing! Anyway, it was great and I have to say, much better than chewing on a Chicken Claw!
Date of visit: Late November 2017.