One of the best things about the Shanghai food scene is that it’s constantly growing and evolving. New restaurants are opening up every week, each one competing to serve unique foods in over-the-top-settings. While this is exciting, it’s always good to go back to basics and experience the Chinese culture that can so easily get lost in the ever growing metropolitan hype of Shanghai.
If you’re looking for cheap, authentic and never-changing grub, the street food of Shanghai is your answer. It’s Simple. It’s Fast. It’s Cheap.
Here is a list of the top 5 breakfast foods you have to try in Shanghai:
Jian bing 煎饼
A savoury crepe made from wheat and mung bean flour, this snack has people forming queues to get their fix before work. Inside the crepe is a strip of crunchy, deep fried tofu, sweet hoisin sauce, tangy pickled ginger alongside fresh spring onions and coriander. It’s all cooked on a large cast iron grill, ready in 30 seconds and incredibly addictive.
Photo source: SmartShanghai
Price: 4RMB (0.58 USD)
This is another favourite which, luckily, is available all day. The bread is light, soft and slightly sweet. The pork meat inside is rich in flavour but uses minimal spices, and it’s incredibly succulent. It’s guaranteed that the juices inside will drip down your chin!
Image source: The Kitchn
Price: 1.80 a piece (0.26 USD)
Spring onion flatbread 蔥油餅
I’ve heard different names for this bread, but the one that describes it best is “thousand layer bread”. Thin layers of slightly salty bread are made into one huge pancake, then cut into triangles for serving. The top layer is crispy, with sprinkled spring onions throughout and toasted sesame seeds. It’s delicious alongside a big bowl of wonton soup.
Image source: Pinterest
Price: 2 RMB for one portion (0.29 USD)
Fried dumplings 上海生煎包
Shanghai is famous for its dumplings. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but Sheng Jian Bao take the prize. Like a normal steamed dumpling, except these are fried on the bottom in oil to give an amazingly crispy added crunch (as well as a few added calories…) The meat sits inside its own soup and extra caution has to be taken when biting into these, they are known to burn your mouth! Dip them in rice vinegar and indulge.
Image source: Quintet
Price: 8 RMB for 6 (1.16 USD)
Tea Eggs 茶蛋
This may seem like a boring breakfast compared to the others and maybe not so pretty, but it gets points for being healthy. These eggs are first hard boiled before having their shells lightly cracked. They are then added into a big pot of black tea water and different spices, such as star anise.The tea seeps in through the cracks and gives the eggs incredible flavour. Luckily, these eggs are available all day long!
Image source: CNN Travel
Price: 2 RMB for 1 egg (0.29 USD)
These are the streetfood snacks you need to try when you are in Shanghai. It’s greasy, it’s carbs and it’s delicious. It may not be good for you, but let’s face it, nobody lives in Shanghai for their health!
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