Getting to know the cuisine of Shanghai

Unfortunately unknown today, let’s go together to discover the flavors of the regional cuisine of Shanghai and its surroundings.

On IVthousand century, Zhang Han, the mandarin of the imperial court, left his post in the capital, unable to live beyond the perch of the Jiangsu Rivers and the brazenia soup of the West Lake. Throughout Chinese history, many emperors regularly traveled to the south to enjoy its charm and refined lifestyle. Over time, it even became a common Chinese expression for homesickness “to think of the pole and brassenia.”

A scientist’s kitchen

Shanghai cuisine is representative of one of China’s eight major regional cuisines: Jiannan cuisine. This region covers the southern part of the Yangtze: the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, southern Anhui and Shanghai. From a coastal zone facing the East China Sea, it transforms into a green landscape consisting of lakes, canals and the great rivers of the Yangtze estuary. It has a mild, humid climate and fertile soil.

Known in ancient times as the “Land of Fish and Rice”, this area has always been associated with the cultural life of Chinese scholars, intellectuals and retirees who spent their free time writing poetry and conversing in gardens and teahouses.

Today it is often maligned and considered bland compared to its famous Cantonese or Sichuan counterparts, but it is one of China’s richest gastronomic regions, where Chinese cuisine historically originated.

Sophisticated and subtle flavors characteristic of Shanghai

The gastronomic flavors of Jiangnan are sweet, light and refreshing, harmoniously blending with the seasons and water-filled green landscapes of the region. Chefs want the taste of the ingredients to speak for themselves without tricks. Therefore, it involves a quality selection of the main ingredients.

Not only fish, but also eels, hairy crabs, crustaceans and shrimps are grown from its lakes, rivers and canals. You will also find a wide variety of amazingly tasty vegetables: zizania (wild rice sprouts), bulb lily, asparagus salad, water chestnut, brassenia (a water vegetable similar to water lily), water bindweed, sprouting bamboo and lotus root, each tastier than the other.

Combining seasonal produce with rice vinegar, scallions, ginger and soy sauce, they create a cuisine known for its delicacy and beauty. Using a small amount of oil, usually canola, and a small amount of salt, it tends to be healthier and healthier than other Chinese cuisines.

Some foods you can taste in Shanghai

– Xiao Long Bao: These delicious little ones dim sum from Shanghai. You will find them absolutely everywhere! Usually filled with pork or crab, they are very juicy: a good Xiao Long Bao should not leak before being bitten.

– Beggar chicken: A legendary dish of Zhejiang origin, where chicken is wrapped in lotus leaves and baked in clay bread.

– Dongpo Pork: Named after the Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo, it is made with pork belly cooked for nearly four hours in a marinade of soy sauce and Shaoxing yellow wine, which gives it a special melting taste.

– steamed sea bass: Soft and easily digestible fish, perfect for the summer heat, steamed and served with bamboo shoots, spring onions and grated carrots.

– Ravioli stuffed with rice: A version of steamed dumplings filled with a glutinous rice filling in the shape of a small basket.

– Shanghai hairy crab: A well-known and delicate branded product, which is valued for the aphrodisiac properties of the female crab’s ovaries.

– Squirrel: Recipe from Suzhou: This tangerine fish is fried in a sweet and sour sauce with shrimp and bamboo. Dressage gives it a shaggy shape that resembles a squirrel.

Some restaurant ideas in Shanghai:

Bai Jia Qian Wei, 818 Mall, 5thousand floor, 818 Nanjing Xi Lu, 011-86-21-5382-0862

– XindaluHyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Lu, 011-86-21-6393-1234

– Mei Wei Zhai246 Shandong Zhong Lu.

Also consider visiting these cities for more foodie discoveries: Yangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, Shaoxing and Wuxi!


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