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Shanghainese Food


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#1 changeup

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 09:16 PM

I've organized a few photos from my 3+ years in Shanghai.   Without too much commentary, these are what I understand to be traditional "Shanghainese" food dishes.

 

I'll skip "Xiao Long Bao" aka Soup Dumplings.  Easily found anywhere.

 

I won't skip #2 on the list though, Sheng Jian Bao, or (pan) Fried Soup Dumplings. Filled with pork and it's juices, the idea is to pop a little hole and pour in some vinegar to balance out the fat.

 

These first 3 are from Yang's, which is the main popular chain that serves them.  Zero frills here...

 

Cooking Pan:

 

25639358982_264cb2cfeb_z.jpg

 

A double order, with two flipped for contrast.  The vinegar in the foreground:

 

25639378712_820670c8bd_z.jpg

 

A glimpse at the porky meat ball and juice inside.   Insert vinegar and proceed at your own risk.

 

25129891154_d973ca3de9_z.jpg

 

These are from one of the better mom & pop neighbourhood restaurants that my guys liked to go to.  This pan is off the flame already.  Not much difference in appearance, but better taste:

 

25760325865_c10872e2b4_z.jpg

 

An Instagram video from this place:

 

 

Final product here:

 

25129881294_0b410c29a3_z.jpg

 

Finally some from a fancy restaurant:

 

25639356362_73387149a4_z.jpg

 

A LOT less oil involved with these.



#2 changeup

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 09:36 PM

Next thing I would think to talk about are noodles.  They have to fit some proper level of thinness to satisfy the Shanghainese, here they should be this thick:

 

25639355842_26a83fa299_z.jpg

 

Although these are "la de" aka spicy, nothing is really that spicy if it's in Shanghai.

 

Different place, different garnishes, same qualifying noodles & equally cheap:

 

25665259841_09121bc8a0_z.jpg

 

Lastly, the same type of noodles, but this time they are served dry, from a fancy/expensive place, and served in a very popular way - cooked in scallion oil with dried scallion strips (cong you ban mian = scallion oil tossed noodles). 

 

You can get about 10 times as much in volume for the same price if you got these from somewhere other than the (excellent) Mandarin Oriental dim sum restaurant:

 

25459633050_9ab146c08a_z.jpg

 

Although Shanghai is considered a part of Southern China by the locals, their relatively centralized location can be seen by the fact that locals eat noodles and rice somewhat equally.  Go North from here and it's mostly wheat based stuff. Go South and it's mostly rice base stuff.  If pressed to pick just one, I'd guess most locals would side towards noodles.



#3 changeup

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 10:11 PM

The third thing that would come to mind is a tie between hot pot and (what the locals refer to as) bbq.   I'll go bbq cause I only really like 1 or 2 hot pot places, and if it's crawfish season then bbq generally wins out.

 

Daniel wrote about BBQ twice:

 

http://mouthfulsfood...2015/?p=1334431 (lamb bbq)

 

http://mouthfulsfood...2014/?p=1289944 (during craw fish season)

 

To those, I'll add the mess a table of bbq can quickly turn into:

 

25944019575_e9a15d1925_z.jpg

 

Fancy pants versions of two very popular things to eat at bbq: 

 

First, scallops grilled on the half shell with glass noodles and garlic.   Not sure these are really Shangainese, but they show up at every BBQ

 

25760323055_7a13ffaa32_z.jpg

 

Secondly, crawfish. I forget exactly when these start showing up but they are SERIOUSLY popular, and (relatively speaking) somewhat expensive.

 

 



#4 changeup

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:39 AM

These are all my photos of more "traditional" Shanghainese dishes vs. "stuff people in Shanghai actually eat" that's above.

 

Tofu Skin rolls filled with pork from a fancy restaurant:

 

25129882564_31dcc37b27_z.jpg

 

The same roll served at a building cafeteria (top left), for much less money, along with the traditional sweet Shanghainese Gluten dish (top right):

 

25823240582_189d7d369b_z.jpg

 

Smoked Sweet Fish (yes, a lot of Shaghainese stuff is sweet):

 

25643429870_88843c8a09_z.jpg

 

Squirrel Fish (sweet and sour deep fried fish):

 

25734244836_ab2b8c7ea6_z.jpg

 

Kou San Si, which refers to three different ribbon cut items (ham, chicken and bamboo I think?) shaped in a bowl, then reversed:

 

25760326765_b44a972e18_z.jpg

 

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This is a seasonal specialty only available part of the year, but I'm not sure if it's traditional Shanghainese or just generally popular.  It's bamboo shoot shumai, with salted pork and available everywhere for a short period:

 

25760312035_b5b55512b3_z.jpg

 

Speaking of seasonal items, September through November is "mitten crab" or "hairy crab" season, when everyone goes mental over these small hockey puck sized crabs from nearby Yangcheng lake.  At almost any income level, the locals seem to find a way to eat at least a couple a week for 2 straight months.  I wrote about them in a thread here:

 

http://mouthfulsfood...crab/?p=1259754

 

This mitten crab meat (and roe/fat) also works it's way into a host of dishes, perhaps most traditionally tofu crab:

 

25459620840_b60134b7cd_z.jpg

 

Wearing your PJ's out:

 

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This particular lady was lined up for XLB in Yu Yuan Garden - there are no houses within at least 3-4 blocks.   So wearing your poofy PJ's out is totally cool with everyone.



#5 mongo_jones

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:50 AM

keep it going.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

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#6 Sneakeater

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:24 AM

Yeah.
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#7 AaronS

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:32 AM

this is terrific. thanks for taking the time to put this together.

what's on top of the fried fish?

#8 Behemoth

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 09:03 AM

The shumai with glutenous rice is a shanghai thing too, right? I did a cooking class there once where we made them. I still have the special rolling pin but somehow have never gotten around to making them for myself. 


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#9 changeup

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:38 PM

keep it going.

 

I'll post all quality photos I have for most of Asia that I visited as I go along through these.  Not sure how many more I have that cover Shanghainese stuff in particular, but I'll post more if I have it.



#10 changeup

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:44 PM

this is terrific. thanks for taking the time to put this together.

what's on top of the fried fish?

 

You mean the squirrel fish?  They take a lot of time to cut the fish - sort of like a (pardon the analogy) bloomin' onion.  Then they batter it and deep fry it, nothing more on top.   It's a literal translation, so someone at some point thought this made it look like a squirrel?   Then it's a vinegary sweet sauce that gets poured - more vinegary than what we're accustomed to.  No idea what gives it the reddish color.



#11 changeup

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:55 PM

The shumai with glutenous rice is a shanghai thing too, right? I did a cooking class there once where we made them. I still have the special rolling pin but somehow have never gotten around to making them for myself. 

 

I know it's a very popular breakfast, so I think so.  You can just duck into any 7/11 equivalent in the morning and get two piping hot sticky rice & pork belly shumai in a cheap thin plastic mini bag for less than a dollar.   And it's one of the few things I can think of where the cheaper versions seem better than the expensive ones. 

 

But there are some things that are now so universally served across China that's it hard to guess who it belongs to without some extra effort.   Red Roasted Pork Belly would seem to be very much a local thing until you're told it's from Hunan.  Or Chengdu.  Or whoever else claims it as theirs - it's served at almost every restaurant regardless of their actual source region.   The breakfast pancakes (jian bing) are also somewhat ubiquitous and popular, and depending on who you ask, or what variation you get, could be from one place or another.  

 

So I wouldn't be surprised if they are Shanghainese.



#12 Daniel

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:59 PM

 

 

 

Final product here:

 

25129881294_0b410c29a3_z.jpg

 

Finally some from a fancy restaurant:

 

25639356362_73387149a4_z.jpg

 

A LOT less oil involved with these.

 

I love these guys so much!   Great photos!  Thanks for doing this.. I am getting "homesick"  :)


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#13 Daniel

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:00 PM

 

 

Fancy pants versions of two very popular things to eat at bbq: 

 

First, scallops grilled on the half shell with glass noodles and garlic.   Not sure these are really Shangainese, but they show up at every BBQ

 

25760323055_7a13ffaa32_z.jpg

 

Secondly, crawfish. I forget exactly when these start showing up but they are SERIOUSLY popular, and (relatively speaking) somewhat expensive.

 

 

 

I love this preparation.. I really have to learn to make this.. I love the garlic noodles and shellfish..  So delicious.. 


Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#14 Daniel

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:03 PM

 

 

Speaking of seasonal items, September through November is "mitten crab" or "hairy crab" season, when everyone goes mental over these small hockey puck sized crabs from nearby Yangcheng lake.  At almost any income level, the locals seem to find a way to eat at least a couple a week for 2 straight months.  I wrote about them in a thread here:

 

http://mouthfulsfood...crab/?p=1259754

 

This mitten crab meat (and roe/fat) also works it's way into a host of dishes, perhaps most traditionally tofu crab:

 

25459620840_b60134b7cd_z.jpg

 

Wearing your PJ's out:

 

 

 

This particular lady was lined up for XLB in Yu Yuan Garden - there are no houses within at least 3-4 blocks.   So wearing your poofy PJ's out is totally cool with everyone.

 

I also try to eat this several times while in China... This tofu and crab roe dish I have not seen in the US.. So freaking good.. 


Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#15 mongo_jones

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 02:45 PM

i think it's called squirrel fish because it looks like the tail of a squirrel (which it does). seems to be another dish that's become popular elsewhere: our local favourite sichuan restaurant has it on their menu as well.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson