Top 6 Shanghainese Restaurants in Shanghai

If you want to get technical, there is no 'Shanghainese food' per se. Rather, it's an amalgamation of more established culinary traditions from surrounding areas, particularly Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. But there is a host of delicacies, ingredients and cooking styles that have been popular in Shanghai for generations and, naturally, the Shanghainese have managed to put their own local stamp on things.

For example, braising meats in a mixture of rice wine, sugar and soy sauce, a method known as 'red braising', or hongshao, is particularly popular. You can find anything from pork belly to sea eel prepared as such.

Hairy crab is another famous delicacy. Every autumn, millions gorge themselves on these seasonal crustaceans. Then there is Shanghai's specialty: dumplings. Whether it's crispy, pillowy shengjian or delicate soup filled xiaolongbao, they are a treat revered throughout the rest of the country. There isn't enough ink and paper in China to tell you about all of the best local dining options. But these selections should be a good start.

1221 is a Shanghai stalwart that is particularly popular among expats. Its encyclopedic menu features an array of classics from yuan xia ren (stir-fried shrimps) to shaguo shizi tou ('lion's head' meatballs). Everything is brought out in huge portions to be washed down with hot tea poured from long spouted pots. Throw in a spiffy décor, and a tucked-away location and you've got everything you need for a Shanghai classic.



1221 Yan'an W. Rd, by Fanyu Rd

(6213 6585)

Bao Luo,

271 Fumin Rd (5403 7239)

The Chinoise Story,

North Building, Jinjiang Hotel, 59 Maoming

N. Rd near Changle Road (6445 1717)


124 Jinxin Rd, by Maoming Rd

(6256 0301)


41 Tianping Rd, by Huaihai W. Rd

(6282 9260)

Lao Zhengxing,

556 Fuzhou Rd, by Zhejiang Middle Rd

(6322 2624)

Even the most ardent detractors of Shanghai cuisine will concede that this city does some seriously good dumplings. It is an essential eating experience that is not to be missed while you're in town. Here is everything you need to know before you navigate Shanghai's luxuriant dumpling jungle. Jiaozi are crescent-shaped dumplings with pleated edges, usually filled with a mixture of meat and vegetables such as cabbage, mushroom or celery. Although their fillings can range widely from this norm, jiaozi are always wrapped the same way - in a piece of round water dough - and prepared by boiling.

Hundun (Wonton) are essentially jiaozi floating in soup. They tend to have the same range of fillings but the wrappers tend to be thinner and softened by immersion in hot broth. Xiaolongbao are a Shanghai specialty, filled with meat, seafood or crab roe. They are revered by locals and quickly earn the respect of visitors. The skin is very delicate, so these dumplings should be handled very gently. They are best when served alongside a dip of black vinegar and shredded fresh ginger.

Guotie are also known as pot stickers. These are basically pan-fried jiaozi. They are usually turned over prior to serving revealing an appealing crispy golden-brown surface.

Shengjian are a spherical species of Shanghai dumpling wrapped in a thick, pillowy, bread-like skin. They are pan panfried and crusted with sesame seeds. Like xiaolongbao, they are stuffed with meat that produces a delicious broth.

Shaomai are distinctively basket-shaped dumplings of rice dough filled with minced pork, mushrooms and glutinous rice seasoned with soy sauce. Zongzi (rice dumplings) are triangular delicacies wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed like tamales.

They usually consist of glutinous rice with some additional ingredients that may include red bean paste, yolk, dates or preserved pork. They are widely famous as the ritual dish of the

Dragon Boat Festival. Baozi (steamed buns) compete with jiaozi as dumpling staples. A particuarly popular breakfast food, they are big and rotund with a fluffy wheat flour skin. They are typically stuffed with pork or vegetables.

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