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Don’t-Miss Dishes in Shanghai

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Shanghai

Thanks to its location and cosmopolitan nature, Shanghai is known for the diversity of its cuisine, which mixes flavors and techniques from throughout China with its own dishes and ingredients. From dumplings to noodles to seafood, here are some of the dishes that you must try when you are in Shanghai.

 

Soup Dumplings (Xiaolongbao)

The iconic dish of Shanghai, these delicate thin-skinned dumplings contain a savory filling (of pork or pork and crab typically) and a fragrant hot soup that bursts in your mouth with an explosion of flavor. You can try them everywhere, but one of the most famous locations is just outside Yuyuan Gardens.

 

Fried Dumplings (Shengjianbao)

Unlike the more delicate xiaolongbao, these are made with a heavier dough that’s steamed, and then pan fried for a texture that’s both doughy and and crispy. A popular snack you can find just about anywhere, fried dumplings are usually made with minced pork, but also come stuffed with prawns and vegetables.

 

Noodles

There are many styles of noodles served in local restaurants. Shanghai’s contribution,cumian, is a thick-cut noodle dish that is stir-fried with meat, cabbage, and onions in a soy sauce-flavored broth. Also popular, especially late night, are scallion oil noodles (cong you ban mian) and Muslim hand-pulled noodles—the latter are usually served in a savory broth.

 

Seafood

Seafood lovers are spoiled for choice in Shanghai. Popular seafood dishes to try include squirrel-shaped mandarin fish (served with a thick sweet and sour sauce), steamed river prawns, cold-smoked fish, and freshwater eel (freshwater eel noodles are especially popular). Some local favorites are seasonal, including crawfish (summer) and steamed hairy crab (fall and winter).

 

Red Braised Meat

Hongshao, or red braising, refers to a special cooking style that's a hallmark of Shanghai cuisine. Meat (usually pork and sometimes fish) is braised in a thick, sweet mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, aromatics, and sugar for up to 24 hours until it’s so tender it melts in the mouth. It's a staple in home kitchens and restaurants, and you can try it just about anywhere in the city.

 

Beggar’s Chicken

Although this dish originated in nearby Hangzhou, beggar's chicken is also popular in Shanghai. To make it, a whole chicken is marinated and stuffed; it's then sealed tight in lotus leaves and baked in clay that hardens in the oven. The result is a juicy and aromatic chicken dish that bursts with flavor.

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9 Tours and Activities

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Late Night Food Tour in the Shanghai's French Concession

Late Night Food Tour in the Shanghai's French Concession

star-5
87
Explore Shanghai's former French Concession long after dark, tasting several local foods along the way, on this culinary walking tour. Learn about the history and culture of the Xintiandi and Zhaozhou Road areas through your guide's commentary, and leave the tour with your culinary and historical appetites sated.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$93.75
From
$93.75
Taking safety measures

Eat Like A Local: Shanghai Night Food Tour

Eat Like A Local: Shanghai Night Food Tour

star-5
549
Avoid the hassle of trying to find out where to grab a good meal while in Shanghai. This Shanghai food tour takes you off the beaten path as the sun starts to set so you can taste some of the most authentic regional dishes of the city. Pop into family-run eateries, and sample food, beer, and spirits well-liked by locals. Travel in a small group for a more intimate experience as you sample foods with a guide who also tells you about the city’s history and culture as you go.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$84.00
From
$84.00
Taking safety measures

Shanghai Local Food and Beer Tour

Shanghai Local Food and Beer Tour

star-5
164
Shanghai is one of China’s most delectable culinary capitals, but knowing where to go for the tastiest treats takes local know-how. Hit up four family-run seated eateries during this insider’s food crawl, topped off by a pint of craft beer at a local pub. You’ll venture far off the tourist track as you feast on 12 regional classics, made from recipes passed down over generations.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$69.00
From
$69.00
Taking safety measures

Secret Noodle and Wonton in Shanghai Alleyways with Local Beer

Secret Noodle and Wonton in Shanghai Alleyways with Local Beer

star-5
11
Nestled in Shanghai’s Old French Concession are a plethora of eateries selling noodles and wonton. Seek out the best backstreet hotspots on a 2.5-hour food tour that covers three critically-acclaimed restaurants, all renowned for distinctive noodle dishes as well as some local beer. Vegetarian options and a choice of departure times are available on this small-group tour, limited to seven food lovers.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$71.63
From
$71.63
Taking safety measures

Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai

Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai

star-5
385
Satisfy your taste for traditional Chinese food during this culinary tour in Shanghai. Make your way down the famous Yunnan Road, stopping at several restaurants that are local favorites. Try typical Shanghainese dishes such as scallion oil noodles, steamed buns, parched chicken, and soup dumplings with black vinegar. Learn about the history and culture of the quickly changing city through your guide's informed commentary. All tastings are included and add up to more than enough for a full meal. Tours are available from morning to late-night to experience the best of Shanghai's culture.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$67.00
From
$67.00
Taking safety measures

Experience Shanghai: Dumpling Cooking Class and Tasting Tour

Experience Shanghai: Dumpling Cooking Class and Tasting Tour

star-5
153
Immerse yourself in the rich culinary culture of Shanghai on a tour that includes a comprehensive cookery class. Pleasure your palate with local specialties like wontons, fried pot stickers and the city’s renowned ‘xiaolongbao’ (soup dumplings) as you discover enticing food stands with a knowledgeable guide. Uncover the secrets of Chinese cookery in a cooking class after your tour and learn to make delicious 'har gow’ (steamed dim sum shrimp dumplings), feasting on the fruits of your labor on completion. Receive personalized attention from your guide on this small-group tour, where numbers are limited to just 10 people.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.00
From
$85.00
Taking safety measures

Eat Like a Local: Street Breakfast Tour in Shanghai

Eat Like a Local: Street Breakfast Tour in Shanghai

star-5
178
Get a taste for Shanghai’s startlingly diverse food culture and its culinary specialties. A guide introduces Shanghai’s selection of pulled noodles, breakfast pancakes, and “xiaolongbao” (soup dumplings). Along the way, observe tai chi practitioners and water calligraphers in Xiangyang Park, and wander street stalls and a wet market, where you’ll see fresh Chinese dishes prepared before your eyes. This small-group food excursion, limited to eight guests, is also great for kids.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$80.00
From
$80.00
Taking safety measures

Early Bird Shanghai Street Breakfast Tour And Visit Fabric Market

Early Bird Shanghai Street Breakfast Tour And Visit Fabric Market

star-4
5
Combine eating, shopping, and sightseeing on a 4-hour Shanghai walking tour. With an experienced guide, taste four classic breakfast foods including the renowned xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) and visit a local food market where you watch a typical breakfast prepared before your eyes. Afterward, visit an antiques market and famous district for fabrics where you can browse hundreds of shops and get a tailor-made outfit if you like.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$88.00
Price varies by group size
From
$88.00
Price varies by group size

La mian and shaved noodle class + Wet market tour

La mian and shaved noodle class + Wet market tour

star-4.5
5
Don’t just eat Shanghai specialities, learn to make them for your family and friends during a noodle-making class that’s an ideal choice for food lovers and first-time visitors. From a professional chef, you’ll receive personalized attention in a small group limited to eight as you master the basics of making la mien, a hand-pulled noodle that dates back hundreds of years. Plus, you’ll take home a recipe booklet as a souvenir.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$86.16
From
$86.16