Shanghai street eats

Shanghai delivers all the flavours, whether you want to experience formal dining traditions at an iconic restaurant or join the locals for some sizzling street food.

While the city is brimming with exotic and exquisite food options, make sure you don't go past the Shanghai specialty of xiao long bao; a delicious soup with steamed dumplings, stuffed full of pork or minced crab.

Breathe in the enticing smells of pan-fried chili tofu, grilled lobsters and sizzling chicken gizzards as you seek out the perfect cheap meal.

A taste of the old

Shanghai restaurants don't get more authentic than the city's most famous eatery, Shanghai Classic Restaurant (Shanghai Lao Fandian). Opened in 1875, it still bears the hallmarks of its origins, particularly on the third floor where you'll find evocative old pictures hanging on the walls.

City God Temple of Shanghai, China.

You'll step back in time as you enter its ornate doorway; the building is a great example of traditional Chinese architecture.

It's not just the restaurant's history that makes it a must-visit either. Some say the Shanghai Classical Restaurant is the birthplace of Shanghai cuisine. Just about everything on the menu sounds delicious but if you're having trouble deciding, you can't go wrong with the Eight Treasure Duck (duck stuffed with rice, mushrooms, chicken, and beans), deep-fried shrimps, and the kou san si (strips of tofu, ham and bamboo). Before your meal, you might like to work up an appetite by visiting the nearby Old City God Temple.


Sizzling street food

You'll find no shortage of mouth-watering Shanghai street food in this bustling city, but if you're looking for the biggest variety in one spot, visit Fangbang Xi Lu.

Fried pigeons on sticks, Shanghai, China.

Situated in a part of the city far away from the bling of the new, it's a mecca of street food with vendors and regional restaurants all packed into one dense strip. Breathe in the enticing smells of pan-fried chili tofu, grilled lobsters and sizzling chicken gizzards as you seek out the perfect cheap meal alongside the locals.


Dumpling heaven

Shanghai dumplings are among the best in the world, particularly xiao long bao (soup dumplings), the city's specialty.

Dumplings, Shanghai, China.

These were supposedly invented by a street vendor in the late 19th century and now they're practically a Shanghai icon. The city's dumpling houses are fiercely competitive, which is great news for foodies.

If you want to taste the best, head straight to Jia Jia Tangbao or Li Long Fang. Another option is Yang's Fry Dumpling, a franchise with stores throughout the city. Xiao long bao need to be eaten quickly, but not too quickly. The soup is on the inside and it can be very hot. It's recommended you nibble the top of the dumpling first, to release the steam, then apply some of the sauce accompaniment. Bliss!

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