Glitzy IAPM Mall on Shanghai’s Huai Hai Zhonglu, one of the city’s two main shopping arterials, seems a strange place to start to delve into the city’s food culture.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_separator color=”black” border_width=”10″][vc_custom_heading text=”Shanghai today is home to upscale global dining but search hard enough and you can still find local gems.”][vc_separator color=”black” border_width=”2″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”sidebar-page”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Glitzy IAPM Mall on Shanghai’s Huai Hai Zhonglu, one of the city’s two main shopping arterials, seems a strange place to start to delve into the city’s food culture. But as Lost Plate helps you discover, shadowing it a couple of blocks either side are hidden local eateries.
Shanghai for the late Anthony Bourdain meant two culinary obsessions, namely soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) and noodles. Unfortunately the famous Nanxiang version featured in Parts Unknown has succumbed to the tourist hordes. Instead Lost Plate takes you to a shop off Changle lu.
Behind a glass window a young chef dexterously wraps pork dumplings. “There are three important things with xiaolongbao. First the size – they should be bite size. Then there is the delicacy a good one has 20 pleats whereas many street vendor versions only have 10. Thirdly the soup should be light coloured. If it is dark they have added soy sauce and sugar because they are not confident of the taste” says Nick Zhang, guide and manager Lost Plate, Shanghai.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Crossing Huai Hai Central Road the groups call in on what was one of the first private restaurants in Shanghai after China opened up. Run by the same family for over twenty years it looks as if not much has changed during that time, and why indeed change when the food is this good? Most of the tables are conversing in the local dialect and not only is the menu here in Chinese but you also have to write down your order making it near inaccessible for outsiders. Food is a modern interpretation of Shanghai style. There is marinated beef covering baby bok choy with a raw egg on top, morning glory (water spinach) with a fermented soybean sauce, and finally deep fried winter melon chips.
Noodles were a solitary affair for Bourdain and given the comfort food reputation of scallion oil noodles many Shanghainese would agree. In a tiny shop just off the main shopping street noodles come topped with caramelised green onions harbouring tiny piece of pork which are then mixed. The experience is all about the food, Bourdain would have loved it. ◼[/vc_column_text][vc_basic_grid post_type=”ids” element_width=”12″ initial_loading_animation=”none” grid_id=”vc_gid:1542931169777-8bf7eba6-10fb-8″ include=”15463″][vc_column_text]
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© This article was first published in Oct-Nov 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.
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