Shanghai’s farm country is closer than most residents imagine, especially when surrounded by the city’s seemingly endless forest of skyscrapers. But just beyond the spires is a huge, green oasis: Chongming. Somewhat smaller than Hawaii’s Kauai, this island at the mouth of the Yangtze River grows much of the municipality’s food supply. Continue »
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Although coffee culture is booming in China, the Middle Kingdom is still the world’s biggest consumer and producer of tea leaves. The drink is so important that one Chinese proverb claims, “It is better to be deprived of food for three days, than of tea for one,” and tea is included on the list of the seven necessities of Chinese life (along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar). Continue »
Hairy crab season is once again sweeping Shanghai’s diners into a frenzy, with the bristly crustaceans popping up on street corners, in streetside wet markets and, most importantly, on dinner plates. This year we’ve even seen reports of elaborate live crab vending machines hitting the streets in Nanjing and an attempt to start a black-market trade in German crabs. Continue »
Though giant pandas subsist almost exclusively on one single plant – bamboo – the same would not stand for the other, more human, natives of Sichuan province. Its capital city, Chengdu, was once famed as the start of the southern route of the Silk Road, along which exotic vegetables and spices were ferried inland from Burma, India and around Central Asia. Continue »
Strict vegetarians in Shanghai face a double-edged sword when it comes to staying meat-free. On the one hand, the country’s large Buddhist population means they are in good company. Continue »
One of China’s most successful franchise stories comes from Putian, a coastal city in Fujian with a population of about 3 million. The province is probably known best for the many who leave it, especially those who have been smuggled into the United States by snakeheads, and including domestic emigrants who move to hub cities, bringing their culinary traditions along with them. Continue »