In the lead-up to the 2010 World Expo, the government tore down one of Shanghai’s most famous food streets, Wujiang Lu, so the city would appear more “civilized” in the eyes of businesspeople and tourists visiting from around the world. Sparkling cookie-cutter international brands replaced family-run hawker stalls, and Wujiang Lu’s fried bun purveyors and stinky tofu vendors were scattered across the city. Continue »
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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 »
Unwieldy English restaurant names often lose a lot in translation. Take Zhu Que Men, or “The Gate of the Vermillion Bird.” The name, which draws on Chinese astrology and Taoism, might seem a little highfalutin’ for a home-style noodle joint, but the subtext speaks volumes. Continue »
Girdled by the South China Sea, the islands and peninsula that make up Hong Kong have had to grow up rather than out. This geographical constraint has resulted in more than twice as many skyscrapers as any other city in the world (1,251 and counting), and many of those high-rises house malls jam-packed with some of the best restaurants in the city. Continue »
For visitors looking to get beyond Shanghai’s urban core, among the main attractions are the plentiful water towns that ring the outer suburbs in just about every direction. The name refers to the bygone reliance of these towns on water for irrigation and transport, especially in the form of canals. Continue »
At Culinary Backstreets Shanghai, we’ve already raved about the delicious regional varieties of roast duck – from local Huaiyang birds to the imperial Peking to shāo wèi (烧味), or Cantonese-style. While they each have their own unique breed of deliciousness, we are particular fans of A San’s fusion version. Continue »
Editor’s note: It’s Breakfast Week here at CB, and to kick off the series, we first head to a street corner in the heart of Shanghai that offers a remarkable variety of breakfast foods. Stay tuned all this week for more morning dispatches from other CB cities. Continue »
The hotpot’s storied history stretches back over a millennium in China. The cooking method originated in Mongolia, where legend has it that warriors used their helmets as makeshift pots, boiling strips of horse and lamb meat over campfires to sustain them as they made their way south to breach the Great Wall. As hotpot cooking proliferated, regional variations took their toll on the meal’s simplicity, earning it the nickname of “Chinese fondue” among some Westerners. Continue »
Editor’s note: This post is the first installment of “Best Bites of 2013,” a roundup of our top culinary experiences over the last year. Stay tuned for “Best Bites” from all of the cities Culinary Backstreets covers.
Deng Ji Chuan Cai
Culinary bucket lists are some of the best ways to discover our friends’ hidden gems: expat foodies are only willing to give up their proprietary favorites when they’re heading home. Continue »