One of the seven necessities of Chinese daily life, rice is eaten in many forms throughout the day, including – and especially – at breakfast. Congee is undoubtedly China’s best-known breakfast food, but less famous globally, and wildly popular locally, is the unassuming rice ball (饭团, fàn tuán).
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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 »
Walk along just about any street in Shanghai these days, and you’ll see an ever-encroaching range of Western brands, standardized brand signage and food franchises. As in other rapidly developing countries, the battle for consumer dollars and brand loyalty has meant more chains and mass-produced food. Continue »
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? In fact, over at Gastronomika, a new Istanbul culinary project, the food is served not only free of charge but also with an intriguing – and ambitious – backstory. Continue »
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 »
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 »