On one of Shanghai’s busiest shopping streets, amidst the glittering Tiffany & Co, Piaget and Apple stores, Guang Ming Cun is housed in a nondescript four-story building. Continue »
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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 »
At noon, the line stretches out the door and there’s a noisy rumble of loud voices inside the Ruijin Erlu and Nanchang Lu branch of Fengyu (丰裕), a neighborhood staple that has fed locals for decades deep in the heart of the former French Concession. 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 »
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 »
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 feature, by guest contributor Gizelle Lau – a Chinese-Canadian food and travel writer based in Toronto – is the first in an occasional series on “diaspora dining,” covering the best places to find our favorite cuisines outside of their places of origin.
The history of Chinese in Canada – pioneers who left their native land in pursuit of a better life and future – is a familiar immigrant story. Continue »
The vast country of China has just one time zone, so Shanghai’s East Coast location means darkness comes early and most residents usually eat by nightfall, with restaurants often closing their kitchens around 9 p.m. But for those who keep late hours, nighttime brings out a chorus of pushcart woks and mini grill stands to street corners around the city. Continue »
Editor’s note: This week we are celebrating street food, in all its fascinating, delicious and sometimes offbeat forms. Each day, we’ll take a look at the top street foods in a different city that Culinary Backstreets covers. This feature from Shanghai is the first installment. Continue »
On the diner intimidation scale, Shanghai’s Chenghuang Miao Tese Xiaochi – which can be loosely translated as “City God Temple Snack Shop” – ranks pretty high, with aggressive lunchtime crowds and nothing but Chinese character-laden menus for guidance. But the payoff, a baptism by fire in authentic Chinese eating, is worth it. The hungry masses that congregate here have discovered a simple truth: the food here is quick, tasty and cheap – a gastronaut’s holy trinity. Continue »