At the dusty eastern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, the ancient city of Dunhuang marked the intersection of the northern and southern parts of the Silk Road. Meaning “Bright Beacon,” Dunhuang was a historical refuge for weary travelers peddling their wares along the trade route, and this confluence of cultures influenced the ancient city’s cuisine. Merchants brought spices and cooking techniques from the West that combined with Chinese imperial culinary traditions and local ingredients. Continue »
Tag Results for 'Jing'an'
Food lovers mourned the loss of Shanghai’s Muslim market when it packed up its stalls back in May, but the closure wasn’t too unexpected. Street food is always in a state of flux in Shanghai, and add to that the ethnic tensions that have developed between the Chinese majority Han and the Muslim minorities that butchered whole lambs outside Putuo’s Huxi Mosque each Friday, and it seemed like a matter of time before the weekly event was closed. Continue »
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).
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 »
Mention Anhui to most Shanghai residents, and you’ll most likely get a response along the lines of, “My āyí [maid] is from there.” Migrant workers from Anhui, one of the country’s poorest provinces, flood into Shanghai tasked with building the city’s skyline, massaging the clenched shoulders of white-collar workers and washing our dishes. Continue »
Good service in China is a relative term, and the longer you live here, the lower your expectations sink. The Michelin Guide allegedly won’t deign to cross over the Hong Kong border into China because they refuse to sully their white-tablecloth reputation by doling out stars to restaurants with subpar service. But the inspectors must have never entered a Hai Di Lao Hot Pot, or they might have to change their tune. Continue »
Dear Culinary Backstreets,
I’ve heard that Traditional Chinese Medicine dictates that you should alter your diet according to the season to stay healthy. What are some of the foods that Chinese doctors recommend when the temperature drops? Continue »
Earlier in 2012, Jing’an Villas – a square, block-sized 1930s-era housing area in the heart of downtown Shanghai – survived an ironic plan that called for permanently relocating all of its 3,000-plus residents in order to better “preserve” the historic neighborhood. Luckily, the plan was shot down in a party committee meeting. For now, at least, Jing’an Villas remains the perfect setting for trying longtang cai, simple, home-style alleyway food that features local favorites. After all, food doesn’t get any more homemade than when it’s being cooked out the back door of someone’s living room. Continue »
The three states of naan may not have any political standing, but they do enjoy culinary representation at one of Shanghai’s finest Uighur restaurants, Xinjiang Yining Yuanzheng, aka Xinjiang Expedition. We’re talking bread without borders, dough diversity at its finest, and a refreshing change of pace from the Chinese staple grains of noodles and rice. Continue »