Drinking báijiǔ (白酒) always brings us back to our first illicit taste of hard alcohol – a shock to the system, going down fiery and leaving a shudder-inducing aftertaste on the tongue. And just as many first-time drinkers are left wondering where exactly the attraction lies, the same thing is true for baijiu – at least, until the aftereffects start to kick in. Continue »
Tag Results for 'Shanghainese'
Editor’s note: This is the third installment of “Spring (Food) Break 2013,” a look at our favorite springtime foods in the cities Culinary Backstreets covers.
In Shanghai, wet markets hold the telltale signs that spring is finally upon us. Stalks of asparagus as thick as a thumb spring up first, alongside brown and white bamboo shoots so freshly pulled from the earth that dirt still clings to their fibrous shells. Continue »
Lantern Festival (元宵, yuánxiāo, or “first night”) is the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year, and marks the last day of Spring Festival. This “first night” is actually the first full moon of the lunar new year, and in the Year of the Snake it lands on February 24. On this holiday, it’s customary for revelers to light red lanterns and eat sweet stuffed dumplings called tāngyuán (汤圆). Continue »
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. Glass displays in front offer a glimpse of the braised and dried meats for sale, and around the side you can peek in to watch flaky meat pastries being flipped in a flat wok. But it’s the long lines of middle-aged shoppers patiently waiting outside the building that make Guang Ming Cun unmistakable. During Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival, these lines can reach up to five hours long. Continue »
As the moon starts to wane each January, people throughout China frantically snatch up train and bus tickets, eager to start the return journey to their hometown to celebrate the Lunar New Year (春节, chūnjié) with their family. One of the major draws for migrant workers heading home is the chance to eat traditional, home-cooked meals. Continue »
In Shanghai, there’s a time and a place for taking part in the city’s rough-and-tumble street food scene, but sometimes you want to eat out knowing that your bowl of noodles will not accidentally become someone’s ashtray or that you don’t have to elbow an elderly lady out of the way for a seat. Continue »
To qualify as a Chinese Time-Honored Brand (老字号, lǎozìhào), shops must prove that they’ve been a profitable business since 1956. Only about 1,000 brands across the country have achieved this honor, an impressive number considering the tumult of the last 60 years in China and the damage to hundreds of historical national treasures. Among these government-endorsed venues is Da Hu Chun (大壶春), one of Shanghai’s oldest fried pork bun shops, which first opened in the 1930s, less than a decade after its specialty dish, shēngjiān mántou (生煎馒头), was created. Continue »
Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, zhōngqiūjié) lands on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, relatively near the autumnal equinox; in 2012, it falls on September 30. Also sometimes called Mooncake Festival, it is a public holiday in China and Taiwan on which families gather to give offerings to the full moon, float sky lanterns and eat mooncakes (月饼, yuèbing). Continue »
Does anyone say “use your noodle” anymore? Our grandparents used to admonish us with that idiom when we didn’t think a situation through, but the phrase seems to have mostly gone out of fashion along with polyester suits. However, deep in the former French Concession, one esteemed food vendor is definitely using her noodle to help her customers enjoy, well, noodles. Continue »
Any Shanghai denizen who has lived in the city for longer than a few months worships at the altar of xiǎolóngbāo (小笼包). These steamed buns of goodness – tiny pork dumplings with a slurp of soup wrapped up in a wonton wrapper – provide delicious fodder for debates among Shanghai’s fiercest foodies. Continue »