Soothing Hunger in Shanghai
The natives of Shanghai, China are probably the luckiest people in the world in terms of having the best dining experiences. Living in Shanghai gives them greater opportunities to get a taste of the most delectable and mouthwatering food. Shanghai Cuisine may not belong to the so-called China’s Eight Major Cuisines, but what makes it truly special is its being a combination of the most delightful features of Chinese cooking styles. In addition, Shanghai’s chefs do not confine their abilities within their local cooking techniques. Rather, they are eager to take on the finest elements of foreign cuisines and improvise them to suit their own styles. Thus, whether one’s appetite calls for a taste of local or foreign cuisine, Shanghai is perhaps the best place to satisfy one’s cravings for appetizing yet budget-friendly food.
Traditionally called as Hu Cai, Shanghai Cuisine involves two forms, namely, Benbang Cuisine and Haipai Cuisine. Benbang Cuisine literally stands for ‘local cuisine’. This is a traditional family style cuisine which traces its origin from Shanghai more than a century ago. Primarily, the ingredients of Benbang Cuisine include a variety of vegetables and different types of fresh meat such as pork, chicken, and fish. To enhance flavor and appealing color, oil and soybean sauce are used in Benbang Cuisine. With its pleasantly fresh taste, Benbang Cuisine is somewhat similar to the specialty disher of Wuxi and Suzhou.
While Benbang Cuisine basically emerges from traditional home cooking styles, Haipai Cuisine developed in the multicultural environment of Shanghai during the last part of the Qing Dynasty, between the mid-seventeenth century and early nineteenth century. Haipai Cuisine literally means ‘all embracing cuisine’, probably because of its diverse cultural influences. It adopts the desirable aspects of various cuisines from all over China as well as from the western regions, subsequently modifying them so as to conform to native tastes. Haipai Cuisine is usually savored with fresh seafood such as shrimps, fish, and crabs. Being a blend of different types of cuisines, dishes of Haipai Cuisine vary in form, taste, and cooking methods.
When you visit Shanghai, never forget to go to well-known Shanghai Cuisine restaurants and share with the Shanghai locals’ their good fortune of being able to feast with delicious foods.
For truly authentic Shanghai dishes, it is best to dine at Shanghai Classical Hotel which has been in the food business since 1875. You will surely relish their Chinese specialties such as Fried Prawn, Ba Bao La Jiang, and Babao Duck. If you like to try the family style Benbang Cuisine, visit Lu Bo Lang, a popular restaurant among foreign tourists. Do not miss the restaurant’s crab bean curd, steamed crab stuffed bun, and Mei Mao Su. Lao Zheng Xing Restaurant also offers Benbang dishes. With its fried prawn, BaBao La Jiang, and stir-fried eel, your Shanghai dining experience will be indeed satisfactory. If you want to indulge not only your stomach but also your eyes, go to the highest Shanghai Benbang cuisine restaurant, the Jinmao Club Shanghai Restaurant. Enjoy the scenic view of Pudong and the taste of shark fin and seafood soup. If you specifically crave for crabs, Wang-Bao He Restaurant would be the best destination especially duirng autumn. You craving will be satisfied once you tasted steamed crab stuffed bun and Dazha Crab. Among high-class restaurants, Ming Xuan is recommendable with its signature dishes involving abalone, fin, and crabs. For European tourists who would like to taste Benbang Cuisine and feel at home at the same time, The Yongfoo Elite Restaurant is the best place to be. Arrayed in European motif, the resturant will soothe your hunger with their Ba Bao La Jiang and crab shark fin.
Your Shanghai experience will never be complete if you fail to taste these dishes. Come, soothe your hunger the Shanghai way.