At the Shanghai Night Market

It has been a fussy month. I have not had time to post as much as I would like to. However, that is the way it is sometimes. Family and work (the actual paying one) come first and fun (blogging) later. So this post about our wonderful street food tour comes with a bit of a lag. Looking back at all of the pictures it feels like yesterday.

When visiting Shanghai in the beginning of this month, we had booked just one tour: a food tour of course, through the night markets of Shanghai. Even though I have visited Shanghai many times, street food has never been on the agenda, so we turned to a company called UnTour for acting as our guide. They have received excellent reviews on Tripadvisor, and I must say I am not surprised at all why. We met up with our guide, Mitch, and 15 other foodies in the early hours of the evening (18:00). We had been told to wear comfortable shoes (as the term “wet market” does not refer to drinking) and casual clothes; and of course to arrive hungry. And hungry we were.

The buzz at Shouning Road
The buzz at Shouning Road
Crayfish staring back at me
Crayfish staring back at me
Delicious coconut dessert
Delicious coconut dessert

We started of at Shouning Lu (road), a street full of food stands mainly focused on Chinese barbecue skewers and local seafood (a lot of lobster). They call it lobster, we in Sweden would call it crayfish. We looked around a bit while our guide went around ordering different foods and then we made our way to an upstairs restaurant for having our meal in peace. A large plastic sheet was placed on the table and we were handed rubber gloves. I presumed this was going to be messy (good that I wore those casual clothes), and messy it was. We snacked on cooked lobster and around eight different meat and vegetable barbecue skewers (kebabs). They all had the same spice mix and were absolutely delicious. We also had some oven cooked eggplant with bread and lot of garlic. That was perhaps my favorite dish of the evening. For dessert we tasted Chinese puddings. Everyone tried about five or six different ones with flavors like mango, coconut, pineapple, tofu and tarragon. Some of them were not to my taste (like the bean curd), but especially the ones with wonderful sweet mango were fabulous.

We continued our journey through the streets of Shanghai towards another food market located next to Yu Garden stopping only briefly to sample some fresh lychee and hand-pulled noodles from North-China. We were also introduced to Jianping, a delicious local pastry with pepper and sesame filling. It was both sweet and salty at the same time and so absolutely mouthwatering that we went back to Shouning Lu the next day and bought three boxes to take home.

Jianping pastry with pepper and sesame filling
Jianping pastry with pepper and sesame filling
Not sure what this is but it looks delicious
Not sure what this is but it looks delicious
Tsingtao Beer with Chinese food is a perfect combination
Tsingtao Beer with Chinese food is a perfect combination

For the final leg, we tried out some more noodle and rice dishes, pizza-like local snacks and barbecued duck-neck. All the dishes were naturally served with Tsingtao beer. With its fresh taste and low alcohol content It is the best partner for Chinese street food.

All in all it was an amazing tour. It was a shame that we did not have any more spare time as UnTour also organizes breakfast and dumpling tours. The guides speak both good English and Chinese (they are mostly westerners who live and study in Shanghai) and it was wonderful chatting with them about how it is to actually live in the city. I used to dream about an expat job in China you know. It is the place where a lot of the action is these days. Shanghai in general is a wonderful food destination. You can sample Chinese food from all the different provinces in China. It is as different as sampling all the different European cuisines. So if in Shanghai, don’t be shy to try out as many as you have time for. An organized tour is a good place to start.

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