Shanghai has rebuilt itself in the last 20 years, and although the streets may now be stuffed with Audis, Mercedes, and Bentleys, the city’s humble street foods remain close to even the richest hearts. Add to that an Epcot’s worth of regional Chinese restaurants (and beyond), and you can start to get an idea of why this city needs 30,000-plus restaurants. Chef and food writer Christopher St Cavish, who has lived in Shanghai since 2005, shares the world of Shanghainese cuisine.
Left, Ia Jia Dumplings
Xiao long bao, or “little steamer buns," are Shanghai’s calling card. Also known as soup dumplings, the trick here is that the soup is on the inside. A hundred years after their invention in Nanxiang village, the debate rages on about the merits of a thin skin, the porkiness of the filling, and the time elapsed between being made and eating. These, from Jia Jia Tangbao, win high marks in all categories.
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