In the Old City, on the corner of Sipailou Lu and Fangbang Lu is a great street food market. You might find it by accident if you've been wandering around Yu Gardens and became carried away on the human tidal wave sweeping you east down Fangbang Lu. You should be able to smell it long before you see it - the savoury scent of dozens of different foods being cooked to order that typifies a Chinese street food market. Enter through the ornamental stone archway and you're there.
Outside the stalls are makeshift fold-up tables and plastic stools. Just wander along until you find something you like the look of. I ordered 'liang pi', literally 'cold skin', not the most appetizing name I know, but this is a wonderful dish for a hot day (one so far since last October, not that I'm counting........) It's made from a cold rice starch sheet, steamed, sliced to resemble noodles, and then mixed deftly in front of you with bean sprouts, chili, peanuts, vinegar, sugar, tiny tofu cubes and coriander. The chili builds momentum as you eat, and the 'noodles' have a dense texture with a great bite, much firmer than regular noodles.
At the next door stall someone has ordered wok fried red-claw, and as the flames leap high and the smell of garlic fills the air, I feel very happy indeed.
Because I love street food so much, and because it is an integral part of a food-loving life in China, I'm working my way through all of Shanghai's street foods, one by one. This is Number 3 in the Shanghai Street Food series. Enjoy tasting them all!
Number 3 Liangpi - a spicy cold noodle dish
Number 4 Langzhou Lamian - hand-pulled noodles
Number 5 Cong You Bing - fried shallot pancakes
Number 6 Baozi - steamed buns, Shanghai style
Number 7 Jian Bing - the famous egg pancake
Number 14 Bao Mi Hua - exploding rice flowers
Number 16 Bing Tang Shan Zha - crystal sugar hawthorns
Number 21 Suzhou Shi Yue Bing - homestyle mooncakes
Number 22 Gui Hua Lian'ou - honeyed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice
Number 23 Cong You Ban Mian - scallion oil noodles
Number 25 Nuomi Cai Tou - fried clover pancakes
Number 26 Da Bing, Shao Bing - sesame breakfast pastries
Number 27 Ci Fan - sticky rice breakfast balls
Number 28 Gui Hua Gao - steamed osmanthus cake
Number 29 Zongzi - bamboo leaf wrapped sticky rice
Labels: food, Shanghai, street food, street life