Eating in Shanghai Part 1: Food Around the Youth Hostel

June 8, 2011 at 2:30 am (Food, Shanghai)

We arrived in Taiyuan on June 6 and it seems our internet troubles followed. I assumed that the wireless (or at least ethernet connection) at Shanxi University, being a university, would be better than the youth hovel in Shanghai. Sadly, I was mistaken. It has proven nearly impossible to connect to the internet in our rooms. Currently, I am writing from inside an on campus cafe which, as far as I know, is the only place with working wireless. Nevertheless, I am determined to write an actual post. What better way to start than with food in Shanghai?

The five of us, Abby, Eugenia, Becky, Emma and I stayed at a youth hostel in 浦西 (puxi), the older section of Shanghai (more on the youth hostel and the area in a later post).

Now, at home in America I do not eat red meat, which I define as pork, beef, lamb and duck. Anyone who has been to China will immediately spot the issue with this, as pork in particular (beef and duck to a lesser extent) make up a large portion of the Chinese diet. I made the decision before coming to China that I would not stick so rigidly to my self-imposed meat restrictions. If something looks/smells good, or it’s a famous dish in the area, I’ll eat it, regardless of what it’s made of. However, upon coming to China I quickly discovered that I do not like Chinese red meat any better than American red meat so after one or two experimentations I’ve been staying away from the meat.

While in Shanghai we ate breakfast every morning at a bakery about 15 minutes from the hostel called “Cafe 85”.

Apparently it’s the most popular bakery chain in Shanghai. I certainly enjoyed it. You come in and on the side there is a stack of trays. You grab a tray, place a plastic sheet on the tray, grab tongs, and then you’re in business. You can take however many pastries (or other assorted items) that you please. I consistently got a “japanese red bean bun” and smoothie, as well as one or two other pastries that varied each day.

Speaking of red beans, or rather red bean paste, it was everywhere in Shanghai. It hasn’t appeared too much in Taiyuan yet, but in Shanghai you could find it in almost anything.

Right down the street from the bakery was another gem, a local snack stand, and next door to that was a small restaurant that was more reminiscent of a cafeteria. Abby, Eugenia and I ate in the “cafeteria” twice during our stay. The first time I simply got an order of 上海小龍, pork-filled dumplings that I’ve eaten at Shanghainese restaurants in the states. Dumplings are one of the few dishes I truly appreciate pork in. The next day I had some kind of onion noodles that’s Chinese name escapes me. The food was decent, not great, but decent. As for the snack stand, Emma, Becky and I ventured there one day when we were not hungry enough for a full lunch. It turned out to have really good 小吃. I had 萝卜丝大饼, which seemed to be some kind of fried bread stuffed with cabbage and covered in sesame seeds. It took us a few days to start eating in smaller places like these as we wanted to make sure our stomachs were making the adjustment to Chinese food. For the first two or three days we stuck to the bakery and more trendy restaurants. I’ll (try) to update soon with part 2 about Shanghai eating: trendy restaurants.

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1 Comment

  1. kai said,

    like!

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