The ultimate Shanghai checklist for foodies

Wondering what to eat in Shanghai during your stay? We’ve got you covered. Noodles, dumplings, duck and breakfast crepes, Shanghai’s quality and inexpensive food is as delicious as it is accessible. This ultimate checklist for foodies includes the very best dishes and flavors that you must try in Shanghai.

1. Xiaolongbao outside of the Yu Gardens

Especially on a chilly day, these scrumptious soup dumplings will hit the spot. Stuffed with a savory broth, meat and vegetables, xiaolongbao are Shanghai’s most beloved local dish. Luckily you can easily find them around the city. Just make sure you try the dumplings sold outside of the Yu Gardens at least once. Also, the restaurant Fu Chun also offers some of the city’s best xiaolongbao.


2. Try a Shanghai breakfast crepe

Jian Bing, or breakfast crepes, are a delicious way to start the day in Shanghai and offer a unique mix of flavors. These savory crepes are served up at crepe carts around the city. The cart owners open up shop before the rest of the city wakes, preparing the mung bean flour crepe batter. The crepes, cooked to golden goodness, are topped with chili sauce or hoisin sauce, eggs, scallions, cilantro, pickled greens and stuffed with tofu or wonton skin.


3. Experience the legend of Beggar’s Chicken

This dish dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) and along with its great flavor, comes with a legend. Beggar’s Chicken is a marinated stuffed chicken that is baked while covered in lotus leaves and sealed in parchment paper, making for a tender, juicy chicken dish. The name of the dish comes from the story of a beggar who stole a chicken from a farm and wrapped the chicken in lotus leaves and buried it to avoid being caught.


what to eat in Shanghai


4. Compare different roast duck recipes

The Chinese have a centuries-long tradition of roasting duck. Each region has its own special way of preparing roast duck. You can try a few different culinary styles, each coming from regional traditions. For a taste of Peking duck, go to the restaurant Da Dong for a crispy and delicious duck dish served with pancakes, bean paste, cucumber, radish and scallions. To try the Cantonese roasted duck, make your way over to Lao Guangdong. Don’t let this humble establishment trick you – cooked with a ginger and green onion soy sauce mixture, it’s some of the best duck you can find in Shanghai.


5. Snack on some shengjianbao

These delicious fried dumplings are similar to xiaolongbao and can be found around the city in small local restaurants. Great to snack on while you’re on the go, shengjianbao make great travel food to eat while you’re touring the city. Just make sure to bring a napkin with you – the broth sealed inside the dumplings can sometimes be very hot and squirt out when you take a bite.


what to eat in Shanghai


6. Majiang mian at Weixiang Zhai

No foodies can leave Shanghai without a taste of the slurp-worthy majiang mian sesame noodles. Though you can find these noodles at small restaurants around the city, the local spot Weixiang Zhai offers up noodles that are as tasty as they are inexpensive.


7. Steamed buns from Nanxiang

Not only do the Nanxiang steamed pork dumplings or Nanxiang xiaolongbao taste delicious, but they also offer a unique texture since they are steamed in a bamboo steamer after being stuffed with minced pork. Though they originate from Shanghai’s Nanxiang township, the buns or dumplings are available at restaurants and food stands around the city.



Now you know what to eat in Shanghai, apply now for an international internship in China!




1. based on Pan-fried Pork Buns – New Shanghai, Chatswood, by Alpha, CC-by-SA 2.0

2. based on Making the Peking duck wrap, by Joy, CC-by-2.0

3. based on Pickled vegetables, by Bo (“call me Daniel”) Gao, CC-by-ND 2.0


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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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