I wish I got the chance to try a lot more food but unfortunately, we were only in China for about five days. As with any country, China has its regional cuisines (I highly recommend watching, “Flavorful Origins” on Netflix to learn more about Chaoshan and Yunnan cuisines). Being that China is one of the largest countries in the world, you can only imagine how many different dishes they have to offer. It would be impossible to try everything in one visit (or even a lifetime!) Here are some of the things I had the chance to eat:
- Stinky tofu – fermented tofu. You’ll recognize it by its distinct smell. But if you can get past its bad odor, it actually tastes pretty good. It tastes nothing like it smells. It’s hard to explain the flavor but you just have to try it for yourself
2. Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) – super thin dumpling skins filled with meat and hot soup. The proper way to eat them is using a tong to pick up the dumpling from the top of the skin, onto a soup spoon. Then add a little bit of vinegar and freshly shredded ginger. A popular spot to try them is Din Tai Fung
3. Yellow croaker noodles – noodles with chunks of yellow croaker, served in a rich broth. The one I ate had minced crab in it. After soup dumplings, this is one of Shanghai’s most popular dishes
4. Hot pot – I LOVE hot pot (dipping meats and veggies into a boiling pot of broth). Making the dipping sauce is my favorite part and I think it’s an art. Haidilao has just come to NYC (specifically Flushing), but I got to try it in Shanghai before the craze hit home. The service is impeccable – manicures while you wait, glasses are never empty, they give you hand wipes, they even gave Ben’s nieces/nephew a new toy to keep. It’s the little things
5. Scallion pancakes – a popular breakfast street food item. Perfectly crispy and super oily, but SO good
6. Jianbing – crepe filled with savory toppings such as meat, scallion, pickled veggies, topped with hoisin sauce. I didn’t get to try the real thing out in the streets, but I did try it at the hotel in Shaoxing and even that one was pretty good
7. Dim sum – can’t forget to have some! There was one place in Shaoxing we went to that served fried soup dumplings. I didn’t even know that was possible, but it was amazing!
8. Congee – rice porridge is classic comfort food. Don’t forget to add all the toppings – especially pickled veggies
9. Shaoxing wine – originating from Shaoxing, as the name suggests, this is fermented rice wine. It’s used for both drinking and cooking. When we were in Shaoxing, all of the shops were selling it
10. McDonald’s – they have fried chicken and bubble tea!