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Shanghai Streeetfood @Lift China, September 2014

We are really honoured to have being invited, this September, to present Shanghai Streetfood to the audience of Lift Conference in Shanghai.

For the first time in China on September 10th, the Lift Conference is a place for makers, artists, startups and pioneers alike to meet and make fruitful connections. Since 2006 Lift Events explores the business and social implications of technological innovation through the organisation of international event series and open innovation programs in Europe and Asia.

It’s out pleasure to share our project with the vibrant community of innovators of Lift. We will share aim and progress of our streetfood platform, together with a project by the design students of Tongji University, that in Spring Semester worked on the shanghai streetfood markets.

Our talk is at 11.30, you can find the whole programme here. Welcome to join!

Featured in Academia!

Shanghai Streetfood has been featured at DESIS China Spring Festival, an yearly initiatives of Chinese school involved in the Design for Sustainability and Social Innovation (DESIS) network.

During the DESIS-China Seminar held in Jiangnan University on May 26th, a showcase of project that has connection with social innovation practice has been presented.  Our Shanghai Streetfood has also been featured, with the following presentation

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Anhua Lu, Changning District

maket map

Type: Market
Area: Changning District
Time of Day: 8am-7pm

Comments: many different small shops, most sell fruits and vegetables, but you can also find tea stores, butchers, fresh and dry fish, bread and more variety; produce is fresh and available; very convenient location

.  market 1 market2

Liang Quan Shi Mei: 3635 Zhongshan North Road, Putuo District



Name/Description: Liang Quan Shi Mei pancake stand
Specialty: Shou Zhua Bing 手抓饼, fried pancakes. You can add sausages, eggs and other toppings and everything is wrapped up in the pancake
Location/Area: 3635 Zhongshan North Road, Putuo District
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: From 8:00AM to 9:00PM

Comments: Shou Zhua Bing is a type of pancake that is fried on a large steel pan. The pancake itself tastes like normal dough, but the customer can choose to add eggs, sausages, and other ingredients as well as different types of sauces into the pancake. Fillings are wrapped up in the pancake and served in a paper bag.

Review: I am a regular customer at this place, and tend to visit around once every two weeks. It is close to campus, which gives it a location advantage. This stand’s pancakes are crispier than other stands, and their sweet & spicy sauce is a must-have. The stand is often loaded with students during meal times, and other times people come for a snack.


Juan bing, ECNU Front Gate


Name: Chinese Style Burito
Specialty (named dish): Juan bing
Location/Area (address or cross-street): across front gate of ECNU
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: 11:00am-9:00pm

This streetside food stand serves a variety of street foods out of a storefront. In addition to juanbing, it also serves roujiamou. The filling of the juanbing can be anything from peking duck, fried chicken, charsiew, fried egg, or braised pork. A pancake is dipped in oil the be flash-fried, smeared with hoisin and chili sauce, garnished with lettuce, cucumber, and scallion, then filled with whatever protein you please.

I have frequented this place twice, both times of which I have decided to not return because the juan bing is too greasy for my liking. The flavors are well balanced from the fresh garnishes and sweet and spicy sauces, however the oil easily coats everything with a greasy flavor that tends to mask the other flavors.

Youyu: ECNU, Front Gate


Name/Description: Pan-fried squid
Specialty (named dish): youyu
Location/Area (address or cross-street): across front gate of ECNU
Fixed or Moving: Moving
Time of Day: 1:00pm-7:00pm

The vendor slices a large piece of squid on a stick and sears it with sauce on a flat top griddle. After sprinkling it with spices, the squid is sliced into smaller, bite sized squares and served inside a styrofoam box with toothpicks for easy sharing.

I have frequented this stand once, and have not yet tried other squid stands. This stand in particular served a tasty portion of squid that was well-seasoned and cooked perfectly tender.

Takoyaki: ECNU Front Gate


Name: Takoyaki
Specialty (named dish): Takoyaki
Location/Area (address or cross-street): across front gate of ECNU
Fixed or Moving: Moving
Time of Day: 1:00pm-7:00pm

This street food vendor serves mini takoyakis alongside pan-fried MSG tofu. The takoyakis are filled with small pieces of dried scallop and minced shrimp then topped with kewpie mayo and a sprinkle of dried seaweed before being served in a rectangular cardboard box.

I have frequented this place three times. This is the only takoyaki street stand that I’ve tried; however, compared it to my previous experiences eating this Japanese snack, its fluffy texture is what sets it apart from others. Although it is smaller in size, the dried scallop provides a chewy contrast to the more succulent shrimp. The kewpie mayo provides a creaminess that pairs well with dried nori flakes.

Danping: 111 Yunnan Road


Name/Description: Egg pancake
Specialty (named dish): Danbing
Location/Area (address or cross-street): 111 Yunnan Road, Huangpu District
Fixed or Moving: Moving
Time of Day: 6:00am-10:00am

Located beside a Lawsons, this street stand serves a puffier type of danbing that is smothered in sweet hoisin sauce and fermented soy bean sauce inside. The pancake is savory, crunchy and chewy, with added flavors from the pickled mustard tuber, cilantro and chili sauce. It costs 3.5 yuan for one egg and 5 for two.

The stand is popularly rated on Dianping, with an average of 3.5/5 stars. Reviews state that people are typically always lined up to get their breakfast.

Niu Rou Bao / Sheng Jian Bao / Guotie: Dingxi Lu, Anhua Lu

Name/Description: Fried Beef Bun / Pan-fried Pork Bun / Potsticker
Specialty (named dish): Niu Rou Bao / Sheng Jian Bao / Guotie
Location/Area (address or cross-street): Dingxi Road and Anhua Road
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: 6:00am-4:00pm

This vendor sells a variety of handheld snacks from morning till midday out of the windowsill of a hole-in-the-wall. Around noon, this location also begins to sell a variety of sides to rice, still serving the other items on the side until they sell out. The niurou bao costs 2 kuai for one. The sheng jian bao and guotie are sold by fours for 6 kuai.

I have frequented this place about 6 or 7 times. This vendor sells the best niu rou bao. Both the niurou bao and shengjian bao are delicious snacks, with the first being more fragrant from the five-spice seasoning and beef. They also have different textures because the entire bun of the niurou bao is fried to a golden crisp. The skin of the guotie is a bit too thick and greasy.

Shaokao: Dingxi Lu, Anhua Lu


Name/Description: Skewers
Specialty: Shaokao
Location/Area: Dingxi Road and Anhua Road
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: 8:00pm-2:00am

This shaokao stand is set up alongside a woman selling malatang in a dingy hole-in-the-wall. Skewers sit on display, still slightly frozen because there is no refrigerator for them to sit in, with one side lined with proteins and seafood and the other lined with tofus and vegetables. A numbered basket is provided to hold customers’ selections. Prices can range from 1 to 8 kuai depending on the skewer.

I have frequented this place many times before. Compared to other stalls, this one can be oily and over spiced at times, but always well-seasoned. Locals pack the place every night with piles of skewers eaten alongside a beer. Recommended skewers include octopus, tenderized chicken covered in red sauce, sliced baozi, enoki mushrooms, and scallops out of the shell (only sometimes there).

Dianbing: Dingxi Lu, Anhua Lu


Name/Description: Egg pancake
Specialty (named dish): Danbing
Location/Area (address or cross-street): Anhua Road and Dingxi Road
Fixed or Moving: Moving
Time of Day: 6am-10am

This mobile street food stand is set up out of a metal box cart fixed with a flat top griddle and an open front. A man and a woman work together taking orders as the woman works behind the flat top griddle and the man adds the condiments and oil. The eggy crepe is soft and steamy, typically wrapped around a folded piece of youtiao. Each danbing costs 3.5 kuai, and is served out of a small plastic bag.

I have frequented this place three times. This is the only danbing stand I have tried; but from tasting the dish other times before, I am sure that these vendors have an expertise in the making of danbing. The pancake is soft and steamy, with a kick from the salty, spicy chili sauce that is smeared inside. I find the danbing to be more enjoyable without the youtiao and with an added egg cracked inside because it makes it even fluffier. Locals typically line this street food stand to await their breakfasts.

Baozi: Dingxi Lu, Anhua Lu


Name/Description : Steamed bun
Specialty (named dish): Baozi
Location/Area (address or cross-street): Dingxi Road, between Anhua Road and Xuanhua Road
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: 6am-6pm

This street food stand is perched right outside of a restaurant, selling various types of baozi alongside Shanghai-style shaomai. Each bao costs 1.5 yuan, ranging from sweet (red bean) and savory (braised cabbage, pork, bok choy and tofu, cellophane noodles) fillings. The vegetarian and red bean baozis are recommended favorites.

 I have frequented this place multiple times as a breakfast or snack in the middle of the day. I believe this baozi stand in particular has a much more pillowy-soft bun in comparison to others, whose baos tend to become thick, dry and gummy. The baos are best eaten during the earlier hours when they are being freshly made. This stand is very popular among locals.


Jianbing: Dingxi Lu, Anhua Lu


Name/Description : Chinese-style crepe
Specialty (named dish): Jianbing
Location/Area (address or cross-street): Dingxi Road, between Anhua Road and Xuanhua Road Fixed or Moving: Moving Time of Day: 6am-10am Comments: Located at the top of the stairs of a cigarette shop, this jianbing breakfast stand is arguably one of the best. The chef responsible for the recipe humbly shells out jianbing with adeptness and speed, working along with a woman who synchronizes along with him to help him crack an egg over each crepe and hand the crepe to the customer immediately after he is finished so that he can begin making the next one before the order is even placed. Each jianbing costs 3.5 kuai with additional cost for a sausage. A youtiao can replace the fried wonton skin inside. The vendor also provides a side of soymilk that can be taken from a small box that is placed beside his stand. Review: I’ve frequent this place at an average of at least once a week. The batter to the crepe at this jianbing stand is much thicker, which creates a thinner layer of pancake when it is spread across the griddle and wiped off. This makes the crepe a bit more crisp at the edges, retaining a soft, slightly chewy crepe towards its center. The wonton skins are much less oily, with a lighter batter that retains its crispiness for longer. The pickled mustard tuber that is sprinkled inside of it has a more subtle saltiness and the fermented soy bean sauce has a hint of sweetness that contrasts the pickles’ flavor. This stand typically has locals lined up throughout the early hours that it is open. – Phoebe Tran Review: We go there three to four times a week for breakfast. It’s much better than the JianBing stands in front of ECNU and the one in the cafeteria because the ingredients are fresher and the sauce tastes better. It is also friendlier because it is a family-run business. It is very popular; there are usually long lines in the morning. Locals and NYU students frequent it. -Annie Xin, Angela Hsiao

jian bing jianbing2

Youtiao + Doujiang: Zhaozhou Lu, Jianguo Lu


Name/Description (e.g. fried rice stand, xiaolongbao): Chinese cruller + Soymilk
Specialty (named dish): Youtiao + Doujiang
Location/Area (address or cross-street): Zhaozhou Road and Jianguo Xin Road
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: 11pm-3am

This street food is not a stand or a hole-in-the-wall. It is located on a street side corner where tables are scattered on the sidewalk and along the street where locals eat and play games of mahjong or cards. A man serves either salty or sweet soy milk out of a bowl before handing it to you to take to your table. You place your order for youtiao, which is communicated to a woman perpendicular to the man rolling out fresh dough and deep-frying it on the spot. Dried pieces of baby shrimp are added to the salty soy milk along with minced pieces of pickled mustard tuber, cilantro, chili oil, and soy sauce. The saltiness causes the soy milk to curdle and turn into something resembling a cross between tofu soup and egg drop soup. Both the sweet and salty douhua pair well with the youtiao.

Review (how many times have you frequented this place?, how does it compare to other stalls making the same dish? How popular is it etc.) I’ve frequented this place three times now, and each time it is packed with locals. The youtiao here is what is truly special and popular among the locals–eaten right away, it is lighter, softer and thinner than most youtiao which are thick and chewy. The place is so popular among locals that they get dropped off by taxi at that street corner just to get in line and wait for their serving.

Mala tang: Dingxi Lu, Anhua Lu


Specialty (named dish): Mala tang 麻辣汤
Location/Area (address or cross-street): Anhua Road and Dingxi Road
Fixed or Moving: Fixed
Time of Day: 4pm-2am

Despite its seemingly unsanitary environment, this hole-in-the-wall is praised by myself and others about its delicious malatang and friendly service. There is indoor and outdoor seating, however the inside of the restaurant can get suffocating at times from the fumes of the skewers. The malatang’s broth is what sets it apart from others–it tastes homemade, with little to no MSG (the woman claims that she adds none to her broth). Flavors become increasingly complex as more vegetables and proteins are added into the broth and cooked together throughout the day. This method of cooking may seem a bit questionable in terms of cleanliness since the broth is only changed once throughout the day; but regardless, it seems to add a punch of flavor that can’t be achieved at other malatang restaurants.

Review: I have been to this resrautant four to five times in total this semester mostly for their barbeque skewers. The skewers taste better than many other food stands and are cheaper. The Ma La Tang is not so good as the ones in malls and restaurants. It has a few tables and chairs outside after 9pm and it is very popular at night.

Review: The sanitation is very low as they use the same brush to put oil to put on the meat and vegetables, and they wipe the baskets containing a client’s ingredients with a dirty towel. However, the balance they create in their seasoning is incomparable as they use cumin, salt, and sichuan chili oil. I strongly recommend the red chicken skewer that uses tenderizer to give it a unique taste. I also enjoy how they use slice their baos open to make seasoned toast.


Liangpi, Front Gate, ECNU


Name/Description : Cold Jelly Noodles
Specialty (named dish): Liangpi 凉皮
Location/Area (address or cross-street): across front gate of ECNU
Fixed or Moving: Moving
Time of Day: 4:00pm-8:00pm

A woman sells refreshing bowls of liangpi outside of a glass box decorated with chinese characters on top of a parked tricycle. Each bowl is 6 served in a cardboard bowl with a plastic cap and then placed in a plastic bag to easily take on the go. Customers can choose which noodle they want or a combination of both. One is made from rice flour that has ben steamed into pancakes and sliced into thick noodles, and the other is a thinner noodle that resembles a jelly-like texture. They are then tossed in a bowl with added julienned cucumbers, cilantro, minced pickled mustard tuber, sesame or peanut sauce, vinegar, crushed peanuts, chili oil, and garlic sauce. Customers have the option of choosing their level of preferred heat and whether or not they want to add pieces of wheat gluten for an extra cost.

Thicker noodles are sliced from pre-steamed wheat flour pancakes

I have been to this stand twice. There is another woman that sets up a liangpi stand right beside her as well, but hers doesn’t use as many ingredients as this stand. The range of garnishes and condiments provides a balance in textures, with crunch from the julienned cucumbers and bean sprouts, nutty flavors from the ground up peanuts and sesame sauce, acidity from the vinegar, and aromatic fragrance from the garlic and cilantro.  – Phoebe Tran



Zong Zi – Glutinous Rice Balls – 粽子

Zongzi (or simply zong) (Chinese: ) is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo, reed, or other large flat leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. In the Western world, they are also known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings.

Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) are traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival (Mandarin: Duānwǔ; Cantonese: Tuen Ng), which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar (approximately late-May to mid-June).

The fillings used for zongzi vary from region to region, but the rice used is almost always glutinous rice (also called “sticky rice” or “sweet rice”). Depending on the region, the rice may be lightly precooked by stir-frying or soaked in water before using. In the north, fillings are mostly red bean paste and tapioca or taro. Northern style zongzi tend to be sweet and dessert-like. Southern-style zongzi, however, tend to be more savory. Fillings of Southern-style zongzi include salted duck egg, pork belly, taro, shredded pork or chicken, Chinese sausage, pork fat, and shiitake mushrooms.

Zongzi need to be steamed or boiled for several hours depending on how the rice is made prior to being added, along with the fillings. However, as the modes of zongzi styles have traveled and become mixed, today one can find all kinds of zongzi at traditional markets, and their types are not confined to which side of the Yellow River they originated from.

History of Zongzi

Zongzi are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (端午節), on May 5th of the lunar calendar. It is said that on this day, Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet who lived in the Chu kingdom, drowned himself in the Miluo River. Before this, he tried to warn his king and his people that their neighbor, the Qin kingdom, was going to invade the Chu kingdom. When the Chu capital was taken over, Qu Yuan was so upset that he drowned himself. When his body could not be found, people threw packets of rice into the river to prevent the fish from eating it.

Regional origin: The Chu kingdom was in present day Hubei

zongzi map

Possible Variations:

Jianshui Zong (碱水粽) – usually eaten as a dessert; the glutinous rice is treated with lye water to make it more alkaline. The rice turns yellow and sweet. It usually has no filling or is filled with sweet mixtures, such as a red bean paste.

People in the north tend to make sweet zongzi. Their fillings could have dried dates, chicken, or red bean paste. People in the south tend to make savory zongzi with pork, Chinese sausage, and mung beans.

Nyonyazong (娘惹粽) – a part of the cuisine unique to Chinese Malaysians/Singaporeans; similar to southern Chinese zongzi, but the filling is made with minced pork with winter melon, ground roasted peanuts, and a spice mix

Taiwanese Zongzi – 臺灣粽; similar to Chinese zongzi, but wrapped with different leaves; not as fatty; pork, mushroom, salted duck egg, peanuts, chestnuts as fillings (some put dried squid or shrimp as well); some are vegetarian so the filling would have only peanuts.

Related Cuisine

糯米雞 (nuomji) is a Cantonese dim sum dish; steamed sticky rice with chicken in lotus leaf wrap. Fillings include chicken, Chinese sausage, salted egg, dried shrimp, mushrooms, and scallions. It’s usually wrapped in a square instead of a prism.


Xiao Long Bao – Soup Dumplings – 小笼包

Xiaolongbao (simplified Chinese: 小笼包; traditional Chinese: 小籠包; pinyin: xiǎolóngbāo) is a type of steamed bun or baozi from the Jiangnan region of China, especially Shanghai and Wuxi. It is traditionally steamed in small bamboo baskets, hence the name (xiaolong is literally small steaming basket). Xiaolongbao are often referred to as soup dumplings or simply dumplings in English.[1]

Xiaolongbao are known as siohlon-meudoe[citation needed] /siɔ33lǫ̃44-mø22dɤ⁺44/ in Shanghainese (simplified Chinese: 小笼馒头; traditional Chinese: 小籠饅頭; pinyin: xiǎolóng mántóu). Mantou describes both filled and unfilled buns in northern China, but only describes unfilled buns in southern China.

The characters that make up “xiaolongbao” translate literally to “small”, “steaming basket” and “steamed buns (baozi)”, and the whole term may be literally translated as “little-basket buns”. The appearance of xiaolongbao and jiaozi (dumpling) has meant that the xiaolongbao is sometimes classified as a dumpling outside of China. It is, however, distinct from both steamed and boiled jiaozi in texture and method of production, and is never regarded as a jiaozi (which is more usually translated as dumpling) inside China. As is traditional for buns of various sizes in the Jiangnan region, xiaolongbao are pinched at the top prior to steaming, so the skin has a circular cascade of ripples around the crown, whereas jiaozi are usually made from a round piece of dough folded in half, and pinched along the semicircle. Instead, xiaolongbao is usually regarded as belonging to a whole family of various steamed buns of various sizes sometimes collectively known as tang bao, literally “soup bun”

more/from wikipedia

Photo Credit to:,_Arcadia.jpg


Rou Jia Mo – Shaan Xi Style Sandwich – 肉夹馍

Rou jia mo, sometimes spelled roujiamo (Chinese: 肉夹馍; pinyin: ròu jīa mó), meaning “meat burger” or “meat sandwich,” is a street food originating from Shaanxi Province and now widely consumed all over China. The meat is most commonly pork, stewed for hours in a soup consisting of over 20 kinds of spices and seasonings. Although it is possible to use only a few spices (which many vendors do), the resulting meat is less flavourful. There are many alternative fillings available, for example in Muslim areas in Xi’an, the meat is usually beef (prepared Kabob style and seasoned with cumin and pepper), and in Gansu it is often lamb. The meat is then minced into fine shreds or chopped, then mixed with coriander and mild peppers, and stuffed in “Mo”, a type of flatbread. An authentic Mo is made from wheat flour which is made into a batter and stirred repeatedly for an extended period of time and then baked in a clay or mud oven, but now in many parts of China, Mo is made in a frying pan or a pressure cooker (some even substitute the real Mo with a steamed bun), and the resulting taste diverges significantly from the authentic clay oven-baked version. Depending on the types of spices used to cook the meat and the way the bread is made, the taste of rou jia mo (roujiamo) can vary greatly from vendor to vendor.

Rou jia mo costs around 6 yuan in most parts of China[citation needed] and is considered China’s answer to the Western hamburger and meat sandwiches. In fact, Rou Jia Mo could be the world’s oldest sandwich or hamburger, since the history of the bread dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC) and that of the meat to the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC to 256 BC). Contrary to popular misconceptions, rou jia mo is not a street food unique to Muslims. It was invented first by the Han Chinese, while Muslims simply substituted pork with barbecued beef or lamb due to Islamic restrictions on eating pork[citation needed].

Rou jia mo (Roujiamo) can be found in many street food vendor stalls or near Chinese mosques. It is called rou jia mo by some vendors, whereas others might call it la zhi rou jia mo (or lazhi roujiamo, Chinese: 腊汁肉夹馍), which simply means rou jia mo with special gravy; yet some others call it bai ji la zhi rou jia mo (or baiji lazhi roujiamo), which means rou jia mo with special gravy in a bread (bai ji refers to the type of bread).

from wikipedia

Pai Gu Nian Gao – Pork chop with Rice Cakes – 排骨年糕

Chop Rice Cake is a special delight, widely consumed in Shanghai, that also happens to be quite economical. It boasts a long history, measured to almost 50 years. This snack is commonly prepared by the method of frying, it usually using such ingredients as a large pork chop and rice cakes. The preparation of this dish calls for the chop to be fried on both sides over medium heat until it reaches a golden brown color, along with a piece of rice cake. This process does not require a lot of time, so that the dish could preserve both: the savory taste of the pork chop and the crispy texture of the rice cake.


People may find this snack in two of the oldest and best known restaurants specialized in preparing Chop Rice Cake – Shuguang Restaurant (previously known as Xiao Chang Zhou) and Xian De Lai Restaurant. The Chop Rice Cakes served in these restaurants are prepared in an absolutely different manner, therefore each of them has its own distinctive aroma, which makes it difficult to choose or favor only one of them.

Photo Credit to: