Shanghai’s Top 8 Hidden Street Food Items

Shanghai, a foodie’s paradise. Within a city that has over 10,000 nightly mobile food stalls, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the ranges in taste, texture, and look of the snacks you’ll find. Catch my ten personal favorite street food items below (in no particular order of deliciousness):

1.) Xintiandi’s character buns:

Xintiandi, an area known for its luxury stores is also very well know for its alleyway markets that sell these adorable and delicious “baos” or sweet breads that come in the shape of your preferred character. These cute treats, can have red bean, lotus paste, or egg yolk filling and are perfect after a long day of shopping. What’s not to love!


2.) Red Bean Zongzi

As a foodie who can’t eat pork, red bean Zongzi’s are always my go-to choice from street vendors. These treats are wrapped in bamboo leaf that you then peel, to get to mouthwatering sticky rice mixed with red beans. The texture is gelatinous and fun to eat with the perfect amount of sweetness.

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3.) Lotus Root with Sticky Rice

These can be found in restaurants as well. This dessert literally oozes syrup as you bite into it. Consisting of lotus root stuffed with mochi like sticky rice, it’s made up of three different textures: crunchy, creamy and chewy.


4.) Jujube paste xiaolongbao

Jujube paste is an aesthetically pleasing bright pink filing that taste similar to hawthorn or cranberry.  This little fruit and all of its maroon goodness comes wrapped inside of a thick xiaolongbao exterior.

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5.) Wife Cake

Wife cake or “Sweetheart cakes” are flaky pastries that are sold in bakeries all over Shanghai. The inside consist of winter melon filling. Winter melon has a very light, dainty, subtle sweet taste that is perfect for breakfast time.


6.) Chuar

Chuar is basically any street food that is sold on a stick. This can be lamb, beef, chicken squid on a stick or even a mantao “plain bun” and fish-tofu on a stick. These are my favorite go-to midnight snacks, I always opt for the spicy option!

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7.) Drinkable soup dumplings

Or xiaolongbao, these dumplings come with a straw to poke through the thick gummy exterior. Inside is a tasty soup filling.


8.) Pumpkin Sticky Rice’

Usually a dim sum snack, these little guys are bite-sized but pack a powerful punch.  With a sweet custard-egg yolk filling and outside pumpkin flavored and shaped rice cake, these guys are extremely, extremely sticky and will get stuck to any surface they touch. I learned the hard way that it is better to eat this dessert with your hands as oppose to using chopsticks!


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