Among the 10 cuisines of China, Shanghai is the newest, although it has been around for more than 400 years. Despite being named after the bustling East China seaport, Shanghai cuisine, also known as Hu cuisine, really reflects the cooking styles of neighboring Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.
It is characterized by a more liberal use of soy sauce and sugar than other parts of China. It focuses on raw ingredients and the foods' original flavors, as well as the use of seasonings. Compared to other Chinese cuisine, Shanghai dishes are more mellow and lighter in flavor with a slightly sweet edge. Sweet and sour is a taste combination typical of Shanghai cuisine.
01 of 08
According to legend, this begger's chicken dish was invented by a starving beggar who stole a chicken and then buried it in the mud to hide it from the farmer. Later he baked the mud-covered chicken over a fire -- the mud crust resulted in a moist, tender meat. (The story continues with the beggar selling these clay-baked chickens and pulling himself out of poverty.)
In this simplified version of the recipe, instead of being coated in mud, the chicken is wrapped in aluminum foil before cooking.
This isn't the only recipe with an interesting name. Learn how other Chinese recipes came by their unusual titles.
02 of 08
Traditionally, this lion's head meatballs dish is made with pork fat and cooked in a clay pot. Some recipes call for cabbage instead of bok choy, and the traditional meat used is pork, but it can be replaced with beef.
03 of 08
This pearl balls recipe's name is derived from the appearance of these seasoned ground pork meatballs coated in sticky rice (glutinous rice). When steamed, the meatballs take on a translucent and pearl-colored appearance. This simple-to-make dish is an excellent appetizer or a main dish. Just be sure to soak the rice beforehand, preferably overnight.
04 of 08
What distinguishes Yangchow fried rice from Cantonese fried rice is that the individual grains of rice are cooked only with egg. Soy sauce, oyster sauce or other seasonings are not included in this recipe; cooked pork, shrimp, onion, and peas are added at the end. Cooked ham can be used instead of the roast pork.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
06 of 08
Another red cooking recipe, soy sauce chicken is chicken slowly simmered in a mixture of soy sauce and seasonings. The juicy meat will fall off the bone, and the sauce--which you can save and reuse for your next red cooking recipe--will deepen in flavor and become richer over time.
07 of 08
A restaurant specialty, this sizzling rice soup is a treat for not only the mouth and eyes but also the ears, as it makes crackling sounds when the crisp rice is added to the hot broth. An impressive presentation for your guests!
Chinese sizzling rice is known as guoba (also called crispy rice or rice crusts) and is usually served with a thick sauce and seafood, but is also delicious in this warming soup.
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