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.
Red cooking (slowly simmering poultry in soy sauce and seasonings) is a popular Shanghai cooking technique and results in the dishes taking on a shiny red color. You’ll also find an alternative use for alcohol because it's used for marinating ingredients, and season seafood dishes.
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According to legend, this beggar's chicken dish was invented by a food insecure individual who stole a chicken from a farmer and then buried it in the mud. Later he baked the mud-covered chicken over a fire, and the mud crust resulted in moister, tender meat. The legend continues with him selling these clay-baked chickens and making a more financially stable future for himself.
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 unique name. Learn how other Chinese recipes came by their unusual titles.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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In this 100 corner shrimp balls recipe, a mixture of finely minced shrimp, water chestnuts, green onions, and seasonings are rolled into balls, fried in hot oil and served with a dipping sauce. Like a fancy shrimp toast, these beautiful appetizers are perfect for your next party.