For those who would like to be transported back in time and get a sense of how it feels like living during the period of Chinese dynasties, you can try to visit the old towns of Zhujiajiao or Qibao.
Accessible Via Metro Shanghai Subway
The reason why this is the best alternative is because Qibao Old Town is accessible by subway. Take line 9 and stop at Qibao station. From there, it's just a 3-minute walk. As quick and easy as that.
For ordinarry foreigners like us though who can't even understand or speak Chinese, looking around for food is not easy. There are just so many to choose from and you can't have em all. So I was carrying this list (printed a bulk of food suggestions I gathered online) but I was frustrated because it wasn't so.much of a help. One tip, if you bring a food list with you, make sure each dish has with it local names written in Chinese characters or else attendants wouldn't even read it. I kept pointing at my list but we ended up not understanding each other.
So we picked the safe ones like this food-on-stick they call kebab.
It sells at 4RMB and it is good depending on where you buy it. I mean we tried this in a food stall in Nanjing and the one in Qibao is way better because of the quality of meat used.
Dan Bing 蛋饼 (egg pancake/crepe)
is probably the most famous street food/snack in all of China, at least it is the most visible. It is also my favorite because it doesn't have any extreme taste. It is a light snack with vegatable in a crunchy crepe. It is cheap too at 3.5 RMB or roughly 25 pesos.
So what they do is basically start with the crepe using a giant pan. Watching how they quickly spread the flour on the pan before it hardens is fun. It takes seconds and then comes the egg. Healthy. Some vegetable including basil leaves are added. The crepe is folded to half then sweet sauce is applied.
Other options include chili paste. It is finally folded again and cut into half. The quick and you are crunching into a delicious snack.
So i decided to give it a go. 6RMB for a few cuts.
I tried to smell it again once served and it smelled perfectly normal.
When you make the bite, that's when you will know why they call it such. To start with, it's sooooo salty. That's the first I could remember. And the sauces, yes there were two options and I tried both, didn't help neutralize it all all but made the tofu even saltier. Gad! Who is eating this? Well, obviously many Shanghai people do.
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More on Shanghai Soon! ^^
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