“Street Food” in Shanghai’s generally cheap, quick, greasy, easy, and occasionally tasty. Lots of oil, veggies, noodles, and rice. Most vendors do not wear gloves and cleanliness of the ingredients is often questionable. Here’s to building your immune system! (And heat kills all germs, right??) Here’s a bit about the street food located at the corner of Anshun Lu & Dinxi Lu, just outside my apartment compound (whose lit windows can barely be seen in the background below).
Jiān Bǐng 煎餅 Breakfast Wraps: For 3.5RMB (about 66 US cents) between the hours of 6-10:30am this lady, always smiling, will make you a street wrap in under two minutes. It’s a mung bean floury mixture cooked on a hot plate with an egg, some sauce (I don’t know if I want to know what it is), cilantro, and Yóu tiáo 油条 (fried dough) rolled up and handed to you in a thin plastic bag to-go. It’s filling.
Shēngjiānbāo 生煎包: Just down from the street wrap lady’s a couple who makes Shēngjiānbāo, crispy on the bottom and soft on the top dumpling-like balls filled with soup and a meatball. Eating them’s an art. The best way is to stab a hole in the soft top with a chopstick, then grip both sides with your chopsticks and sip the soup out of the dumpling. When the soup’s gone you can bite in. 3RMB (50 US cents) for four.
Shao Kao 烧烤: Street BBQ (Shao Kao) guys appear on the corner around dinnertime and stay until the wee late night hours. You grab a plastic basket and hand it to them filled with the skewers of veggies, meat, bread, and tofu you’ve chosen. They put the skewers on the grill, brush them with oil, and shake MSG (which you can purchase by the bag at any food mart) on them if you don’t point at it and say “buyao” in time. I stick to the veggies since it came out that street vendors in Shanghai were passing off tons (literally) of rat meat as lamb: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/09/181900858/rat-mutton-and-bird-flu-strange-days-for-meat-eaters-in-shanghai
*and they don’t serve snakes like the other Shao Kao cart one street over
On the same corner at night next to the BBQ guys there’s a woman who’ll crack an egg in a wok over an open flame on her cart and then add some bean sprouts, greens, spices and your choice of several different types of noodles or rice. She hands it to you in a square styrofoam box with some chopsticks for anywhere from 6-8RMB (just over $1US) depending on how many greens and eggs you want.
That’s mostly it (besides the awesome roasted sweet potato vendors that’re popping up once again since it’s wintertime) for the Street Food on my corner, but there are SO MANY different kinds sprinkled on every other corner throughout Shanghai. My intake of Street Food is limited these days–especially since people have been talking about the quality of street food oil lately (Gutter Oil??). My friend Andrew in the States emailed me this video that I assume proves this point. I’m refusing to watch it until I’m back Stateside. Ignorance is bliss. But I’ll post it here for you: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/28/you-may-never-eat-street-food-in-china-again-after-watching-this-video/?tid=sm_fb