Shanghai cuisine also known as Hu cai is a popular style of Chinese cuisine.
Shanghai does not have a definitive cuisine of its own, but refines those of the surrounding provinces, i.e. Jiangsu and Zhejiang. What can be called Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, eel, crab, and chicken are "drunken" with spirits and are briskly cooked/steamed or served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to spice up the dish.
The use of sugar is common in Shanghainese cuisine, especially when used in combination with soy sauce, effuses foods and sauces with a taste that is not so much sweet but rather savory. The most notable dish of this type of cooking is "sweet and sour spare ribs" ("tangcu xiaopai" in Shanghainese).
Beggar"s Chicken" is a legendary dish of Beijing origin, called "jiaohua ji" in the Shanghainese dialect, wrapped in lotus leaves and covered in clay. Though usually prepared in ovens, the original and historic preparation involved cooking in the ground. The lion"s head meatball and Shanghai style nian gao are also uniquely Shanghainese, as are Shanghai fried noodles
, a regional variant of chow mein
that is made with Shanghai-style thick noodle
. Lime-and-ginger-flavoured thousand-year eggs
and stinky tofu
are other popular Shanghainese delicacies.
Shanghainese people are known to eat in delicate portions (which makes them a target of mockery from other Chinese), and hence the servings are usually quite small. For example, famous buns from Shanghai such as the Xiaolong mantou (known as Xiaolongbao in Mandarin) and the Shengjian mantou are usually about four centimetres in diameter, much smaller than the typical baozi or mantou elsewhere.