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Street vendors are often hailed as having some of the best food in Shanghai, with The New York Times, Frommer's and CNN all giving separate nods to the abundant and makeshift stalls offering endless varieties of fried, steamed and succulent cuisine. According to the Times, breakfast in particular is best had on the street, hot and ready to wake up still-groggy diners.
Travelers to Shanghai will no doubt recognize familiar culinary sights, such as fried chicken, egg pancakes and dumplings. However, the sheer variety offered by vendors could no doubt keep bellies and schedules full for weeks on end.
Breakfast offers its own spectrum of delights. Many of the foods are deep-fried, including balls, dumplings and donuts. Puffy pancakes are made of salted dough and chopped spring onions fried in a flat pan, according to CNN Travel. Dennis Ming Nichols of Shanghai Expat noted the massive yet portable jianbing guozi, a Chinese breakfast burrito with green onions, pickled vegetables, egg, cilantro and a special sauce that varies from vendor to vendor in terms of sweetness and saltiness.
Diners may also catch the scent of baking bread. It could be da bing, which, according to Shanghai Expat, is baked in a metal barrel of burning coal or wood for everyone to see. The shape of the bread indicates flavor, with rectangular breads being salty and round ones being sweet. Green onions and sesame seeds are often used as topping.
Eggs and milk
Some of the more interesting breakfast foods step away from the deep fat fryers in favor of more innovative means of preparation and presentation. Tea eggs, according to CNN Travel, are a popular Shanghai snack that involves hard boiling eggs in green tea and soy sauce. Tofu flower soup is another dish that may be unfamiliar to Westerners. Curdled soy milk makes for a smooth broth with a hint of soybean among the tofu. Shrimp, radish, seaweed, scallion, soy sauce and chili oil are then sprinkled on top for added flavor.
As for drink, Shanghai Expat called soy an Eastern staple, and soybean milk a prevalent beverage at most breakfast stands.
Where to go
A great quality of Shanghai street food is that it's everywhere. However, some places carry better reputations than others. Frommer's has recommended the corner of Changle Lu and Xiangyang Lu for the best street breakfasts and snacks in Shanghai, but Sipailou Lu is also home to plenty of food stalls.
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