Shanghai: 10 Things to Do
True Shanghai food is a world away from what you get at home in paper take-out cartons. The best place to try local eats is Jishi. The place is tiny and always crowded. The English menu is long and relatively incomprehensible. At the very least, order the following, even if you're dining solo: radish pickled in soy sauce (jiang luobo), tofu skin with mushrooms (fuzhu), cucumber with aged vinegar (pai huanggua), sweet-and-sour spare ribs (tangcu paigu) and minced dried tofu with wild greens (malantou). Those are the appetizers. Now, for the main courses: red-braised pork with bamboo shoots (hongshao rou he zhusun), fish smothered in scallions (congbao yutou), and a stir-fry of Yunnan ham with an untranslatable Shanghai vegetable that tastes like a cross between asparagus and green beans (luhao huotui). If it's crab season, definitely order the crab with vermicelli sheets (xiefen fenpi).
One more thing: That fish you just ordered? It's actually fish head a giant carp's noggin, to be more specific. But you would have never known unless I told you. And if you didn't order it out of some misplaced squeamishness, you might have missed the best damn fish you will have ever tasted.
- 1. Jishi
41 Tianping Road, Shanghai, China; 86-(0)21-6282-9260