In addition to the major Eight Cuisines of China, there are some sub-divisions influential in China. Basically, Shanghai Cuisine and Beijing Cuisine respectively represent the characteristics of China’s southern and northern dishes.
Shanghai-style Braised Pork Belly
Shanghai Cuisine is traditionally called Benbang Cuisine, which means “local cuisine.” It is evolved from Shanghainese home-cooked food and deeply influenced by Zhejiang and Jiangsu cuisine.
Flavors - Braised and Sweet
Shanghai Cuisine features “soft fire makes sweet flavors.” It usually uses slow cooking methods like braising, stewing, and steaming with an exquisite process.
The seasonings focus on soy sauce, rock sugar, and local rice wine, and also include other spices like five-spice, fennel seeds, cassia, and star anise, to name but a few. The dishes usually appear red and shiny with a thick sauce, but not spicy.
Ingredients - Fresh and Seasonal
Shrimp Meat with Longjing Tea
Seafood: Shanghai is on the coast, so its cuisine uses abundant fresh seafoods. Shanghai hairy crab is one of the representatives. It is a famous delicacy which is usually steamed or fried and is served mostly in autumn, especially during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Vegetables: Since Shanghai is surrounded by Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, which are rich in natural resources, it has ample supply of fresh vegetables every day- such as bamboo shoots, lotus root, Chinese cabbage, and more. Some seasonal vegetable-based dishes include Stir-Fried Alfalfa, Spring Bamboo Shoots Simmered with Cured Pork, and Braised Bamboo Shoots.
Staples: Generally speaking, rice is more popular than wheat in the Shanghai area, but there are popular wheat dishes too, such as Xiaolongbao and soup dumplings.
What and Where to Eat in Shanghai
Shanghai trademark cuisines: Shanghai-Style Braised Pork, Steamed Crab, Sautéed Shelled Shrimps, Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs, Eight Treasure Duck, Liquor-Soaked Chicken, Smoked Fish Slice, Pan-Fried Pork Buns, Soup Dumplings…
Recommended restaurants in Shanghai: Ruifuyuan Restaurant, HOME'S Shanghainese Restaurant, Shanghai Grandmother, Din Tai Fung, Wang Bao He Restaurant…
Street snacks in Shanghai are also very popular, and is known for its “Four King Kongs”: fried dough sticks, pancakes, rice rolls, and soybean milk. Want to find them and taste them to learn about the local food culture of Shanghai? You should join us and start a Shanghai Night Street Snack Food Adventure!
Beijing has been the capital of China for centuries, so its cuisine absorbs all kinds of cooking traditions across the country.
Based on China’s northern cuisine, Beijing cuisine consists of local dishes, halal dishes dominated by beef and lamb, as well as the Chinese imperial cuisines originating from the “Emperor’s Kitchen”, which were cooked only for the royal family inside the Forbidden City in ancient times.
Flavors - Rich and Salty
Characterized by Beijing, Northern China shares long, dry, and cold winters, as well as hot summers. Therefore, Beijing cuisine is generally high in calories and heavy in oil and salt, with sufficient ingredients and a good use of thick broad bean sauce.
Ingredients - High Calories and digestible
Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce
Meat: All the main courses of Beijing Cuisine are meat-based. It uses a diverse variety of meat (but mainly emphasizes lamb, beef, and pork), commonly combined with a few vegetables and seasoned with thick broad bean sauce, just like Four Braised Pork Balls in Gravy.
Starches: The Northerners love to cook starch-based dishes, too, like tofu, taros, potatoes and sweet potatoes, cooked with many different methods.
Wheaten products: Rice is the staple crop in South of China, while the North is rich in wheat. You can find all kinds of wheaten products in Beijing Cuisine: various noodles, dumplings, pancakes and pastries.
Please feel free to contact us if you want to pay a visit to a Beijing hutong family and eat dumplings with the locals.
What and Where to Eat in Beijing
Beijing trademark cuisines: Peking Duck, Mongolian Hot Pot, Hot and Sour Soup, Noodles with Soybean Paste, Peking Barbecue, Sautéed Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce, Stewed Fish Head, Pease Pudding…
Recommended restaurants in Beijing: Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant, Sishi Tongtang Jingwei Building, Mei Mansion Family Feast Restaurant, Donglaishun Restaurant…
Tasting Chinese Food with Us
Our Customers Tasting Chinese Food
No one who loves food will say “no” to the delicacies of China. Below are three tour packages hand-picked by us according to ratings from our customers, reviews on Tripadvisor.com, booking data, and guide services:
8-Day China Experience Trip (Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai)
11-Day Glories of China (Beijing, Xi’an, Guilin, Yangshuo, Shanghai)
11-Day China Impression Journey (Beijing, Xi’an, Yangtze River, Chongqing, Shanghai)