MORE

5 Best Things I Ate in Shanghai + Where To Find Them in NYC

Egg tarts from Lillian Bakery
Egg tarts from Lillian Bakery
John Zhong

Welcome to Postcards from China, a series of delicious snapshots from my summer in China and Taiwan.

Shanghai is the New York City of China. It's the economic center of the country and there's a significant migrant worker population. And it's one of the only cities in mainland China where you can find bars and restaurants up to par to New York standards. Yes, think Sunday brunch deals, happy hours for ladies, and a popular Restaurant Week. Though in the past I've tried some of the fine dining establishments in Shanghai (Jean Georges Shanghai and Mr. & Mrs. Bund by Paul Pairet), I stuck with local food this time.

The best part? They were insanely cheap. The most expensive dish (the red braised pork) was $6.00. And the cheapest (the egg tart) was only $0.63. Here are five of the best things I ate in Shanghai and where to find these dishes in New York City. Turn the page.

Egg tarts from Lillian Bakery
Egg tarts from Lillian Bakery
John Zhong

5. Portuguese Egg Tarts: The flaky crust is what distinguishes Portuguese egg tarts from any other run-of-the-mill egg tart. The motto of the chain store where I got these from, called Lillian's Bakery, claims that they are "quite possibly the best egg tarts in Shanghai." Though I can't vouch for the rest of Shanghai, they were most definitely the best I've ever tasted. You can find the Portuguese varieties at Natalie Bakery on the Lower East Side. 271 Grand St; (212) 226-8882

Small river shrimp
Small river shrimp
John Zhong

4. Small River Shrimp: These are freshwater river shrimps that come accompanied with a rice wine-based dipping sauce. Though this particular variety is difficult to find in the States (leave us a comment if you have seen these in NYC), a lot of the Shanghainese-style restaurants in New York do have "sauteed baby shrimp" on their menu. Try Shanghai Cafe in Chinatown. 100 Mott St; (212) 966-3988

Red braised pork
Red braised pork
John Zhong

3. Red braised pork belly: Momofuku's pork bellies have nothing on these guys. The braised pork belly, or hongshao rou, is covered with a ginger, garlic, aromatic spices, chilli peppers, sugar, soy, and a rice wine sauce. Often served with a boiled egg on the side, this dish was apparently Mao Ze Dong's favorite. I like to slather a piece over white rice. Though the dish is extremely popular in Shanghai, hongshao rou is hard to find in New York. All the locations of Grand Sichuan have it on their menu though. 229 9th Ave. New York; 212-620-5200

Egg and tomato
Egg and tomato
John Zhong

2. Stir-fried Egg with Tomato: It's perhaps one of the simplest Chinese dishes of all time, but it's my absolute favorite. It's fluffy scrambled eggs with slightly sweetened tomatoes topped with some green onions. Some places add a hint of corn starch or oil for different texture variations. You know you've hit the jackpot when the dish is creamy and really saucy. If you're in Flushing, hit up A Taste of Shanghai to try the dish. 39-07 Prince St, #1A; (718) 888-1636

Red bean popsicles
Red bean popsicles
John Zhong

1. Red Bean Popsicle: Made from red bean soup, these are simple, sweet and a perfect remedy for a hot, humid Shanghai day. You can find these in a lot of Asian grocery stores in the city. M2M has them in stock most of the times. 55 3rd Ave; (212) 353-2698

Popsicle stand
Popsicle stand
John Zhong
Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Grand Sichuan

229 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10001-6601

212-620-5200

www.thegrandsichuan.com

miles
Shanghai Cafe

100 Mott St.
New York, NY 10013

212-966-3988

miles
Natalie Bakery

271 Grand St.
New York, NY 10002

212-226-8882

miles
M2M

19 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >