Shanghai’s Best Street Foods, Part 1

From dawn ‘til dusk, Shanghai’s streets are fragrant with the scent of street food. Steamed, fried, baked, roasted, boiled – the city’s incredible range of fresh street food is often made right in front of your eyes. There’s a bite for everyone and one serving will never cost more than RMB 10, you just need to know where to go! We sample many of these on our guided 3-hour food tours, but here are the basics to get you started with the tasty treats.


Xiǎolóngbāo () (pictured above)

One of the region’s most famous dishes, xiaolongbao (or soup dumplings) can be spotted streetside by the towers of steaming bamboo baskets. The thin dumpling wrapper encases minced pork and liquefied pork jelly. Slurp out the piping hot pork soup carefully before you take a bite, then dip in rice vinegar steeped with ginger.

Estimated cost:  7-10rmb per basket of 8 dumplings

Where to get them:

Fu Chun

650 Yuyuan Lu, near Zhenning Lu. 愚园路650号近宁路. Subway: Line 2/9 – Jiangsu Lu. Tel: +86 21 6247 1277. Hours: 6:30am-12am. Menu: Chinese only.



Cōngyóubǐng (葱油饼)

These scallion oil pancakes come in a variety of forms and cooking methods, from single-serving crispy flaky fried bing to giant thick layered baked options, but they’re best when cooked-to-order. An all-day Shanghai snack, you’ll find them flecked with green onions on many street corners in the former French Concession and the small alleyways of Old Town.

Estimated cost:  3-7rmb each

Where to get it:

A Po Congyoubing

578 Xiangyang Nan Lu, near Zhaojiabang Lu. 襄阳南路587弄近肇家浜路. Subway: Line 9 – Jiashan Lu. Hours: 2pm-6:30pm. Menu: Chinese only.


UTgreen onion pancakes2



Jiānbǐng ()

The perfect on-the-go breakfast, these thin crepes are fried on flat griddles with an egg, then flecked with cilantro, green onions and pickled mustard tubers. Savory bean paste and fiery chili paste are slathered on to add flavor, while a deep-fried wonton skin adds crunch. If you prefer your treats non-spicy, just ask for it “bùlà (不辣) and the vendor will forgo the chili.

Estimated cost:  3-5rmb each

Where to get it:

Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, in between Fuxing Lu and Wuyuan Lu. 乌鲁路在复中路和五原路中. Subway: Line 1/7 – Changshu Lu. Hours: 7am-2pm. Menu: Chinese only.


UT jianbing




Shēngjiān Bāo (生煎包)

Locally called shēngjiān mántou(生煎馒头), the most famous of these Shanghai specialty fried pork buns is guidebook favorite Yang’s Friend Dumplings, with 20 stores and a reputation for tourists. If you head there, make sure to go to the original Huanghe Lu branch. These dumplings are incredibly juicy, so bite carefully and slurp out the hot soup inside before you dive in completely. Fried on the bottom and steamed on top for a duo of textures, these buns usually come in orders of four. Sprinkle on the vinegar and enjoy!

Estimated cost:  3.5-5rmb for 4 dumplings

Where to get it:

Da Hu Chun

71 Yunnan Nan Lu, near Jinling Dong Lu. 云南南路71号近金陵. Subway: Line 8 – Dashijie. Hours: 7:30am-2pm, 3pm-8pm. Menu: Chinese only.






Bāozi (包子)

Steamed buns the size of a fist, baozi are one of the cheapest and most efficient on-the-go breakfasts in the city. Stores usually sell a variety of stuffings, from original pork flavor to vegetarian options filled with a combination of mushrooms, bok choy and tofu (usually denoted by the green fleck in the seam on top). Red bean paste is a sweet-savory combination popular with the locals.

Estimated cost:  1-2rmb each

Where to get it:

Yili Baozi Dian
#11, 1 Gao’an Lu, near Huaihai Lu. 高安路111号侧 近淮海路. Subway: Line 10 – Shanghai Library. Hours: 6am – 7pm. Menu: Chinese only.





Contributed by Jamie Barys & Kyle Long

Co-Founders of UnTour Shanghai, Shanghai’s leading culinary tour company.

UnTour Shanghai offers a coupon of RMB 50 to all Shanghai Mamas members. Just input “mamas” into the discount code section of the website during check-out to receive your discount on each ticket you purchase!


… Feeling hungry after that?

Go get yourself a street snack and stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

4 responses to “Shanghai’s Best Street Foods, Part 1

  1. Would also be helpful if you told us what we *should* be paying… I’ve had tourist friends who have paid 20RMB for onion cakes (!)

  2. That was a great question Robyn. I put it back to Kyle and Jamie and they agreed, and have sent me suggested prices. I’ve edited the article to include them. 🙂

  3. That was a great question Robyn. I put it back to Kyle and Jamie and they agreed, and have sent me suggested prices. I’ve edited the article to include them. 🙂

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