It seems the more Shanghai prospers, the more commercial chains encroach upon local food vendors and restaurants. Your favorite bai zhan ji guy makes way for KFC, that grandmotherly lady’s noodle shop gets bellied aside by Ajisen Ramen, and the whole Wujiang Lu is uprooted in what feels like a massive cultural lobotomy. Okay, it’s not quite that simple; there are food safety issues (though big chains aren’t exactly immune either), the question of whether working 20 hours a day at an outdoor stall rolling potstickers is desirable/viable in modern Shanghai, etc. But I think we can all agree that without its food vendors and native eateries, Shanghai would be quite a dull, sepia tone place. So in homage to Shanghai’s local food scene, I give you my 5 favorite Shanghai food/restaurant streets.
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Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].