Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
You may not like to admit it, but a lot of sweets, even good ones like tangyuan and moon cakes, are pretty anticlimactic. You crave them like a castaway craves fresh water but after two or three, you’re swollen, queasy, and wishing you’d loaded up on real food instead.
One exception to this rule is glutinous rice in bamboo sold in Qibao Old Town; basically banana-flavored rice and red beans packed inside a bamboo stalk (7.5RMB). Actually hailing from Southeast Asia which boasts a multitude of sticky rice-bamboo tube dishes (the most famous being Thai Khao Lam), this sweet eat is fulfilling but not filling. Despite having a cringe-worthy artificial yellow hue, the sticky rice tastes like real banana and isn’t overpoweringly sweet. Instead of stuffing you to the brim, it primes your palate for gorging your way down the Qibao eat street – especially since the sticky rice tube stall is the first vendor on the main food strip.
After you order, the vendor splits the stalk lengthwise and peels back strips of husk like a banana so only a thin veil of bamboo skin covers the sticky rice and bean stuffing. This dissolves like rice paper in your mouth. Simple, satisfying, these tubular treats are def worth the train ride out to Qibao.
Banana sticky rice stall – 3 Qi Bao Lao Jie Nan Da Jie (七宝老街南大街3号). Closest metro stop: Qibao (七宝) Line 9.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Pork-stuffed river snails @ Rui Fu Yuan
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!