THE culturally rich Jiangnan (region south of the Yangtze River) covers Shanghai and parts of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, which are known for their delicate seasonal flavors.
As a sophisticated city along the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai plays a big role in Jiangnan cuisines.
Rich in flavors, sweet but not sticky, fresh but not salty, Shanghainese cuisine is generally heavier than Cantonese cuisine, featuring preserved vegetables and pickles.
In autumn, the seasonal dishes also feature crabs, fresh mushrooms and other local flavors.
Shanghai Daily details some premium venues in the city serving authentic Shanghainese food with healthy and seasonal ingredients.
Nian Feng Chinese Restaurant
Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai Pudong
The braised pork brisket and ham, served at Nian Feng Restaurant in Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai Pudong, will catch your tongue and eyes at first sight.
Originated from the Pudong area, the dish is similar to Peking duck. It is eaten while rolled with steamed bread, cucumber, ham and crackers. People can add different salad dressings according to their own preferences.
Nian Feng Chinese Restaurant is a traditional Shanghainese restaurant that fuses East and West features based on original flavors, integrating local and Delta area specialties to form its unique Shanghai style.
“Shanghainese cuisine is famous for its flavors, in which the essence is incorporating things of diverse nature,” says John Ruan, the chef.
As one of the signature Shanghai foods, the fried river shrimp is also famous in this restaurant. Only the freshest river shrimp are chosen. They are cooked with the right timing and temperature to make this dish sweet and juicy, crisp and light.
The seasonally served South Africa wheatgrass is mixed with simple soy sauce to enhance its original freshness.
The signature dim sum at Nian Feng Chinese Restaurant is pan-fried bun stuffed with pork. It features a crisp surface and juicy fillings. The most important difference lie in that the pork is filled from the top to make the bottom taste even crisper.
“It has more than 28 frills to enclose the whole bun and a topping of sesame and chopped spring onion,” the chef says.
Address: 2/F, 2111 Pudong Rd S.
Fairmont Peace Hotel
Now is the season to harvest nature’s culinary treasure, the hairy crab, and the Fairmont Peace Hotel is elevating this ultimate treat to new heights with contemporary fusions.
While retaining the traditional characteristics, the traditional Shanghai sauce is improved at the hotel.
“We use homemade sauce instead of traditional heavy sauce,” says Chinese chef Jiang Yongfu. “Balance the ratio of oil in the sauce, and it will be more healthy and delicious.”
Both the tender chicken preserved in rich rice wine and stewed eight treasures soup are must-try dishes. The soup is cooked with homemade rice wine sauce and is well-known for its tempting smell and high nutrient.
“This soup is popular because of its rich taste, special manner of cooking and a variety of high-quality ingredients including abalone, scallop, sea cucumber, fish maw, soft shell turtle, beef tendon, Chinese herb and mushroom,” the chef says.
Address: 20 Nanjing Rd E.
The Langham Xintiandi, Shanghai
Some recommended Shanghai-style dishes at the hotel also cannot be missed.
Deep-fried fish with Shanghainese brown sauce, thinly sliced pork in soy sauce with dried bamboo shoots served with chestnut pancakes and braised kurobuta pork in red bean curd sauce served with pancake are strongly recommended by the restaurant’s Chinese Executive Chef Tony Su.
Address: 99 Madang Rd
Yong Yi Ting Chinese Restaurant
Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai
Shanghai celebrity chef Tony Lu, the consultant chef at the hotel, adds an enticing touch of modernity to the menu served at Yong Yi Ting Chinese Restaurant.
Unlike any other traditional restaurant serving Shanghai food, Yong Yi Ting provides a combination of delicate flavors, exquisite preparatory skills and fresh seasonal ingredients from the abundant lakes and fields surrounding Shanghai and in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
“We balance the taste and health elements in the dishes we prepare for our guests,” says Lu.
Autumn is the season to enjoy mushroom. Guests can find creative seasonal Shanghai dim sum, such as wild mushroom wontons broth with diced wagyu beef and steamed flower mushroom buns.
Apart from wild mushroom, the restaurant also serves the gorgon fruit seed (qianshi), which is also called jitoumi, in this particular season. The dish of salted sweet peas, gorgon fruit seed and ham is one of the signature dishes at each guest’s table.
For dessert, the homemade ice cream, candy, osmanthus and sweet potato is also strongly recommended, with a flavor inspired by the famous Shanghai milk candy White Rabbit, a brand with 100 years of history.
“This homemade ice cream made of melted White Rabbit candy, paired with osmanthus and sweet potato, is the perfect choice to end a meal,” says the chef.