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Shanghai Street Food #3 Liángpí 凉皮

In the Old City, on the corner of Sipailou Lu and Fangbang Lu is a great street food market. You might find it by accident if you’ve been wandering around Yu Gardens and became carried away on the human tidal wave sweeping you east down Fangbang Lu. You should be able to smell it long before you see it – the savoury scent of dozens of different foods being cooked to order that typifies a Chinese street food market. Enter through the ornamental stone archway and you’re there.

Outside the stalls are makeshift fold-up tables and plastic stools. Just wander along until you find something you like the look of. I ordered ‘liang pi’, literally ‘cold skin’, not the most appetizing name I know, but this is a wonderful dish for a hot day (one so far since last October, not that I’m counting……..) It’s made from a cold rice starch sheet, steamed, sliced to resemble noodles, and then mixed deftly in front of you with bean sprouts, chili, peanuts, vinegar, sugar, tiny tofu cubes and coriander. The chili builds momentum as you eat, and the ‘noodles’ have a dense texture with a great bite, much firmer than regular noodles.


At the next door stall someone has ordered wok fried red-claw, and as the flames leap high and the smell of garlic fills the air, I feel very happy indeed.

Because I love street food so much, and because it is an integral part of a food-loving life in China, I’m working my way through all of Shanghai’s street foods, one by one. This is Number 3 in the Shanghai Street Food series. Enjoy tasting them all!

Number 1   Roast Sweet Potatoes
Number 2   Snack-on-a-stick 
Number 3   Liangpi – a spicy cold noodle dish
Number 4   Langzhou Lamian – hand-pulled noodles
Number 5   Cong You Bing – fried shallot pancakes
Number 6   Baozi – steamed buns, Shanghai style
Number 7   Jian Bing – the famous egg pancake
Number 8   Dan Gao – street cakes
Number 9   Shao mai – sticky rice treats
Number 10  Summer on a Stick – fresh fruits

Number 11  You Tiao – deep-fried breadsticks
Number 12  Dan Juan – egg rolls
Number 13  Shao Kao – street barbecue
Number 14  Bao Mi Hua – exploding rice flowers
Number 15  Chou Doufu – stinky tofu
Number 16  Bing Tang Shan Zha – crystal sugar hawthorns
Number 17  Mutton Polo
Number 18  Yumi Bang – puffed corn sticks
Number 19  Mian Hua Tang – cotton candy
Number 20  You Dunzi – fried radish cakes

Number 21  Suzhou Shi Yue Bing – homestyle mooncakes 
Number 22  Gui Hua Lian’ou – honeyed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice
Number 23  Cong You Ban Mian – scallion oil noodles
Number 24  Guotie – potsticker dumplings
Number 25  Nuomi Cai Tou – fried clover pancakes
Number 26  Da Bing, Shao Bing – sesame breakfast pastries
Number 27  Ci Fan – sticky rice breakfast balls
Number 28  Gui Hua Gao – steamed osmanthus cake
Number 29  Zongzi – bamboo leaf wrapped sticky rice
Number 30  Shengjianbao – pan-fried dumplings

Number 31  Mala Tang – DIY spicy soup