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Shanghai Street Food #13 Shāo Kǎo 烧烤 Street Barbecue

Time for another instalment of Shanghai Street Food! After being in Xi’an and eating every amazing thing on offer there I’m on a street food high – the more the better. 

Street barbecue (shao kao 烧烤) vendors are a great way to have a whole pile of food you like cooked to lip-smacking perfection right in front of you on the street grill. Walk up, and choose any mouth-watering combo from the bamboo skewers of raw foods laid out on a long table – there are mushrooms (shitake, oyster, enoki), meats (pork, fish, prawn, squid, sausage) and vegetables (lotus root, spring onions, peppers), plus some unidentified tofu-type things. Now line up behind the other hungry punters to wait your turn grill-side.

The vendor will beckon you over, put all your skewers on to the smoking grill plate, and then season them to your liking – any combination of salt, soy sauce, spice mix, chili and vinegar, shaken and splashed in a perfect symphony of flavours. He’ll take what looks like a bricklaying trowel, and in fact, in all likelihood, is a bricklaying trowel, and with it press your meats firmly into the grill to really get those flavours mingling. The smell of the smoke mingled with the smell of spiced barbecuing meat is like torture for your hungry stomach while you wait. Skewers 2-6 yuan (30c – $1) each. 

Need more? For more street food than you could possibly handle in one sitting, take a look at the rest of the series!
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

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com/ croquecamille

    Oh, how fun! Kind of like a street-food version of the "Mongolian Grill" I used to like so much as a kid. (Still do, really, but haven't had it in ages.)

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/11390453342365399230 Fiona

    We also had a 'Ghengis Khan' mongolian grill in downtown Brisbane. It was very exotic in 1982 😉
    This is a bit less theatrical, and sadly no costumes…..

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/06536552327023867787 shaz

    Oh yum, I can just imagine the smell. I used to love the "dipping" ones we got back in Malaysia. You rocked up to the stall, chose your skewers of food, then dipped it into a pot of boiling water/stock to cook it yourself. Very fun, but definitely not OH&S compliant.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/06517771659910444299 Jeannie

    These looked very tasty indeed!