Welcome to Number 12 in this series on Shanghai’s vibrant and delicious street foods.
Shanghai wouldn’t be Shanghai without its incredible street food! You can read about the others here:
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 14 Bao Mi Hua – exploding rice flowers
Number 16 Bing Tang Shan Zha – crystal sugar hawthorns
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 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
Dàn juǎn 蛋卷 are literally ‘egg rolls’, but these are the sweet, brittle biscuit variety, not the savoury egg rolls known to many as spring rolls (chūn juǎn 春卷).
To make these delicious snacks a mildly sweet egg and wheat flour batter is spooned on to a hot griddle and cooked like a pancake or waffle, then, using gloves to protect from the heat, folded up and rolled whilst still soft. As the dàn juǎn cools it becomes crunchy and biscuity. Variations include black sesame, white sesame, and seaweed flavours.
Some may not consider dàn juǎn a street food because they are available to buy in packets at the supermarket, just like biscuits. In Shanghai though, you can find dàn juǎn vendors at Si Pai Lo Lu, near Yu Gardens, and in the streets behind the fabric market on Lujiabang Lu. There are probably another fifty locations I don’t know about too! Hot off the griddle, and eaten as street food, they are a warm, crunchy, sweet snack.