one dragon restaurant logo

Our Favorite Shanghai Street Foods and Where to Find Them

Our Favorite Shanghai Street Foods and Where to Find Them


As someone who has lived in Shanghai for over 5 years, I have come to love the city’s amazing street food scene. Whether I’m looking for a quick breakfast between meetings or wanting to try some local snacks, Shanghai’s streets never disappoint. In this article, I will share some of Shanghai’s most popular and tasty street foods, along with recommendations on where to find them.

Xiaolongbao -soup dumplings

Xiaolongbao are one of Shanghai’s most iconic street foods. These delicious dumplings have a thin wrapper and are filled with a tasty pork and crabmeat broth. Biting into one and watching the hot soup spill out is a real treat.

There are many fantastic places to get xiaolongbao in Shanghai, but one of my favorites is Din Tai Fung in Xintiandi. The xiaolongbao here are always cooked to perfection, with a thick broth and thin wrapper. No matter what time I go, there always seems to be a long line. But it moves quickly and is worth the wait to get such high quality xiaolongbao.

Another good option is Yang’s Fry Dumplings in Jing’an District. While they don’t have the soft delicate wrapper of Din Tai Fung, their xiaolongbao broth is very flavorful. They also offer other dumpling varieties like shengjianbao. Yang’s is a bit less busy than Din Tai Fung, so it can be a better choice if you want xiaolongbao without a large crowd.

Roujiaomo – Chinese hamburger

Roujiaomo is essentially China’s version of a hamburger. Ground meat is shaped into a flat patty and placed inside flatbread. It is then typically topped with ingredients like cilantro, chili oil, and sweet bean sauce.

A lot of street stalls sell roujiaomo, but two that I frequnt are Happy Lamb Hot Pot in Xujiahui and Lost Heaven in Yuyuan Garden. Both of these spots use high quality lamb to make their patties. Lost Heaven’s patties have a nice char from their grill, while Happy Lamb’s version comes with runnier sauce inside the flatbread which I find very flavorful. Both spots are also good places for other lamb dishes if you want more than just a roujiaomo.

Shengjianbao – pan-fried buns

Shengjianbao are one of Shanghai’s most popular morning snacks. They are like a cross between a potsticker and a steamed bun – round and doughy on the outside but filled with juicyground pork and seasoning. Part of the enjoyment is dipping and tearing into the bun to release the hot juices inside.

Hands down the best place for shengjianbao is Shengguan Shengjian. They have multiple locations around the city but the original spot near Jing’an Temple is always crowded for a reason. The buns here are cooked to perfection every time, with a crispy bottom but still soft doughy top. I highly recommend getting there early, as they do sometimes sell out by lunchtime. Another great spot is Yuanbin Shengjianbao in Hongqiao, which also has a lovely outdoor eating area.

### Comparison of top shengjianbao spots
Shengguan Shengjian Yuanbin Shengjianbao
Original best known location More spacious outdoor seating
Longer lines, may sell out Stays open later in the day
Smaller but very flavorful buns Slightly larger buns
Crispier bottoms Soft doughy tops

Chuan’r – lamb skewers

Chuan’r , or lamb skewers, are a popular savory snack seen all over Shanghai streets. Thin strips of lamb are marinated and grilled to tenderness on a skewer. They are typically eaten with flatbread and a variety of dipping sauces like chili oil or cilantro sauce.

Some top spots for chuan’r in my opinion are Liuyishou Muslim Food Street in Huangpu District and Guoyuan Muslim Food Street in Changning District. Both streets are filled with stalls grilling skewers to order. The skewers at Liuyishou tend to be a bit fattier and more full of flavor in my experience. But Guoyuan gets extra points for its vibrant outdoor atmosphere. It’s a fun place to walk around, sampling different vendors’ skewers and flatbreads.

Tanghulu – fruit-filled candies on a stick

Tanghula are a refreshing sweet treat sold on Shanghai streets. Fruit pulp or bean paste is stuffed into dried fruits like lychee or longan, and they are strung up on cute little wooden sticks. Typical flavors include mango, red bean, and black sesame.

The most iconic location for tanghulu is Fuxing Park in the former French Concession area. Vendors line the walkways selling every variety of tanghulu imaginable. It’s quite a sight to see all the colorful sticks of candied fruit. The fruit here is always fresh too. Another reliable location is Renmin Park near People’s Square, which also offers tanghulu plus shaved ice desserts in the summer. Both parks are great spots for snacking while enjoying Shanghai’s lovely outdoor spaces.


In conclusion, Shanghai truly has an amazing variety of tasty and accessible street foods. These were just a few of my personal favorites, but there are many other delicious snacks still left for me to explore around the city. I hope this guide gave you some ideas of where to find Shanghai’s top street foods on your next visit. Most importantly, remember to just follow the crowds and your nose – that’s usually a great indication of the best street eats.



Subscribe to our newsletter to get latest news on your inbox.