Satiated in Shanghai: sampling street food.
Food sizzles, steam rises, we can almost taste the chilli in the air as we make our way through the night market. As with every market we come across, it’s the Ma La Tang – hot pot – with its variety of fresh, skewered meats, fish and vegetables, dipped into flavoursome broth that draws the crowd. Originally from Sichuan – the province of spice – we brace ourselves for the onslaught of heat and flavour.
Chinese culinary culture is famed throughout the world for creating delicacies out of almost anything, most of which you can buy in the numerous stalls that line the streets. We pass over roast duck for something we’re less familiar with and decide to try roast pigeon instead. Praised for their tenderness, pigeons aren’t commonly raised and therefore reserved for banquets and special occasions. It was delicious.
Seafood abounds in every street market, in astonishing variety. Squid skewers are marinated in chilli and cumin and then grilled on a hot metal plate. The only way to eat them is right there, in that moment.
After wandering through a food market, our bodies yearn for a refreshing drink. In China, juice bars exceed our expectations. All manner of fruits and vegetables are blended into juices you can have cold, or even hot. Watermelon, papaya, pear, corn, red beans, pineapple, coconut, and more. We pick one to have hot and one to have cold, with tapioca balls and without, and wander off, wholly satisfied.