Be brave: try the cong you flavoured ones. These contain spring onion and lard — an authentic Shanghai taste
Bored of dumplings? Probably not, but in Shanghai you can’t limit yourself to one thing: branch out to Xie ke huang. These round yellow pastries look like the shell of a cooked crab, hence the name which translates as Crab Yellow Pastry. These snacks have been around since the beginning of the 20th century and they have only grown in popularity since then. Now, they’re a tea-house staple.
The main ingredient is oil-mixed dough. This is split into little pieces which are pressed into flat round cakes and stuffed with more or less whatever you like. But normally you’ll find them with shallot oil, pork, crab or shrimp. The sweet ones come with sugar, roses, sweetened bean paste, or even red dates. As a final touch, the pastries are wrapped in a layer of sesame before being baked in the oven. The result is something special: golden brown and crispy.
These are great street food and you can pick them up on the go, but some of the best in Shanghai can be found at Wuyuan Binjia. The service can be a bit grouchy, but the savoury xie ke huang are sublime.
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