The culture of Chinese food is one of the cultures with the most Chinese characteristics. Chinese people regard food as their prime want. In China, there are eight major cuisines and each has its own style. Today I would like to say something about the Shanghai cuisine which does not belong to the eight major ones.
Shanghai cuisine is rich, oily, sweet and luscious. Sumptuous, velvety meat or fish dishes braised with soy sauce, sugar and a touch of vinegar are a specialty. Shaoxing wine, which tastes like sherry, is fermented from glutinous rice, and used extensively in cooking and drunk warm. The Shanghainese repertoire includes a number of “drunken dishes,” where food is marinated in Shaoxing wine.
A Shanghainese meal will usually start with a selection of cold appetizers. At banquets these will appear in elaborate presentations. You might come across 'mock goose', which is a sheet of bean curd rolled and braised to resemble goose meat. Drunken chicken or duck's tongues will usually be included. Jellyfish, shredded and tossed in a little sesame oil, as well as various pressed meats and spiced smoked fish will be served.
Garlic eels are a favorite, as are crunchy tiny freshwater shrimps that may be stir-fried or flavored with tea. Freshwater fish and whole carp, fried or steamed, garnished with a sweet and sour sauce is popular. In autumn, freshwater Shanghai crabs, also called hairy crabs, are a greatly enjoyed delicacy.
Beggar's chicken is made by wrapping the fowl in lotus leaves, coating the package with mud and baking it. This results in a tender, lightly flavored chicken. Another local concoction is 'Lion Head' meatballs with cabbage.
Shanghainese eat dumplings and noodles in addition to rice. You’ll want to try the local dumplings--fried, steamed or in soup, filled with meat and vegetables. They are a favorite snack. You can buy these, and deep-fried dough sticks, from street vendors, along with a glass of warm or chilled fresh soymilk. The city is also famous for traditional Chinese sweets like glutinous rice cakes and steamed buns.
Here is more information about Shanghai food