Shanghai may be known as the showcase city of China but its authentic local food and culture can be found pulsating at street corners away from the Bund and the Pearl TV tower. This is the stuff that Shanghai carries lovingly in her veins: aromatic smells and no-frills yumminess. James seeks out the authentic xiao long bao and gives his verdict on this humble food that has transcended borders and boundaries, as the invariable ambassador of Shanghainese cuisine. For this mission, James heads to Yuyuan Gardens, a ‘must-see’ sight, where a lively atmosphere and multifarious old-Shanghai snack favourites keep James salivating. Want to get in on one of the city best-kept secrets ? For over 40 years, Chef Ah San has been cooking up a storm in his kitchen with time-honoured recipes. Even the menu on his wall is old school: written, as it is, on sections of bamboo. Images from old shanghai adorn the place, fading in frames hung for years in the well-loved restaurant – including pictures of famous patrons. Under Ah San’s tutelage, James learns about Shanghai through his culinary passions and tries his hand at recreating a classic dish.
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