April 23, 2009

Shanghai Markets

One of my favorite things to do when traveling anywhere is to check out the food markets to see how the rest of the world eats. Here in Shanghai, there are wet markets that sell fresh vegetables, poultry, meat, seafood, fresh noodles, tea, etc. But one of the fascinating markets we went to was a food emporium of sorts. Located on Nanjing Road (one of the main pedestrian shopping areas), these stores have an array of Shanghainese snacks. Because of the humidity in Shanghai, many of these snacks are wrapped in small individual size packets.

Additionally, the market has a huge selection of dried foods - everything from vegetables, meats, fish, shrimp. Over 2,000 years ago, Chinese used wind and sun to dry their food to prevent spoilage and prolong food supply. Today, dried foods are part of their cuisine. I was fascinated by the meat section. Just like every other culture, the Chinese cured their own ham and sausages. They look exactly like prosciutto, but yet they are much saltier.

The ham cannot be sliced and eaten. Usually, it is used to flavor soup or sliced thin to give flavor to cooked dishes.

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