上海吃相
EATING IN SHANGHAI

    上海人喜欢吃,不一定天天泡在餐厅里,但要吃好的。即使是普通人家的青菜萝卜,小鱼小肉也弄得色香味俱全,把滋润肠胃当作一种生活品味。
正宗大菜都叫小吃吃。在许多时候,还把吃点心当饭吃。“吃点小吃”在很多时候,就算是一顿正餐了,小吃其实也是大吃。
上海的小吃从阳春面到生煎馒头、虾肉烧卖,有很多讲究,出名的店做工精细,一点都不比做大餐省功夫。
而说到上海菜,那就更复杂了。
上海菜的概念有两种,一是土生土长的传统本帮菜;一指融合了各地精华,发展过来的海派菜。
  本帮菜的本色来自江南的家常菜,原料主要取用本地鱼虾蔬菜,以红烧、清蒸、生煸、滑炒,及炸、糟等功夫见长,滋味方面既有浓油赤酱,也有咸淡适口,常常还咸中带甜。
  本帮菜看中的是小户人家口味,没有大菜,过于平民,所以,不管在中国的四大菜系、八大菜系,甚至十二菜系,都排不上号。
等到大上海繁荣之后,生活考究,排场日盛,各帮菜系蜂拥而来,人称“十六帮”,满足大都会清淡,雅致口味的海派菜于是应运而生。
  海派菜的特色就是“拿来主义”,把川菜变成上海的川菜,粤菜变成上海粤菜,淮扬菜变成了上海淮扬菜……花样无穷,又都很上海。
改良过的海派菜做工精细,看得出功夫,上得了台面,开得出价钱,还要搭配好看,有噱头。当然,餐桌摆设也要优雅,餐厅要够排场,吃在上海是全方位的享受。
  上海人吃也喜欢赶时髦:前几年盛行美食街;然后杭州菜大热;或者新派上海菜又热闹起来;最近设计格调取胜的高档餐厅也很风行,有许多白领捧场……上海这地方,吃也要吃得标新立异。
总而言之,上海人对吃是穷究不放的,小户人家有精打细算的享乐,花小钱吃大菜;富裕而有口味的人则倾向时髦,专去新兴而昂贵的时尚餐厅,吃的品质要好,而坐的地方最好是当年白崇禧在汾阳路上的花园洋房,或者宋子文在衡山路上的别墅改造的“SASHA”。
但不管吃什么,怎么吃,真正的老吃客都不会给自己的口味打折扣。

Shanghainese love to eat. They may not go to restaurants every day, but they still want to eat well. Even with ordinary ingredients like turnips and garden greens they will carefully prepare dishes that demonstrate a culinary enthusiasm for life.
A full meal is often referred to as “a small bite,” while snacks sometimes constitute an entire meal. Sometimes, small bites can add up to a huge meal
Typical Shanghai snacks include noodles in a clear broth with chives, fried dumplings with meat stuffing, and steamed buns filled with shrimp, all of which can become complicated to make. Restaurants become famous for a snack specialty, which must be prepared with no less care than formal dishes.
As for mainstream (“official”) Shanghai cuisine, there are two schools: traditional local dishes and so-called Haipai dishes. The latter developed from absorbing essences of other provinces into traditional Shanghai dishes.
Local cuisine is based on the daily catch south of the Changjiang River: local varieties of fish, shrimps and vegetables. Usual preparation methods include stewing in soy sauce, steaming, stir-frying, simmering, deep-frying and “pickling” in liquor. Consequently, there are diverse tastes, both heavy and light, all with a typically Shanghainese dash of sweetness.
Popular dishes cater to local tastes and strictly speaking do not rank among the best-known types of Chinese cuisine. The official “Grand Four” categories of Chinese cooking are from the regions Sichuan, Shandong, Canton and Hangzhou. Shanghai is considered only a “subcategory” of the more famous Suzhou cuisine, which itself only places in the top eight.
It was not until Shanghai became prosperous towards to end of the 19th century and the so-called “Sixteen Categories” (cuisines gathered from various areas) arrived that “Haipai dishes” emerged, which satisfied the discriminating palate of a metropolitan city.
The distinguishing feature of Haipai dishes is adaptation; the addition of Shanghainese accents to traditional cuisines from other regions. The dishes remain distinct but have Shanghai characteristics added to them.
These revisions are refined in taste and artistic in presentation. Since they require lots of time and energy to make, they are most often served in top-quality restaurants with prices to match. And since dining in Shanghai is a well-rounded pleasure, tasteful décor always accompanies tasty food.
Shanghai is also quick to follow new trends in eating: food streets were popular for several years. Then Hangzhou cuisine became fashionable, later replaced by “New Shanghai cuisine.” Most recently, sumptuous designer restaurants are in with white-collar workers. In Shanghai, people seek novelty in their dining.
But in the end, whether they belong to the thrifty, cost-conscious class of diners or to the wealthier group who follow fashion and frequent the new and expensive restaurants in renovated, historic villas, Shanghai gourmets put food above everything else. No matter what they eat and how they eat, dining insiders will never compromise on their taste.

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