“I could eat the arse out of a low flying duck”, a visiting friend said before we jumped a 15 minute cab ride to Qibao Ancient Town in Shanghai’s Minhang District.
Neither of us knew we’d actually be squaring off more peculiar dishes than low flying duck arses for lunch.
This was actually back in January when I ran into an old friend at the airport who was doing a quick flyby trip through China. After seeing much of Shanghai’s main ‘Lonely Planet’ trail he wanted to get a more authentic feel of China outside the metropolis of Shanghai.
With only a few hours to spare I recommended the area of Qibao Ancient Town. Qibao was originally built in the Northern Song Dynasty between 960 and 1126 and grew over the years with the Qibao Temple at the centre of shaping the area. Recently, the temple has been reconstructed and contains ancient artifacts from its beginnings, including the original bronze bell with script from the era.
Along with the cultural significance is the popularity of the area’s rather unique snack streets. Local Shanghainese dishes are available along with exotic snacks such as toad, pig snout, baby birds on sticks, among others I couldn’t quite make out.
Sure, you can visit more authentic, less touristy water-type towns further away from Shanghai, but if you’re short on time Qibao Town will satisfy.
What: Qibao Ancient Town
In Chinese: 七宝古镇 Pinyin: Qībǎo gǔ zhèn
Where: Shanghai’s Minhang District. You can get there via Shanghai Metro Line 9 to Qibao station or it’s about a 40-50RMB taxi ride from downtown Shanghai.
How much: Free, snacks are relatively cheap. Haggle for cheesy touristy gifts.