Shanghai cuisine, also known as Hu cai, is a popular style of Chinese cuisine. The city of Shanghai itself does not have a separate and unique cuisine of its own, but modifies those of the surrounding provinces, is Jiangsu and Zhejiang coastal provinces. What can be called Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, crab, chicken are "drunken" with spirits and are briskly cooked/steamed or served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to adjuntify the dish. The use of sugar is common in Shanghainese cuisine, especially when used in combination with soy sauce. Non-natives tend to have difficulty identifying this usage of sugar and are often surprised when told of the "secret ingredient". The most notable dish of this type of cooking is "sweet and sour spare ribs" ("tangcu xiaopai" in Shanghainese). "Red cooking" is a popular style of stewing meats and vegetables associated with Shanghai.
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