My Shanghai Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Enter our US giveaway to win one of two copies of My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water by Betty Liu.

“The two Chinese characters in the city’s name are  (shàng/zan, “upon”) and  (hǎi/hae, “sea”), together meaning “Upon the Sea”

Betty Liu is a woman who has worn many hats including that of a food photographer, workshop/retreat teacher, blogger, and wedding photographer, but these days she spends most of her time as a general surgery resident training in Boston. She still feeds her passion for cooking as a creative outlet and recently her debut cookbook was born of that passion.

My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water was written to share the story of her family’s cooking, with roots from the Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions, the two regions that border Shanghai. Betty states that Shanghainese cuisine is not like any other in China and that the recipe and flavor profiles in her book are more typical of the Jiangsu region than Zhejiang.

Chinese cuisine is made up of 10 regional styles of cooking with Shanghai being the youngest. This region of cooking is characterized by greater use of soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, and rice vinegar (compared to other regional cuisines). Betty tells us that most refer to Shanghainese cooking as “sweet” but she feels that is too simple of a description. Her cuisine is “light and refreshing. The food has purity, with plenty of depth in flavor, and is bright and well rounded…” Shanghai cooking is most famous for “red-cooking,” in which food is gently braised in a flavorful soy sauce-based liquid with sugar and spices such as five-spice powder which imparts a reddish-brown color to the dish.

In this book she brings her family’s recipes, through her lens as a modern home cook born and raised in America. A few of her favorite recipes include: her mother’s lion’s head meatballs, her father-in-law’s pride and joy, the Nanjing salted duck; the classic red-braised pork belly (as well as a riff to turn them into gua bao); and core basics like high stock, wontons, and fried rice. In this book which is also part travelogue, the author takes us to discover where hairy crabs are farmed, how bamboo is foraged, and the traditions of Chinese holidays, with as much stunning photography as she could fit into the book.

My favorite chapter here is the Street Food section which shares gorgeous recipes and imagery for Scallion flower buns, Chinese fried crullers, and Soup dumplings. That being said the entire volume is impressive and shares a deep dive into the beautiful world of Shanghai cuisine.

Our EYBDPreviewButton takes you inside this beautiful book and features the following EYBD Recipe Button

Special thanks to Harper Design for providing a review copy to me of this title, approval of our EYBD Preview and for offering two copies of My Shanghai in our giveaway below.

Special thanks to the publisher for providing two copies of this title in our promotion. Entry options include answering the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post and this forum post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on July 1st, 2021.

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  • Shelley.b  on  March 15, 2021

    Rice encrusted pork ribs

  • Harriatsu  on  March 15, 2021

    Excited to make the dumplings!!

  • lean1  on  March 15, 2021

    Double-mushroom noodle soup.

  • jennz_99  on  March 15, 2021

    Pork belly buns!

  • CapeCodCook  on  March 15, 2021

    I would make the oil-poached scallion chicken

  • thecharlah  on  March 15, 2021

    Shanghai shaomai (Shàng hǎi shāo mài)

  • Pocahontas  on  March 15, 2021

    I would love to try all! But if I can only pick one… then i’d pick the moms Shanghai red braised pork belly otherwise known as:
    Shangaan hai hong shao rou.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  March 16, 2021

    hairy crab tofu

  • greglum64  on  March 16, 2021

    Wow I didn’t even get very far in the preview – those Suzhou-style Mooncakes look and sound phenomenal!

  • youngsvnnhrs  on  March 16, 2021

    Morning pork bao (Xiān ròu bāo)

  • mjes  on  March 16, 2021

    Basic winter greens stir-fry (Qīng chǎo qīng cài )

  • sarahawker  on  March 16, 2021

    Sticky rice balls: meat filling

  • nvernon  on  March 16, 2021

    Red-braised fish (Hóng shāo yú)

  • nyserge  on  March 16, 2021

    Sweet-and-sour lotus root (Táng cù lián ǒu)

  • matag  on  March 16, 2021

    Shanghai fried thick noodles

  • Psycozz  on  March 16, 2021

    Pork belly Bao!

  • Etrnalhope  on  March 16, 2021

    Shanghai-style pork zongzi!

  • Siegal  on  March 17, 2021

    I want to make red braised fish

  • ravensfan  on  March 18, 2021

    Yang chun noodles (Yáng chūn miàn)

  • roxlet  on  March 19, 2021

    Shanghai fried thick noodles

  • virjeania  on  March 19, 2021

    Yang chun noodles

  • hilaryhp  on  March 19, 2021

    Oil exploded shrimp!

  • LaurenE  on  March 19, 2021

    Morning pork bao (Xiān ròu bāo

  • PeavineBlues  on  March 19, 2021

    Fried thick noodles

  • Whyvette  on  March 19, 2021

    Shanghai big wontons sound delicious!

  • Lazorbunny  on  March 19, 2021

    Everything looks so good… gotta start with mom’s shanghai hong shao rou!

  • topdawg11  on  March 19, 2021

    Pork belly bao

  • GillB  on  March 19, 2021

    Yang Chun noodles

  • fbrunetti  on  March 20, 2021

    Rice-encrusted pork ribs

  • debbiehb  on  March 21, 2021

    Double-mushroom noodle soup (Shuāng gū miàn)

  • JessHeilman  on  March 21, 2021

    Basic winter greens stir-fry

  • avonleajules  on  March 21, 2021

    shanghai fried thick noodles

  • acecil  on  March 22, 2021


  • sarahteertzah  on  March 22, 2021

    Braised shiitake and tofu (Dōng gū dòu fu bāo)

  • tlcook  on  March 23, 2021

    Rock sugar pork hock sounds amazing! Would try that!

  • cdagen  on  March 23, 2021

    Pork belly bao

  • Rose_Marie_Brintzenhofe  on  March 24, 2021

    Red braised fish

  • gilmonster  on  March 24, 2021

    Morning pork bao (Xiān ròu bāo)

  • itadakimasu  on  March 24, 2021


  • Indyjane  on  March 24, 2021

    I want to try Oil-exploded shrimp (Yóu bào xiā)!

  • Sfgordon  on  March 25, 2021

    Sticky rice balls: greens filling

  • Binguy  on  March 25, 2021

    I’ll try the scallion oil-poached chicken! Looks really scrumptious!

  • RickPearson54  on  March 28, 2021

    Pork belly buns

  • Aminata95  on  March 28, 2021

    Shanghai shaomai

  • jhejhejhejhe  on  March 30, 2021

    double mushroom noodle soup

  • kitchen_chick  on  April 1, 2021

    “Duck” tofu rolls (Sù yā)

  • lisambb  on  April 2, 2021

    All the dumplings

  • PeavineBlues  on  April 3, 2021

    Sticky rice balls

  • curafresh  on  April 3, 2021

    winter greens stir fry

  • RoseMGenuine  on  April 6, 2021

    Pork belly bao

  • nyserge  on  April 8, 2021

    Lion’s head meatballs: clear broth method (Shī zi tóu 1)

  • DNAYAR  on  April 10, 2021

    Hairy crab tofu

  • monasli  on  April 11, 2021

    Mom’s Shanghai Red braised pork belly.

  • APrivateSupperClub  on  April 16, 2021

    Chestnut Chicken! I love chestnuts.

  • justcooking  on  April 19, 2021

    Scallion oil-poached chicken

  • ChicagoJen  on  April 19, 2021

    Scallion oil noodles

  • love2chow  on  April 20, 2021

    Snow vegetable, edamame, and tofu skin

  • Dannausc  on  April 24, 2021

    Soy-pickled radish

  • laurentipton  on  April 25, 2021

    Cōng yóu jī!

    I lived in Shanghai for a few years, so super excited about this giveaway!

  • minichau1  on  April 28, 2021

    scallion pancakes!

  • moralla  on  April 30, 2021

    Pork belly bao

  • Dhasenkampf  on  May 1, 2021

    “Duck” tofu rolls

  • oreganoca  on  May 3, 2021

    Rice-encrusted pork ribs

  • ktcupcake  on  May 4, 2021

    Flowering chives and pork slivers

  • Ileana  on  May 5, 2021

    Sweet vinegared fish (Tang cu yu)

  • kmn4  on  May 10, 2021

    Mom’s Shanghai red-braised pork belly (Shàng hǎi hóng shāo ròu)

  • vhfvhf  on  May 27, 2021

    Double-mushroom noodle soup (Shuāng gū miàn)

  • t.t  on  June 11, 2021

    Snow vegetable, edamame, and tofu skin

  • anzopants  on  June 13, 2021

    Winter greens stir fry 😍

  • Leonard5854  on  June 13, 2021

    Garlicky cucumbers

  • jahqdruh  on  June 18, 2021

    Red-braised pork belly!

  • teamkies  on  June 20, 2021

    Red-braised fish

  • Lora724  on  June 20, 2021

    I would make Scallion oil noodles.

  • Karla123  on  June 21, 2021

    “Wood-ear mushroom and mountain yam stir-fry (Mù ěr chǎo shān yāo)”…sounds delicious!

  • hawol001  on  June 23, 2021

    Suzhou-style mooncakes (Sū shì xiān ròu yuè bǐng)

  • cellenly  on  June 28, 2021

    Steamed Fish

  • orchidlady01  on  July 1, 2021

    Snow vegetable, edamame, and tofu skin (Xuě cài máo dòu chǎo bǎi yè)

  • Semimedium  on  July 1, 2021

    Mom’s Shanghai red-braised pork belly!

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