Asia | Food

Wok & Roll: A Guide to The Best Night Food Markets in Shanghai

Shanghai has dozens upon dozens of markets for you to stroll, selling Chinese street food, wares, clothing, and electronics – that stay open until after sunset. So, grab a refreshing watermelon juice, tuck in your napkin, and discover the most popular Chinese food at these vibrant night markets.

Dying to see Shanghai’s night markets, Beijing’s palaces, and everything in between? Then spend 15 days touring The Best of China with Yangtze Cruise. You’ll see the famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, giant pandas in Chengdu, and taste Shanghai’s night markets.

Wisdom Bay Night Market

Chinese lanterns hanging at night market

Close to the Shanghai Night Market but feeling many moons away, the Wisdom Bay Night Market is one of the largest trunk markets in not only Shanghai, but in all of China. It begins around suppertime on the weekends and rocks into the night. Try to visit in the summer so you can attend the market’s annual music festival.

Tianzifang

Two women with umbrella at Tianzifang night market, Shanghai

It’s Shanghai’s SOHO and you could spend your whole trip here. 

Tianzifang is a 24-hour market and is an absolutely perfect place to forget the clock exists. Located in the Old French Quarter, original architecture and a lack of significant redevelopment gives the market an old-school feel. 

This is the kind of market you visit to wander without worry. Hungry? Cheap eats are there, including some of the most popular Chinese food. Need to rest your legs? Cafes and bars invite you to duck in for a spell. Artisans sling their creations while vendors hawk their tchotchkes that you can take home as souvenirs. 

And best of all? It’s a very tourist-friendly area and close to Xintiandi; an ideal night market experience for the first time visitor to Shanghai.  

Read next: What to pack for China in every season

Tongbei Road Street Market

Fresh fish in basket

There’s something fishy about Shanghai’s Yangpu district — but that’s a good thing. The Tongbei Road Street Market sees schools of hungry mouths swim over for a feeding frenzy. 

We’re not saying that those who prefer the harvest from the earth will be left hungry, but if you’re coming to Tongbei Road to sample some of the most popular Chinese food, you’ll want it scooped straight from the ocean. The many seafood stalls (some selling fresh catches that you won’t find much outside of Shanghai) will leave you satisfied.

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Dongchang Road Night Market

Chinese dumplings in bamboo steamer

Were all of your well-traveled friends raving about Linfeng Road Night Market, only for you to find out it’s since shut down? We have your alternative. 

Dongchang Road Night Market has always held its own when comparing apples to apples (or dumplings to dumplings, we suppose) with Linfeng. Locals stock it with lots of bric-a-brac and women’s fashion accessories. 

But you’re here for the food.

The cooked-on-site snacks are the main attraction: don’t be shocked to find ci fan (breakfast rice rolls), sheng jian (steamed buns), and Chinese-style fried chicken served up for only a few Yuan. There’s a reason these are some of the most popular Chinese foods.

Savor a different flavor: Best Lisbon markets for authentic food and antiques

Changli Road Street Food Market

Lanterns and crowds at popular Chinese food market

Picture it: it’s been a long day. You’ve wandered the Yu Garden under the Shanghai sun. You’ve gone to the top of the Shanghai Tower. You’ve walked Nanjinglu Street twice. 

But you’re not going to rest your tired soles. You’re going to feed your foodie soul at the Changli Road Street Food Market. 

The Pudong District’s most popular market has a two-decade history of leaving stomachs full, smiles wide, and diners satisfied. It’s open into the night, though some visitors have seen it close well before the witching hour. Regardless, it’s a local haunt where you can walk around with seafood kebabs and chicken legs while you pursue the few nick-nack tables in between the food stalls.

Save for later: Must-visit market and bazaars from around the world

Fengjing Road Night Market at the BFC

Buildings and water in Fengjing, Shanghai, China

While you should certainly explore the origins of Shanghai like its 13th century Old Town, you shouldn’t neglect the city’s new directions. The Bund Finance Center is a brand new complex on Shanghai’s waterfront and it’s well-worth your time.

As an epicenter of culture, you could spend from 10 in the morning until 10 at night exploring what the BFC has to offer. The weekend market is obviously a must – live DJ sets, street art, and 40 different F&B stalls equal a great Saturday night – but if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Shanghai during the holiday season, its sparkling Christmas market is quite the magical experience.

Got a taste for travel? Then check out Trafalgar’s menu of delicious destinations. We’ve got an itinerary for those who love fine dining, Chinese street food, and everything in between, like our Classic China tour: 10 days in Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai.

Have you been to Shanghai? Tell us about your favourite spots in the comments below

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