Like it or not, street food is being slowly phased out of China’s largest cities, giving way to slightly more upscale holes-in-the-wall and shops with hipster pretensions. But in Shenzhen, dirt-cheap changfen and street-side skewers can still be tracked down – if you know where to look.
The urban village may be gearing up for redevelopment, but its street food scene is still alive – just slightly rearranged. A narrow lane some 50 meters north of Jiangnan Supermarket, along Shahe Jie, is now jam-packed with vendors selling perfectly spiced flatbread and every kind of fried rice imaginable, while more stalls are scattered around nearby alleys.
Jiangnan Supermarket, 92 Shahe Jie, Nanshan District 南山区沙河街92号江南百货 (2691 7304)
We’re stretching the definition of street food here, but Dongmen is still a prime destination for all the strange snacks on a stick, plus random wholesale goods, your heart could desire. Just follow your nose – and the crowds – for fried chicken, stinky tofu, grilled squid, takoyaki, and, for the adventurous, shellfish.
Yongxin Lu, Luohu District 罗湖区永新路
Shekou’s gone respectable, but there are still some al fresco spots that don’t require a hefty price tag. A few outdoor barbeque spots bookend blocks along Haichang Jie, while the street’s seedy side alleys hold more tiny shops selling noodles, doughy pancakes, cured pig parts and more.
Haichang Jie, Nanshan District 南山区海昌街
In between malls, electronics wholesalers and a plethora of sit-down restaurants, Huaqiangbei’s street food scene is still going strong, if smaller-scale than before. Sample freshly made wontons or changfen, Guangdong’s trademark breakfast food, at a range of streetside stalls.
Zhonghang Lu, Futian District 福田区中航路
Alas, the old ‘food street’ has been cleared out, but some of the vendors are still set up a few blocks away. Not only is the city’s (arguably) best roujiamo stand here, but if you turn right down Shuiwei Wu Jie, you’ll also find street-side manicures, clothing hawkers and more.
Shuiwei Liu Jie, Futian District 福田区水围六街
With files from Christine Gilbert.
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