Shanghai’s street food has ‘unidentifiable sources’

Shanghai’s street food has ‘unidentifiable sources’

Eating street food in Shanghai is like gambling -- 70 percent of the time, you don’t actually know what you're getting

Shanghai street food -- shanghai street food vendor"This is mutton. For sure. I promise." Even those who still indulge in their love of Shanghai street food might question their eating habits after reading a recent report by the Shanghai Food and Drug Admission (FDA) on local street food.

One of the results of the FDA's investigation last October revealed that only 30 percent of the city's street food had reliable ingredient sources, reports the Shanghai Evening Post.

The Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress (SMPC) announced the figures as part of a discussion on the implementation of China’s new “Food Safety Law.”

The investigation covered chuan, cooked food and other local foods on 11 streets in four city districts.

By government counts, Shanghai has more than 10,000 mobile food stalls. 

Of 650 vendors surveyed, 609 had no business license. 

In 2010, Shanghai had 10 reported food poisoning outbreaks due to tainted street food, affecting 298 people.

Zhi Lingling, a commentator of the state-owned Jie Fang Daily, says 30 percent is a conservative estimate. It might be even lower. 

“Local foods like Shanghai's 'big four' breakfast foods are commonly served in streets or lanes," says Gong Danyun, also a commentator of Jie Fang Daily. "But they are not prepared under proper supervision, usually operated without a license." 

“It is hard to regulate the market or standardize management like what Yang’s Fried Dumplings did [for shenjianbao] since much of the local street food is usually homemade,” says Gong.

Referring to a 2010 report, Shanghainese commentator Li Guangyi adds that merely having a hygiene license is not enough to guarantee food safety. The report discussed cases such as vendors pirating hairy crab licenses and a city investigation of possibly dangerous hot pot condiments being used.

Love Shanghai street food but want to know exactly what you're getting? Try making your own: "DIY turnip cakes" "DIY Shanghai street noodles" and "DIY tea eggs."