Rich culinary heritage reimagined in Cangcheng

Tan Weiyun
The Caoyun Restaurant in the Cangcheng Historical and Cultural Heritage Area has brought back nostalgic memories of the 200-year-old canal shipping site.
Tan Weiyun

The westernmost Caoyun (canal transit) Restaurant in the Cangcheng Historical and Cultural Heritage Area is buzzing with festivities with the soft glow of dawn around 6am.

Lamb potstickers, stuffed golden buns, spring leek and eel silk stone pot rice and fresh herring congee attract diners.

The new eatery has revived the 200-year-old canal shipping site in a nostalgic tribute to history.

Cangcheng was Songjiang's largest grain storage and transit site throughout the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1912) dynasties. The Caoyun building served meals and refreshments to ferrying boatmen. Famous delicacies like "Braised Small Herring" and "Canal Dim Sum" attracted literati and artists.

"As a seasoned gourmet, I have traveled far and wide for business and eaten numerous cuisines, but Songjiang cuisine remains close to my heart," said Songjiang native restaurant owner Gu Minmin. "I have always wanted to create a restaurant near my home that symbolizes Songjiang culture and meets local tastes."

Gu's family lived on Zhongshan Road W. for years in the mid-1970s, giving him a strong affinity for the area. He felt inspired last year when the historic neighborhood announced that it was open for dining business. After six months of research, he chose to renovate the historic building and serve morning tea and Cangcheng cuisine.

To ensure freshness, the restaurant sources and prepares all items on demand. The breakfast and lunch service ends at 2pm with tea and wine. Cangcheng cuisine includes Zhongqiao noodle, mushroom sauce-stewed liver and red crispy crystal pear for lunch and dinner.

A new noodle house opened in the historic district alongside this restaurant. Zhou Xia, deputy general manager of Shanghai Cangcheng Development and Construction Co Ltd, claimed Western and Japanese food will soon be available. "The multiplicity of dining styles will provide visitors with more options."

Rich culinary heritage reimagined in Cangcheng

Dim sum and tea served at the eatery

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