Shanghai eats: Sweet and fragrant Haitang cake

Haitang cake, a baked pastry made of flour, filled with red bean paste and sugar, is a traditional Shanghai snack. It originated in Jiangsu Province, and then came to Shanghai.


Filmed by Jack Zhou. Edited and translated by Sophie Wang. Special thanks to Andy Boreham. 

Haitang cake, a baked pastry made of flour, filled with red bean paste and sugar, is a traditional Shanghai snack. It originated in Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, and then made its way to Shanghai. The name “Haitang” was picked since the cake looks a bit like the Chinese flowering crabapple.

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, Haitang cake tastes sweet and fragrant.

Jack Zhou / SHINE

Liyuming, a Shanghai pastry chef, has been making Haitang cake in Yuyuan, or Yu Garden, for nearly 20 years. For him, it's not only a job, but also a duty. 

He has his own principle: "A man should be frank and forthright, and his business too." He says following this strict principle means he has always made the best Haitang cake for his loyal customers.

Jack Zhou / SHINE


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