It's actually quite difficult to decide on one single flavour when it comes to Shanghai! The food in Shanghai is amazing - it's one of the 8 major Chinese cuisines, and there are simply too many dishes that can represent Shanghai. In the end we settled for a sesame flavour, as one of the classic Shanghainese dishes that we love is the sesame cold noodles.
Chinese sesame paste is quite different from Tahini, as it's made with roasted sesame seeds rather than raw seeds, resulting in a deeper "nutty" taste (even though there's no nut in it) - our blog post on the development of this sesame crunch chocolate has some more information, as well as a picture of our homemade sesame cold noodles.
We played with the contrast in texture in this chocolate - apart from just creating a sesame paste filling, we decided to incorporate the sesame croquant into the filling. The choice of a flatter shape for this chocolate is deliberate - it is the best shape for this particular chocolate (we tried a few other shapes but none of them have worked as well) - The added bonus is that the wavey shape at the top and the raised corner looks so much like the roof of some old Chinese buildings.
Want to have a go at making sesame cold noodles? Here's our recipe:
Fifth Dimension's Recipe for Shanghainese Sesame Cold Noodles
Ingredients (for 2 servings of noodles):
- 1 packet of egg noodles (for 2 servings)
- 1 tablespoon sesame paste (try to get the sesame paste from Chinese grocery shop. If you really can't find it, you can use tahini but add a bit more peanut butter to give a more deep nutty taste)
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons white rice vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 10 tablespoons hot water
- 2-3 stalks of spring onions, chopped finel
- Make the sauce first by combining all the ingredients except the noodles and spring onions together - make sure it's mixed well until it is a smooth paste. If needed, add more water or soy sauce to taste if the sauce is too thick.
- Cook egg noodles according to packet, then drain and rinse in cold water until it's cooled down (this is key so that the noodles won't stick together).
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and then toss them together.
- Add spring onions on top.