It’s 2am and you’re feeling peckish when you catch a whiff of grilled meat from round the corner. Typically manned by Uighurs from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China, makeshift kebab stalls—or Xinjiang Yangrou Chuan’r (literally Xinjiang Lamb Kebabs) as they’re more commonly known—are the mainstay of Shanghai’s late night street food scene. Eat like the locals, whose hunger pangs usually exceed a sense of basic propriety as they stand around eating in pajamas and bedroom slippers.
Choose between lamb, chicken or beef, or try the innards if you dare. The vegetarian alternative is also surprisingly delicious (eggplant, cauliflower and mushrooms make excellent picks). Most tourists are usually cautious of street food, but really these carts offer greater insight to local living than restaurants do. If still wary, head to the one listed here that we’ve tried and tested, with no evil stomach stories so far. Otherwise you’ll find these carts everywhere by the streets in local neighborhoods or near bars and clubs. Remember to tell the vendor “shao la” (less spicy) if you don’t want your kebab fiery hot.