The Shengsi Islands (Shèngsì Lièdǎo, 嵊泗列岛) are a group of almost 400 islands located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, that make up part of the Zhoushan Archipelago (Zhōushān Qúndǎo,舟山群岛). The largest, Sijao Island (Sìjiāo Shān, 泗礁山), is commonly referred to simply as Shengsi Island, and is a popular weekend getaway from Shanghai and a great destination for seafood, swimming and generally escaping the bustling cities of the mainland nearby.
Shengsi Island is primarily known for its wonderful seafood, and fresh fish, crabs and clams abound. Jinghai Lu (Jìnghǎi Lù, 静海路) is the main drag and any seafood-craving traveler will want to check it out because it’s here that you’ll find the highest concentration of hairy clams on the island.
Yes, that’s right, hairy clams. Though significantly more obscure than the wildly popular hairy crab, hairy clams are a regional delicacy. Back in the late 90s there was an “incident” involving some less than sanitary hairy clams in Shanghai that has tainted the mollusks’ reputation ever since. Today, the clams are exported in small numbers, but remain a point of pride for locals and a staple of their cuisine.
Most of the happenings on the island are concentrated on the center of the island in Caiyun Town (Càiyuán Zhèn, 菜园镇), and there you’ll find a variety of restaurants, hotels and guesthouses. The island is easily traveled by foot, and there are little patches of beach scattered across the island. There’s not a lot of things to do on Shengsi Island, but in many ways, that’s the beauty of it. Relax, swim and eat your way to a satisfying vacation.