Although hardly a rival to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market, Shanghai’s Tongchuan Lu is nevertheless a fun place to see the city’s famous mercantile spirit in full throat. If you plan on doing more than just looking, make sure someone in your party speaks Chinese and has a rough idea of reasonable pricing: this is one wet market where it’s not just the products that are slippery.
Buying, though, is what this place is all about, and it’d be a shame not to join in. After all, Shanghai is a port city, meaning it gets the pick of both local and international produce. Many of the city’s top restaurants source their seafood here, and it’s possible to pick up crabs, lobsters, and even abalone cheaper than anywhere else in town.
The trick is to take your time: compare prices and quality before you buy. Then take what you’ve bought to any of the nearby restaurants and, for a small fee, have it cooked for you. Xin Jiu Long Tang (#920 Tongchuan Lu) and Shi Shao Cu (#5/928 Tongchuan Lu) are both highly recommended.