It's official. Shanghai now has that American campfire classic, s'mores. We found a stand serving them in a barely-open mall, all the way out in Gubei.
America's seemingly endless ingenuity with high-calorie foods has gone off the rails as of late. Case in point: the Double Down
and the Waffle Taco
. But there once was a simpler, more innocent time, a time when you could simply toast a marshmallow, snap off square of chocolate, and sandwich it between two Graham crackers. That just made sense, didn't it? Well, now someone is bringing that, albeit with some Chinese characteristics, to Shanghai with mall kiosk simply named S'more
The stand is just inside the entrance of an unfinished mall on Hongqiao Lu in Gubei. This is a good thing, because I'm pretty sure that until construction is complete, this place, like most unfinished/abandoned malls, will remain a haven for zombies. This strategic location right by the door allows for a quick getaway should you spot a brain-hungry mob shambling toward you.
Anyway, if you know what a s'more is, you likely attach to it some deep Proustian associations from your childhood — summertime, camping trips, winters huddled up by the fireplace with hot cocoa. What these guys sell may not exactly comport with those memories. All I can say to that is: This is China. Your childhood memories weren't factored into this equation, nor should they have been. This is a mass-market snack, intended to appeal to the broadest tastes possible within the Chinese market. Taking that into consideration, S'mores is still pretty good for what it is.
This motorized marshmallow spit alone will not doubt attract passersby.
Management tells me, by the way, that those marshmallows are imported. They're Rocky Mountain
brand. I'm not a marshmallow connoisseur, so I can't attest to this brand's cachet, but they seem to toast up nicely.
Each s'more is made to order in plain sight, too.
Graham crackers are made in house as well, but they're a departure from the kind you probably grew up with. They bakes them fresh and in house. They tell me they've upped the ratio of oat and wheat germ, which gives the crackers more texture, like a whole grain cookie.
For you s'more purists out there, this may be the point where the needle jumps the groove and the music stops. Yes, they use chocolate sauce instead of chunks broken off of a Hershey bar. I can only imagine that this was a solution born out of a need for efficiency. It's still pretty alright. China-based chocolatier Eden
makes it for them.
Right now they're offering three varieties. There is "The Original" (12rmb) which is just the marshmallow topped with chocolate and chopped peanuts. I like things simple, so this one was my favorite. For 2rmb more they've got two other options: "Strawberries & Cream," which they sprinkle with chunks of freeze-dried cereal box strawberries.
Then there is the "Banana Split," which is basically "The Orginal" with slices of fresh banana.
They're messy. The owners know this, so with each s'more you order they'll give you a packaged moist towelette. Nice gesture.
To go with the s'mores is a whole selection of chocolate drinks, like hot chocolate spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream (29rmb). At the time of writing, they're doing a buy-one-get-one-free deal on that one. So right now, that's the one to try. They have several others that I forwent for fear of going into insulin shock. Nevertheless, they sound promising: salted caramel, toasted hazelnut, double chocolate.
Finally, for takeaway, they've got "Chocolate Pearls." These are little tidbits coated in chocolate. You've likely seen stuff like this before. Think chocolate covered raisins or espresso beans. They do some unconventional flavors, too, like freeze dried durian in chocolate. Get yourself a bag for 38rmb, they are delicious.
For a listing of S'more click here