The Shanghai style Nian Gao is usually packaged in a thick soft rod to be sliced up or packaged pre-sliced and either stir-fried or added to soup. Depending on the cooking method this style is a soft to a chewy variant. The Shanghai style keeps the nian gao white. The color is its distinct feature.
When served as a dish, the most common is the stir-fry method, hence the name (炒年糕, pinyin: chao3 nian2 gao1). There are three general types. The first is a savory dish, common ingredients include scallions, beef, pork, cabbage etc. The second is a sweet version using standard white sugar. The last version is taste-less, and is often consumed for its chewy textures.