There was a typhoon hitting Shanghai during the weekend we visited. Usually when I’m in Hong Kong I’m pretty happy when the typhoon signal 8 is announced because it means a day off work, though when you’re at the airport, it’s ridiculously frustrating. Luckily Mr Maps flight was delayed by only two hours, but by the time he got the the hotel, It was already very windy and rainy. Even with an umbrella we got soaked. It was impossible to do anything that typical tourists would do in Shanghai such as visiting the bund and admire the skyline. Regardless of the bad weather, we still needed to eat and there are a lot of cool restaurants in Shanghai. Here are some of the restaurants that I discovered during my visit and they are all within a very reasonable price range (I even think they were quite cheap compared to restaurants in Hong Kong!).
Restaurant in Shanghai
1. Local snacks – Xiao Long Bao 小籠包
Xiao Long Bao is the specialty in Shanghai and it is on every tourists check-list. You can’t leave Shanghai without having it! I would go to Jia Jia Tang Bao 佳家汤包 whenever I visit Shanghai. It is extremely popular and it is widely considered as the best dumplings in town. I still remember the first time I went there (it was 10 years ago) all the Xiao Long Bao were sold out at around 2pm and I had to leave the restaurant without having any bao. I think they extended their opening hours nowadays due to their popularity.
Here are their legendary dumplings and the soup inside the dumpling is hot! Other than the traditional flavour with only pork, my favourite is the one with crab roe. If you are crazy about crab roe, go for the deluxe crab roe dumplings that cost RMB99 for 1 dozen. There are about 6 different branches in Shanghai but I always go to the one in Huanghe Road.
Opening hours: 06:30-19:30
Address in Chinese: 黄浦区黄河路90号(近凤阳路)
Address in English: 90 Huanghe Lu, Huangpu District (near Fengyang Lu)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/573922 (for non-Chinese reader, you can use google translate)
CNN review (English): http://travel.cnn.com/best-xiaolongbao-restaurants-shanghai-119641
Remarks: This place is extremely local and I doubt the cashier lady who takes the order can speak English. Whilst it is amazing how far international hand signals will get you in Chinese restaurants, it would be much easier to go with a Chinese speaking friend. Since it is so local, the price is quite cheap. Normal Xiao Long Bao cost about RMB13-27 per dozen.
2. Local snacks – Sheng Jian Bao 生煎包
Sheng Jian Bao 生煎包 is another popular local snack in Shanghai. It is a steamed bun with pork and a bit of soup in there. Xiao Yang Sheng Jian 小杨生煎 is the most popular brand for the bun. I like to go to the Jia Jia Tang Bao 佳家汤包 in Huanghe Road because there is a Xiao Yang right opposite to it. I can kill 2 birds with 1 stone!
Their menu is bilingual with photos. Non-Chinese speaking tourists can easily order.
Opening hours: 06:30-20:30
Address in Chinese: 黄浦区黄河路97号1-3楼(近凤阳路)
Address in English: 1-3/F, 97 Huanghe Lu, Huangpu District (near Fengyang Lu)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/2315890 (for non-Chinese reader, you can use google translate)
Time Out Shanghai review (English): http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/venue/Restaurants__Cafes-Chinese-Dumplings/10967/Xiaoyang-Shengjian.html
3. Chinese style afternoon tea
After stuffing ourselves with the dumplings and the buns early in the morning, we weren’t really feeling like lunch so we skipped it and decided to go to have afternoon tea instead. My original plan was going to Roosevelt Sky bar on the bund for afternoon tea. Due to the bad weather, there is not much you can see along the bund and the afternoon tea set was a bit overpriced (around RMB400 for 2).
Then I found a restaurant called Maison de l’hui 慧公馆 in the nearby area with afternoon tea set which is a lot better value. There are 3 Maison de l’hui 慧公馆 in Shanghai with one located in Sinan Mansions and one in Julu Lu. We went to the branch near the bund as it is the closest to the Roosevelt Sky bar. The branch on Julu Lu seems to have the nicest decor though, judging from the photo.
The tea set includes some Chinese pastries and some savory snacks (total 8 pieces) presented in a Chinese style rack. Chinese or Western teas are included and it costs us RMB98 per head. The pastry tastes ok though not anything special. It was good value for money and the restaurant is quite comfortable. Not a bad idea for us to dry up a little bit from the heavy rain whilst having more food.
Opening hours: 11:00-22:00, afternoon tea 14:00-16:30
Address in Chinese: 黄浦区圆明园路97号安培大楼3-4楼(近外白渡桥)
Address in English: 3-4/F, Ampire Building, 97 Yuanmingyuan Lu, Huangpu District (near Waibaidu bridge)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/4506604 (for non-Chinese reader, you can use google translate)
Tripadvisor review (English): http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g308272-d3816021-Reviews-Hui_GongGuan_WaiTan-Shanghai.html
Remarks: they have bilingual menu
4. Modern Chinese food – Yanyu Restaurant 宴遇
My Shanghaiese friend took me to this modern Chinese restaurant in Jing’an district. It is a popular restaurant with high rating from dianping.com (Chinese yelp). I like this kind of classy and hippie restaurant a lot.
The condom like pack is actually a wet napkin and they will serve you a welcome shot (some non-alcoholic drink) with the dry ice. The mushroom dish is actually not a mushroom! It is a bun that looks like mushroom! Looks can be deceiving!
The food didn’t just look good, they were all very tasty as well. They will serve you complimentary fruits after your meal in this tree sculpture thing. I like how the food is presented and I would definintely go back to this fun restaurant if I visit Shanghai again.
Opening hours: 11:15-14:15 & 17:00-21:30
Address in Chinese: 静安区愚园路68号0408室(晶品中心)
Address in English: Crystal Galleria 0408, 68 Yuyuan Road, Jingan District (Metro Jing’an Temple station)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/22936478 (for non-Chinese reader, you can use google translate)
Tripadvisor review (English): http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g308272-d8134298-Reviews-Yanyu_Restaurant_Jing_an_Jingpin-Shanghai.html
Remarks: their menu is bilingual (English & Chinese)
5. Modern Hangzhou cuisine – Kwei Mun Lung 桂满陇
There is a shopping mall called Cloud 9 near our hotel with many restaurants. We decided to go to Kwei Mun Lung 桂满陇 as it has a high rating from dianping.com. Similar to Yanyu Restaurant 宴遇, the dishes were nicely presented.
This is the salad in ice-cream cone.
Sausage (left), Classic braised pork belly (middle), clams (right)
Roasted pigeon (left), tofu (middle), bun in sweet sauce (right)
Rice with soup
The bun was a bit too sweet with the sauce. Other than that, all the dishes were very good. Our meal cost us around RMB200 for 2 and we ordered quite a lot. A small purse was given after we settled our bill as a souvenir.
I would highly recommend this restaurant for the value and the food quality.
Opening hours: 10:30-21:00
Address in Chinese: 长宁区长宁路1018号龙之梦购物中心8楼蓝中庭
Address in English: 8/F, Cloud Nine Mall, 1018 Changning Lu, Changning district (near Kaixuan Lu)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/9977754 (for non-Chinese reader, you can use google translate)
Time Out review (English): http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/venue/Restaurants__Cafes-Chinese-Zhejiang/15882/Kwei-Mun-Lung.html
Remarks: their order sheet is bilingual
6. Hotpot – Lao Wang Hotpot 捞王锅物料理
Lao Wang 捞王 is recommended by our friend who lives in Shanghai. It is a famous hotpot restaurant chain with branches all over China. There are 20 branches all over Shanghai. It is best for a late night food craving as most of them open till after midnight. Due to the flight delay (it is quite common in China), Mr Map arrived at the hotel around 10ish. A lot of restaurants were closed and only hotpot restaurants or some small local restaurants were open. We took a cab to the Lao Wang in Jing’an District as soon as Mr Map dropped his luggage.
This hotpot restaurant is famous for their pig’s stomach and chicken with pepper soup base (胡椒猪肚鸡). It might be a bit too adventurous for some, though when in Shanghai, I guess you have to follow the shanghainese. I don’t eat any internal organs but I still find the soup base quite tasty. We ordered some side dishes for the hotpot and we were very full. Hotpot is good for a big group but not for 2 diners.
The one we went to in Jing’an district is closed for renovation. The address below is the closest branch to the one in Jing’an district.
Lao Wang Hotpot 捞王锅物料理 (长寿路店)
Opening hours: 11:00-04:00
Address in Chinese: 普陀区胶州路883号(新会路)
Address in English: 883 Jiaozhou Road, Putuo District (near Xinhui Road)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/13856991
English review of other Lao Wang branch: http://www.bonapp.cn/4087-restaurant-Lao-Wang-Guo-Wu-Hot-Pot-捞王锅物料理
Remarks: good for a big group and for tourists who enjoys local cuisine
7. Teppanyaki – 57º Xiang 57度湘
We went to 57º Xiang based on the high rating from dianping.com and it is close to Xintiandi. After trying all different types of Chinese restaurants this trip, we decided to change it up a bit and try some teppanyaki.
Shrimps with garlic (left) and lamb rack with black pepper sauce (right)
The portion of the foie gra is very generous and the steak is not bad.
This veggie dish’s name is “Obama’s favourite Chinese food”.
The teppanyaki ice cream dish is definitely a miss. You can tell even from the presentation, and yes, that is a piece of white bread.
The overall food quality was ok but definitely not exceptional. I wouldn’t complain for the price we paid. We ended up paying around RMB210 (US$34) for 2 and we ordered quite a lot of dishes! It would cost a minimum of HK$600 (US$78) per head to have teppanyaki in Hong Kong (the quality is way better though). If you are not too fussy about food quality, 57º Xiang is actually not a bad choice.
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
Address in Chinese: 卢湾区淮海中路138号上海广场4楼401号铺(近龙门路)
Address in English: Room 401, 4/F, Infinity Plaza, 138 Huaihai Zhong Lu (near Longmen Lu)
Chinese dianping website: http://www.dianping.com/shop/5161313 (for non-Chinese reader, you can use google translate)
Time Out review (English): http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/article/57℃-xiang-delicious-hunanese-take-teppanyaki
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