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Shanghai quick eats?

MingyMinge Oct 19, 2007 08:22 AM

Hello Chowhounds,
I am going to be in Shanghai for 4 days in February and was wondering what are the "NOT TO BE MISSED " eateries I should fit in for those days. I'm pretty adventurous with food and price is not really an issue if the food warrants it.
I will be in the Nanjing road area.

Is Yangs Fry Dumpling worth a visit?

Any suggestions would be Greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Mingy

  1. MingyMinge Oct 25, 2007 10:43 AM

    Whoa,
    who knew there would be so many aficionados of XLB?LOL.
    I can't wait to hear the verdict. I am only in shnaghai for 4 days so I'm going to try and cram in as much as possible.
    But I definitely would love to hear more reports on the good foods of Shanghai.
    I can't wait.
    I'm actually off to London tonight and will be sampling a few good English fares there too.

    1. FourSeasons Oct 19, 2007 11:25 PM

      I enjoyed following restaurants on my trips to Shanghai:
      1. Guyi Hunan at 89 Fumin Lu, modern Hunan food.
      2. Sophia's (used ot be called Shi Jia) at 480 Hua Shan Lu. private kitchen Shanghai food.
      3. Shanghai's Uncle at Bund Center (behind Westin). modern Shanghai food.
      4. 上海人家 (no English name on the name card) at 南京西路1600号4楼 (Nanjung Xi Lu), more traditional Shanghai food, price is very reasonable.
      If you are willing to splurge, there is
      Xin Guang at TianJin Lu 512, specialized and only serve crabs.
      Jean Georges at 4/F three on the Bund, fine dining.
      You may also want to visit the famous Xin Tian Di. Crystal Jade and Din Tai Fung have good reviews but I have never tried them. Xin Ji Shi is a popular Shanghai restaurant there. If your mood is into italian, VaBene has decent food with pretty good atmosphere.

      12 Replies
      1. re: FourSeasons
        mbe Oct 20, 2007 05:35 PM

        Yang's is definitely a must.
        I would second the Guyi recommendation.
        Personally, I'd go for Din Tai Feng xiao long bao instead of Jia Jia Tang Bao, the first is high end the latter more local with a bit less refined product. Both have their merits and their fans. If you have time try and make it to both.
        Crystal Jade is Ok, worthwhile for their fair selection of Shanghai dim sum and roasted cantonese style meats.

        1. re: mbe
          FourSeasons Oct 20, 2007 09:10 PM

          For Xiao Long Bao, I actually like Nanxiang Mantou Dian at YuYuan. I know some reviews here think it is overrated but I do enjoy it on my last trip there. Not able to compare it to Jia Jia since I have never tried it. But I don't think Nanxiang is inferior to Din Tai Fong (the Singapore branch as I have never tried the Shanghai branch).

          1. re: FourSeasons
            FourSeasons Oct 20, 2007 09:14 PM

            Another recommendation is to try to the skewered lamp meat on the road side, especially during the winter time.

            1. re: FourSeasons
              Xiao Yang Oct 20, 2007 09:19 PM

              I've heard that the Singapore DTF ia not up to the quality of other branches. A number of people have said that the Singapore Crystal Jade branch has better XLB than the SG DTF.

              Don't know if they are still there, but last year there was a stinky tofu cart just west of Xiao Yang's on Wujiang Lu where two women served up the best fried stinky tofu I've had anywhere.

              1. re: Xiao Yang
                FourSeasons Oct 21, 2007 08:45 AM

                I don't agree that Crystal Jade XLB is better than SG DTF. I am a regular visitor of both chains, I think Crystal Jade has better noodles and other stuff but DTF's XLB is better. I guess everyone has different taste bud and this is just my opinion.

                1. re: FourSeasons
                  Xiao Yang Oct 21, 2007 09:37 AM

                  It's not my opinon, as I have been to neither in SG, just that of some Singaporeans I have met.

                  1. re: Xiao Yang
                    mbe Oct 22, 2007 04:47 PM

                    I'm so sorry I brought up the specter of another XLB debate.
                    Wujiang lu has been cleaned up quite a bit, I'm pretty sure all of the itinerant vendors have been cleared out, just the restos remain. That said some of them sell the stinky tofu, I'll try and check and get back, but the two ladies you remember are almost certainly gone.
                    If you really want the stuff that comes from a vendor cart, come to the intersection of Chongqingbei lu and the gao jia (just walk up from Weihai lu 2 blocks). When you hit the gaojia turn left (do not cross, not that you can) around 3 to 6 in the afternoon, there's a whole line of vendors selling the popular street food, stinky tofu included. That stretch of Chongqingbei lu is also a pretty good breakfast street (dan bing, shengjian, baozi, lamian, tofu, baked and pan fried breads, the lot..) from 6 ish till about 9:30-10.

                    1. re: mbe
                      Xiao Yang Oct 22, 2007 10:04 PM

                      I'd heard that Wujiang Lu was being "redeveloped" somewhat, more's the pity. Anyway, I seem to be able to stumble across either carts or shopfront stalls selling chou doufu everywhere I wander in Shanghai, but the two ladies on Wujing Lu ran my only "destination" chou doufu venue; I wish I had gotten a picture of them or could provide a better description so they could be more easily tracked down.

                      Note that I bit my tongue and didn't answer your earlier post by stating that DTF has a more refined venue and definitely more refined prices than JJTB but not necessarily more refined XLB, but since you mentioned it.... ;-)

                2. re: Xiao Yang
                  MingyMinge Feb 23, 2008 04:46 PM

                  I was just in Singapore a couple of days ago and went to DTF there. It's really not as impressive as I thought it would be. The XLB there had a very delicate skin but I was not so impressed by the taste of the filling. It did not feel juicy enough. I'm going to try Crystal Jade this afternoon then DTF Shanghai tonight or tomorrow.

                  Cheers

                3. re: FourSeasons
                  erica Oct 24, 2007 04:48 AM

                  I thought the place at Yu Yuan was inferior to both Jia Jia and DTF. By a mile! In fact, I think the quality there was not dissimilar to what I can find in NY Chinatown.

                  1. re: erica
                    Xiao Yang Oct 24, 2007 07:04 AM

                    I did get a report from a second reliable source, that the XLB on the third floor is actually very good, though. I've only had it on the second floor and from the takeout line, which served dumplings of identical poor quality. The first report was from my SIL, who first took me to the Nanxiang back in 1992 before it was given its makeover and was still the benchmark for good XLB. I believe there is a RMB 50 pp minimum on the thrid floor, but you can still get more for that than at dTF.

                    And yes, I know of at least four places here in San Francisco (and Oakland Chinatown) that make markedly better quality XLB than the "downstairs" version at Nanxiang.

                    I guess I'll have to check out the third floor the next time, though it galls me that an establishment will have "upstairs-downstairs" versions of the same item at different prices.

                    1. re: Xiao Yang
                      d
                      david kaplan Oct 24, 2007 02:50 PM

                      I ate yesterday on the 3rd floor at Nanxing Mantou in the Yuyuan Garden, and I thought the quality wasn't close to what I had the day before at Jia Jia. Fuller report coming once I get back home in a week and have a more reliable connection, but highlights so far have been Jia Jia and Yang's Fry Dumplings, which has a branch directly across the street from Jia Jia.

                      What was awesome at Nanxiang, actually, was the salty cashew bun. Very salty, somewhat sweet, flaky, and crunchy. Available 3rd floor only, I think.

            2. Xiao Yang Oct 19, 2007 02:36 PM

              Assuming you like sheng jian bao, Yangs is a must, as to Jia Jia Tang Bao (also just off Nanjing Road) for xiao long bao.

              Here are some tips for the top "quick" eats:

              http://shanghaiist.com/2007/09/23/dia...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Xiao Yang
                MingyMinge Oct 22, 2007 09:36 PM

                Thank you all for the recos. I'll be sure to try as many as possible. I'm off to Singapore, Tokyo and Malaysia as well so I assure you this is going to be a gastronomic feast...lol

                Cheers

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