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Shanghai recs?

  • l

Hey I'm going to shanghai (and HK), i'll be there from 6/17-6/23. I'm looking for good restaurants recs. I generally want to stick with chinese food unless you've got something ridiculous, but I'm coming from NY so I don't need other recs really. I'll eat everything, I have no qualms about anything. Language won't be an issue.

As far as specific recs:
- any good shanghai / su zhou / zhe jiang type food
- xiao long bao
- breakfast
- any type of street food areas (street food is my favorite)
- any other great chinese food

Happy to hear any recs anyone has.

also, totally not shanghainese food, but I heard there is an outlet of Rou Gu Cha King in shanghai which serves rou gu cha / ba kuh teh....is it any good? I was in singapore in december, but unfortunately i did not have a chance to get any ba kuh teh (my trip was short there) and its a dish i love, so i was wondering if there version is any good

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  1. Hi Lau, it seems to me there are scads and oodles of info on this board about every conceivable restaurant experience in Shanghai - many of the same names of places come up over and over again. Haven't seen a reference to your request on ba kuh teh however although have seen Malaysian/Singaporean food mentioned (and the Crystal Jade restaurants are Singapore-owned I believe, you could start looking there).
    PS if you miss your goose again in HK ;-) go to Hengshan Café, they'll fix you right up.

      1. I was there for a very short stay (2 days) earlier this year, and this board was a tremendous help in deciding where to check out in such a short amount of time! So look around, you will find a bunch of past threads, as buttertart mentioned above.
        That said, I really enjoyed Jia Jia Tang Bao ( https://foodiejaponica.wordpress.com/... ) and also the dim sum course meal at Nanxiang Mantou Dian ( https://foodiejaponica.wordpress.com/... ).
        Also, if you haven't tried fried wasps ;) ...this might be interesting too ( https://foodiejaponica.wordpress.com/... ). Wasps aside, it was a pretty good noodle soup.

        1. Hi Lau: I have not yet gotten around to posting my report from my recent trip to Shanghai. But since you are traveling soon, I will chime in here and say that I consider JiShi (Jesse) to be an essential stop on a food-oriented visit. There is lots of info here on the various dishes. Please do not miss this place and be sure to book ahead. Outstanding.

          1. thanks for the recs everyone, leaving tmrw

            3 Replies
            1. re: Lau

              Take me with you pls. Have a great time! (If you have time, how about a 20 min bullet train ride to Suzhou and dinner at the Wang Si, my favorite restaurant there? Can also fit in a garden visit, the Humble Administrator's garden and the Suzhou Museum are easy walking dstance from the restaurant.)

              1. re: buttertart

                Buttertart, I'm embarrassed to ask this having lived in Suzhou, but where is Wangsi and what type of cuisine?

                1. re: sganarelle

                  Suzhou cuisine, on the same street as the Songhelou but on the opposite side. http://www.etours.cn/china_city_guide...
                  Lived in Suzhou? Jealous, jealous!

            2. Lau, you are back from Shanghai? I'd be happy to eat in your footsteps; I'm gonna be there from August 9 to 17 so any general thoughts following your original requests (mine are identical) would be awesome.

              looking up separate info for the other legs of my trip (taipei before shanghai, seoul after shanghai).

              3 Replies
              1. re: bigjeff

                You'll post in detail so the China-deprived can live vicariously I hope?
                We lived walking distance from the Shihlin night maket back in the day.

                1. re: buttertart

                  sounds dangerous! ya, I've spent many summers in taiwan (and its night markets) but it will be my first time in both Shanghai and Seoul. Luckily, I've got a very foodie-friend that I'm staying with in Seoul:


                  she was just telling me about the Doughnut Plant shop that opened in Seoul!

                2. re: bigjeff

                  yah i'll write up a review within a week

                  you should stop by HK, HK still has my favorite food in asia as well as singapore (taipei and malaysia are in 2nd place)

                  Food in korea is very good although i'd go for stuff other than bbq, bbq is very good, but i actually think its better in LA...better quality meat

                3. To the Shanghai experts,

                  how is this list from a friend of mine living there? It looks really good!

                  Jia Jia Tang Bao
                  90 Huanghe Lu
                  黄河路90号 近凤阳路
                  Popular xaiolongbao joint. Other locations around town, but this one is directly opposite Xiao Yang's Shengjian bao so you can hit up both places.

                  Hai Jin Zi
                  240 Jinxian Lu
                  进贤路240号 近陕西南路
                  021 6225 0371
                  Homestyle in a no-frills dining room. This street has several other homestyle SHnese restaurants, the most famous (in the foreign press) being Chun, but I've never heard anything positive about that place from a normal diner.

                  Xiao Bai Hua
                  299 Wanping Lu
                  宛平路299号 近肇嘉浜路
                  021 6472 1867
                  Homestyle but a bit more sophisticated than the above. Entrance is actually in lane #297. The Hong Shao Rou here tastes like it has stinky tofu in it so I avoid that one.

                  Nan Ling
                  168 Yueyang Lu
                  岳阳路168号 近永嘉路
                  021 6467 7381
                  Restaurant serving SHnese food like the in the old days (not as sweet, for one). We usually order the xialongbao, the duck with pancakes, Lion head meatballs, along with a few cold dishes.

                  Dian Shi Zhai
                  320 Yongjia Lu
                  永嘉路320号 近襄阳南路
                  021 5465 0270
                  The kind of genteel place with good food you'd take visiting guests.

                  Fu 1039
                  1039 Yuyuan Lu
                  愚园路1039号, 近江苏路
                  021 5237 1878
                  Upscale in a shabby-chic old villa. Minimum spending is 150rmb per person in main dining room, 200rmb in private rooms. When booking, they may suggest their sister restaurant Fu 1088 (all private rooms with min spending of 300rmb pp) but don't fall for it.


                  Southern Barbarian
                  169 JinXian Lu, 2nd floor
                  进贤路169号2楼 近茂名南路
                  021 5157 5510
                  Popular with expats. Get the fried goat cheese, banana blossom salad, mint salad, grilled chicken wings, beef on toothpicks, and any of the chef recommended dishes on the menu. Hard to find: Go to the door left of the entrance for Le Cygne restaurant and go to the 2nd floor.

                  Peking Duck:

                  199 Huangpu Lu, 1/F, Hyatt on the Bund
                  黄浦路199号, 外滩茂悦大酒店1楼 近武昌路
                  021 6393 1234 ext 6318
                  Best Peking Duck in Shanghai. Not that expensive for a fancy hotel restaurant.

                  Japanese yakitori:

                  Kota's Kitchen
                  2905 Xietu Lu
                  021 6481 2005
                  Beatles-themed yakitori joint. Best in town, for when you're sick of Chinese.


                  Yuxin Sichuan
                  333 Chengdu Bei Lu, 3rd fl
                  021 5298-0438


                  89 Fumin Lu
                  021 6249 5628
                  Favorite of expats and locals alike. Not sure it's authentic, but it's way better than Di Shui Dong, another Hunan joint that expats flock to.


                  725 Jiaozhou Lu
                  021 6230 6550
                  The spiciest dish I ever tried in Shanghai is here, some frog dish that everybody could only take one bite of.

                  Hot Pot:

                  Hai Di Lao
                  468 Changshou Lu
                  021 6277 0701
                  This place gets crazy packed considering its football field size. Reservations are accepted for before 6:30PM or something like that. Service, good prices, and the free extras (shoe shine? manicure? mobile phone "perfuming"?) are what keeps the customers loyal. Try the kungfu noodles. Open 24hrs.

                  Wu Guan Tang
                  349 Xinhua Lu
                  新华路349号 近定西路
                  021 6281-3695
                  Our favorite vegetarian restaurant. No mock meats (though they have faux crab roe), msg, carbonation, deep-frying nor alcohol. But still tasty.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: bigjeff

                    Of these or related places I've only been to Fu 1088 and loved it, same deal as the other Fu, but have heard that the food at 1088 is better. PS it would be hard to choose among Taipei, Shanghai, and HK for food (have only beein in Seoul airport in transit.) Have spent more time in the other two than in HK but lean toward either Taipei or Shanghai for preference. bigjeff do please consider a day trip to Suzhou, unique local cuisine - go to Wang Si in the Guanqian district, I love that place. It's only 25 mins from Shanghai on the highspeed train. I know, I keep going on about Suzhou, can't help it.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      thanks for that rec! we are headed for day trips to Suzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou so surely, any more suzhou recs are good; I heard the food there is amazing.

                      1. re: bigjeff

                        In Hangzhou, if you want to spend, you could eat at Dragonwell Manor (龙井草堂)

                        At a lower price point in Hangzhou is the Hyatt Hotel's Chinese Restaurant, which is called something like 28 Hubin, after the address. The dong po rou and Beggar's Chicken dishes at Xin Da Lu (Shanghai Hyatt) are actually traditional Hangzhou dishes whose particular preparation was invented at the Hangzhou Hyatt. For example, dong po rou can be commonly found in Shanghai & other areas, but the presentation found at 28 Hubin and Xin Da Lu, where the meat is sliced into a ribbon and served with bamboo shoots and pancakes, originated at 28 Hubin. Pretty much anything you order at either restaurant (Xin Da Lu and 38 Hubin) will be good, and prices are not that high.

                        Also, to update my other post, prices at Ding Tai Feng are much higher than Jia Jia Tang Bao, but probably around the level of a TGI Friday's or Bennigan's. You're not breaking the bank. Unless you go for the abalone and truffle xiaolongbao.

                        1. re: bigjeff

                          I'm so happy to hear you're going to Suzhou, you'll enjoy it I'm sure. (Hangzhou is lovely too, haven't been to Nanjing since '94 but it was then quite reminiscent of Taipei in the '80s, down to the sidewalk paving stones.) In Suzhou we also liked the Songhelou, a restaurant that's been in the same location since the Qing dynasty. 1st 2 below of the Wang Si, the 3rd is the outside of the Songhelou. But go to the Wang Si.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Songhelou...in the same area of Suzhou. Walking distance to the Pei SZ museum and the beautiful Humble Administrator's Garden (my favorite garden, the Liu Yuan, is just outside the city to the west.)

                      2. re: bigjeff

                        Nice list.

                        Chu Xiang, the Hubei restaurant you cite, has changed its name and moved. It's now called Lian Canting (Lotus Restaurant) and is located at

                        I've been told the menu hasn't changed. I never made it to the original location, and haven't been to the new location yet, so can't really say.

                        The new location is kind of between Zhongshan Park and Jiangsu Lu subway stops, and between Dingxi and Anxi Roads.

                        Guyi has opened a second location in the 8th floor of the Jiuguang Mall (久光广场), which is literally on top of the Jing'An Temple subway stop. I think my wife tried the new location and said it was the same as the old.

                        If you want upscale Hunan food, this place might be worth a shot:

                        Also, Hunan food is apparently pretty similar to the Hubei food provided by Chu Xiang/Lian restaurant.

                        That same 8th floor of Jiuguang Mall also has my favorite place for Cantonese dim sum, which is called Royal China or Royal Pavilion or something.

                        If you sneak in around 11:30, there should be pretty much no wait, but starting around 12:10, there's usually a half hour wait or more. The line dies down again around 1:00, I think.

                        I like Ding Tai Feng for the xiaolongbao, porkchop fried rice, hot and sour soup, mango ice, and air conditioning. Also, not all locations have the mango ice. But it's much more expensive than Jia Jia.

                        There's other really good Japanese & Korean options, but I'm guessing you're focusing on Chinese food.

                        1. re: bigjeff

                          bigjeff - i ate at xin da lu and di shui dong (we were debating between di shui dong and gu yi...if gu yi is alot better than i'm bummed b/c i thought di shui dong was very good although i'm no hunan expert). I'll post full reviews very soon

                          1. re: Lau

                            We ate at a Di Shui Dong too, liked it a lot. Ate a lot of Hunanese food in Taipei, it was more country-style at DSD but good (the shrimp with garlic, wow, see below).

                          2. re: bigjeff

                            Kota's Kitchen; is awesome. I have had some very fun nights there and always left with a very happy and full belly. I agree that this is some of if not the best yakitori in Shanghai

                          3. Yang's fried dumplings is a must-try for first time visitors, it's a local place, always hectic with long lines: http://www.sugarednspiced.com/yangs-f...

                            I personally prefer Din Tai Fung for a cleaner Xiao Long Bao experience: http://www.sugarednspiced.com/din-tai...

                            Nan Xiang dumplings for me is overrated and not half as good as Din Tai Fung.