Report of a short Shanghai Trip
I spent 5 days in Shanghai last week on business and got some time for good meals and a short EXPO-stay.
First, let me say that I was shocked about the horrific waiting times at the EXPO, I cant imagine waiting 6 hours in a line just for a country pavillion, but the Chinese did wait. Incredible! And in most cases the inside of the pavillions is less interesting than the design outside. And there are even allegations that some countries are letting get the lines so long just to be able to say how good their exhibit is. Good examples are Germany and Saudi Arabia, that have 6 hour lines daily but have less attendees than Turkey where you seldomly wait longer than 20 minutes.
About the food in Shanghai, let me say that I had the best meal of my life there in one of the Jesse (Xinjishi) restaurants. I didn't know before that this is a chain of 9 restaurants in Shanghai and that they even have a branch in Causeway Bay, HK. I was at their PuDong Restaurant and had a great 14 dishes dinner with some business associates from China that I got to invite me there. One dish was better than the one before it, especially the fish maw was fantastic. I can only highly recommend Jesse to every Shanghai visitor! (www.xinjishi.com - sadly only in Chinese)
Then I dined two times at SimplyThai (they have 4 branches) and they also have a very good kitchen, even better than many Thai restaurants in Thailand! Thei have fantastic curries and the prawns in curry sauce are fantastic. (www.simplythai.com)
Finally, I had a good peking duck meal in the Shanghai Quan Ju De Restaurant at the Purple Mountain Restaurant in Pudong. This was my second visit there as I really love the Peking duck!
Ji Shi (Jesse Restaurant)i is the go-to place for Shanghainese food, the decor isn't the best and it's always very crowded (try reserving a week in advance if you can). Their Hong Shao Rou is absolutely fantastic. Their newer branch Xin Ji Shi (New Jesse) is not early as good as the old one but easier to get reservations at.
For Western food, try Stiller's. I haven't tried brunch at Jean Georges but I've heard that Stiller's is way better, though more expensive (358 RMB/person). It's a free flow of beautiful food in small portions, so you can try everything once and order seconds or thirds on what you like the most (
http://www.sugarednspiced.com/stillers/) FYI Jean Georges brunch is now 218 RMB, which is still a good deal compared to dinner prices.
I went to Shanghai about 2 weeks about for the weekend and also went to Jesse's Restaurant which I also agree is quite good. My friend is friends with the owner so he just prepared stuff for us (I think off the menu?). Although the crab roe with sheet jelly (fen pi) I thought was better at Xin Guang Jiu Jia on Tian Jin Road.
My best meal in Shanghai I thought was actually my brunch at Jean Georges on The Bund. I've attached a few photos from that meal. Really was quite good considering it only cost 188 RMB. It's hard to find similar quality for that price in Hong Kong (I personally feel). We also had the Sheng Jian Bao from Xiao Yang Sheng Jian on Huang He Road which was quite good but a little too greasy for breakfast. Shame we didn't get to try the Xiao Long Bao at Jia Jia also on Huang He Road (the wait was way too long for my tastes). Overall a fun trip food wise.
The fish maw is one of their signatur dishes I was told. I was steamed and the fish was fantastically soft. Otherwise, I would recommend everything I had there, but sadly I dont remember the names of the dishes. I was there with some Chinese business partners that I left the ordering to. My only suggestions were the fish maw and the red dattes stuffed with glutinous rice. One that was extremely well was something called like 7 treasures I think.
Sorry that I cant tell you the names of the dishes, but I didn't have anything that didnt taste good.