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Shanghai Restaurant Recommendations


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#31 Gary Soup

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 09:42 PM

I had dinner in "Old Shanghai Restaurant"  (twice). Not the same place?  It was a culinary tour with Hugh Carpenter, and he picked out some pretty good places.

It was may well have been "Shanghai Old Restaurant" (Lao Fandian) in the Old City. It used to be the number one destination for travellers, but has gone very seriously downhill in recent years.

#32 Phish

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 01:46 AM

What about one called "Ahn Yang"... something to do with "grandmother cooking". It's meant to be one of those little tiny restaurants that serves really traditional Shanghainese food to REAL Shanghainese people. If im not mistaken, it's also somewhere near Mao Ming Lu. :unsure:

#33 Lola_K

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 12:45 PM

I can sympathize with the short stay that you will have in Shanghai. I was in China on business in September and was only in Shanghai for about 30 hrs. But I think I got a good taste of the city. The things that other people have mentioned are definitely good choices. I had the opportunity to see the Bund and go up in the Pearl tower, which gives you a good view of the city. The one thing that I would add is don't miss is the MagLev Train. It only has 2 stops the Pudong airport and somewhere within a 15-min car ride to the Bund. Sorry for not knowing the specifics but our guides did all the talking and driving for us and just asked us where we wanted to go (Chinese hospitality is amazing). The train is the fastest train in the world with a top speed of 430 km/hr (243 MPH). The 7-8 min ride to or from the airport beats sitting in the Shanghai traffic for a minimum of 40 min. If you do have an opportunity to ride the train you might also be interested in a restaurant that was only about 2 blocks from the end of the train. Again I don't know the name of it but if you want I can try and contact our guide and find out what it was. This restaurant had the most amazing soup I have ever had; it was made with fish, tomatoes, and a Chinese pickle of some sort. If you have any other questions I would be happy to share what I learned. Have a great time.

Laura

#34 jo-mel

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 02:26 PM

Aside from seeing the Bund (I liked the old one better) and the new museum, I would spend time with the old sites. Old Shanghai, and a visit to the Longhua Temple and Longhua Pagoda. Those ancient sites really get to me.

#35 Pan

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 09:26 PM

I loved the Yuyuan Gardens.

As for places to eat, I can recommend Old Shanghai Moon.

#36 misstenacity

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 11:20 AM

Didn't make it to Old Shanghai Moon, but *did* make "Old Shanghai Alley", on Sinan just W of Huaihai, downtown.

Fabulous food, stuffed 3 adults for 150RMB ($20), which was less than our crappy lunch the same day in one of the nearby water cities. Blech.

Gotta love the sauteed eel.... yummy yum.

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#37 tejon

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 05:20 PM

My sister will be travelling to Shanghai in about a month on a teaching assignment. This is her first time in that area and she is very excited. None of her provided meals will be American, and she will be seeking out interesting places to eat when not working as well. Any places to recommend, or local dishes worth seeking out?

Also, is it possible to bring food related items back into the US? If so, what would be worth buying up and transporting back (to ME!)? She has asked me to make up a list of things to buy, so I'd like to take full advantage if possible :wink:
Kathy

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#38 Chris Amirault

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 05:34 PM

Well, for starters, you should buy her a digital camera as a going away gift, and get her to submit a membership application to eGullet!
Chris Amirault
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#39 tejon

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 06:53 PM

Digital camera is all taken care of. As for posting, well, she's pretty easily intimidated so I'm guessing that won't be happening. I keep trying to convince her that food lovers don't actually bite... :rolleyes:
Kathy

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#40 herbacidal

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 08:56 PM

Well, fruit and veggies she won't be permitted to bring back.
Or she can try...

IMHO, this situation really depends on your sister knowing you well and then picking appropriate things based on what she sees available around her.

I've always thought it's hard to be able to make a list/predict this kind of stuff beforehand.
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#41 Pan

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 08:56 PM

My sister will be travelling to Shanghai in about a month on a teaching assignment. This is her first time in that area and she is very excited. None of her provided meals will be American, and she will be seeking out interesting places to eat when not working as well. Any places to recommend, or local dishes worth seeking out?[...]

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Shanghai cuisine is great! We've had some threads on Shanghai (I'll try to remember to check for their URLs on my next grading break), but the main thing is, just avoid places that obviously cater to Western tourists. Shanghai is known for all kinds of dumplings, famously including xiaolong bao (soupy dumplings with pork or pork and crab); noodle soups; scallion pancakes; and all sorts of main dishes -- too many to describe, really.

In terms of foodstuffs to bring back to the U.S., unless it's canned or in a bag, I wouldn't risk trying to bring it in. Given that, I'm not sure your sister will find anything you couldn't buy at a Chinese foodstuffs store near you (if there is any).

#42 Pan

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 09:28 PM

OK, here are search results for China forum threads with "Shanghai" in the title.

Edited by Pan, 16 May 2005 - 09:28 PM.


#43 Yuki

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 10:16 PM

I just got back from Shanghai but I am still too lazy to post the pictures from the trip. :raz: When I was in Shanghai, there are lots of shop that specialize in selling individual packaged food that is great for gifts. I saw individual packaged duck parts(gizzard, liver, feet, tongue, and lots more), many different types of nuts(I especially like the mini walnut), Chinese dessert and cake, and many other weird things. Of course since she is coming back to the US so I suppose she can not buy the wide varieties of preserved meat in Shanghai.

When your sister in Shanghai, I would suggest going into the residential area in the morning where she would find great breakfast at a cheap price. The grilled lamb skewer is great with the freshly baked bread. I would also recommend the Polo restaurant(I will dig the address up sooner or later :wink: ) for Shanghai style food. For me, Shanghai is not about going to the fancy restaurant, but it is about lining up behind a crowd to get food. In Shanghai, some people do not line up for buses but they are really patient when it comes to lining up for food. :wink: Don't be afraid to try out new food and you know there is great food when there is a line up!!

#44 Gastro888

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 10:51 AM

Try to have her get some dried foodstuffs (mushrooms, fish) and some Chinese hard liqour. I can't recall what the name of it is but it's hard to find in the States.

Personally, I'd try to bring back some of the perserved meats and stuff. I've been EXTREMELY lucky with customs - I think it all depends where you fly into - LAX, NYC are very strict from what I hear.

On a non-food tip she should try and get some custom made clothing done (if time permits) while she's there. There's supposed to be this famous fabirc market there in Shanghai and fantastic tailors.

#45 jokhm

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 11:04 AM

Last year when i was there I was taken to a small garden.. I think the name was Yiyuan, maybe an hour out of the city. Most Shanghainese consider the park and it's adjacent dumpling shop to be the best place to eat Xiaolongbao. You can see tons of Chinese tourists there with bags of the stuff to take home. Quite funny. And the dumplings were fantastic, though they didn't blow my mind and make the 1 hour bus ride worthwhile. Had I gone in a better season when the garden would have looked nicer, that might have helped. Other things to look for are the ubiquitous Shaomai dumplings with dark and fragrant sticky rice. Only in Shanghai and the surrounding area do they look like that.
Other things I've had around there.... Great Shanghai style salted chicken (cold dish). Also the lizibaozaiji.. chestnut chicken in claypot, fantastic. Had some red-cooked squid (cold dish) that amazed me. I'll get the name of one of the restos that some shanghainese took me to a few weeks ago. Great fun, despite the fact that 99% of Chinese around here will always agree on hating Shanghai food. No sugar tolerance at all.

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#46 Pan

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:05 PM

The Yuyuan Gardens are not small, they're really big, especially compared with the gardens in Suzhou, and they're in Shanghai. Undoubtedly, it took you an hour to get there by bus from wherever you were staying (the Pudong side?), but they are decidedly in the city, although rather peaceful and very lovely.

#47 jokhm

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:25 AM

:)
No not Yuyuan.. YiYuan. If it took me an hour to get to YuYuan then I was invariably doing circles.

#48 Pan

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:31 AM

[Emily Litella voice from the old Saturday Night Live] Nevermind! [/Emily Litella voice]

#49 Cha xiu bao

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 10:36 AM

There used to be the "Si Dai Jing Gong," or the "Four Martial Kings of Heaven" when we talk about Shanghaiese food in China. They are, namely, soy bean milk, fried dough sticks, baked sesame cakes and sticky rice wrappers. But now the four kings are dethroned, even though they're still worth a try if you haven't tried them before. The "fab-4" nowadays are the xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings), and sunjinbao (pan-fried dumplings), stewed noodles (most noodles in Chinese are cooked briefly but the Shanghaiese tends to stew rather long for their noodles), and the spicy baby lobsters.

Apart from these, there're some more for you to try.

1) All kinds of bean curd product. Shanghaiese are quite crazy about tofu and seems couldn't live without it for even just one meal. There are many a version. Dried, fresh, marinated, sheets and skins of it, and of course, the most infamous one: stinky tofu. Imagine your sister's eating a tile from the toilet (strongly advise against bringing it back to your place)...

2) All kinds of freshwater fish. Shanghaiese are not good at making seafood like Cantonese do. But freshwater fish, on the other, is their forte.

And just like Yuki says, fetch for parlours that have people snaking outside. Quite a few goodies are rested nearby the East Nanjing Road and Middle Sizhuen Road.

The one in Yiyuan is no doubt the most famous one for the xiaolongbao but it certainly isn't the best one accordling to Shanghai locals. The best one, so one poll on food goes, is one called "Kaika Tong Bao" in Dungziando Pier neighborhood. I tried them once recently and their soupy dumplings are -- beyond this world!

BTW, you can check out my flickr set on shanghai food here to get an idea how they look like.



#50 jokhm

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 10:58 PM

Yeah I'd second that thought on Yiyuan.. I wish this thread had come a few weeks ago when I was in Shanghai for a few days. Anyway I"ll be back. Those xiaolongbao were definitely very good but I've had far better ones in Hong Kong.
Oh... I love the pictures .. a lot!
One thing I note every time I'm in Shanghai is how much better all the little snacks and cheap local fast foods are compared to Beijing. Though the one thing missing is yangrouchuan which I practically live on here in Beijing.

#51 Pan

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 04:49 PM

I was looking through my photos the other evening and found a set I took at the famous restaurant on stilts over the pond in the plaza just outside of Yuyuan (not Yiyuan) Gardens (i.e. the Yuyuan Market) last August, and since what I think this thread is missing is some pictures, I will post them with some commentary. I'm not positive what this restaurant's name is, but there are photos up of all kinds of famous politicians and celebrities from around the world. I'm sure one of you will identify the place.

Anyway, here goes:

Here are the containers of preserved olives that were sitting on a counter above our table:

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As you'll see later, we were given some to munch on. They had an interesting fibrous texture and were lightly sweetened, and I enjoyed them.

The first dish we ordered was a cold dish of Spicy Cabbage:

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This dish is a standby for me at New York Shanghainese restaurants like Yeah, but this somehow blew New York renditions away. We all ate it with gusto, despite doubts about whether it was pickled enough to be safe to eat (I don't remember any of us having any ill effects from it).

Our next dish was corn and peas with pinenuts:

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It wasn't fantastic like some of the other dishes, and we discussed whether the corn and peas were canned (ultimately, we decided they were), but we enjoyed the pinenuts and did eat the dish.

After that, shredded crab on bok choy was brought for us:

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This dish was fantastic! It had a lovely texture and we just thought it couldn't have been tastier or more pleasant.

I'd love some help on the name of this dish:

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We got it because it intrigued us, and it was delightful, fascinating, and like nothing else we had had before, but I'm trying to remember what the white root vegetable was. Taro doesn't seem possible, as taro is normally purple. Could it have been preserved cassava? Some kind of turnip, perhaps? The green vegetable is preserved and had a consistency similar to creamed spinach. If none of you can help me remember what the white vegetable is, I may ask family members if they remember.

I recall that this was a tasty rendition of Chicken with Cashew Nuts:

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Following that, we were brought this for dessert:

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We were hoping it would be some kind of good Chinese sweet soup, but it was just canned Fruit Cocktail! This shocked and disappointed us greatly, but our disappointment was significantly assuaged when we bit into these:

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These were cakes filled with puree of dried smoked dates. Everyone found them at least interesting, and I loved them.

In the end, the meal was a strange patchwork of canned things and great things, but like much of the experiences one has when travelling, it was certainly interesting and worth doing, even if I would never tell anyone this place is a must-visit.

In the context of this thread, though, this gives us some dishes as well as a restaurant to talk about.

#52 yakiniku

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 09:06 AM

Thanks for the photos, both here and on flickr!

Things to bring back: if your sister likes Chinese tea, I'd definitely say she should get tea. I can't find tea in the US that's quite as fresh as it is even from the ordinary supermarket in Shanghai. Though there's a very expensive tea shop in Xintiandi that sells nicely packaged tea that's good for gifts. Also, she might want to try some of the flower teas, like crysanthemum. Or eight treasure tea, which a friend of mine likes.

My mom really liked the flower tea balls I got her one year--they are best served in glass because when you steep the ball of tea, it opens up and you can see the dried flower inside.

For things to do: it's an emblem of the New Shanghai, not the old, but getting a drink on the outside deck at New Heights at Three on the Bund is the best view of the river and the skyscrapers of PuDong. Check out the art gallery on the third floor, some really interesting contemporary art.
And a block away, there's a great little shop a couple doors from the Bund that sells beautiful embroidered slippers.


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(ps. Hi everyone, this is my first post on eGullet.)
You gonna eat that?

#53 jo-mel

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 06:32 PM

Could that vegetable be bamboo shoot with Red-in-Snow, or salted Mustard Green?

#54 Pan

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 08:05 PM

Possibly pickled bamboo shoot? I don't know; I think it was the wrong size and consistency for bamboo shoot, but it's been a while, and I can't be sure. Salted mustard greens does sound possible.

#55 Jamie Valvo

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:39 PM

I have been doing a bit of research into various types of fine dining in Shanghai. I have never been and would love to hear input from those who have lived and/or traveled in the area. I am most interested in French or very contemporary cuisines. 3 on the Bund seems to the top as far as I can find.

Your thoughts?



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#56 Ben Hong

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 04:34 PM

Hmmm. going to Shanghai to find French cuisine? Why not France?

#57 Jamie Valvo

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:59 PM

I heard that there was a niche missing in the Chinese market. Just doing some research.

#58 Pan

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 08:08 AM

Well, I suppose you know about Jean-George Vonderichen's restaurant. That's one of several high-end restaurants near the Bund that seemed to be doing good business when I visited Shanghai in August 2004. The building that houses Jean-George's restaurant and one or two others had a block-long line of cabs waiting outside, because I suppose none of the rich expatriats who patronize these establishments ever gets back to their hotel or mansion or whatever any other way. Shanghai is a serious boom economy, so if you want to open an expensive restaurant there, you might stand a decent chance of success. That said, what would be more interesting to me would be to find out what exists in terms of high-end Shanghainese cuisine in Shanghai.

#59 Kent Wang

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:45 AM

What kinds of prices are these higher-end Western-style restaurants charging? I know that compared to US prices, the Chinese restaurants are dirt cheap.

#60 Julian Teoh

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 07:32 PM

What kinds of prices are these higher-end Western-style restaurants charging? I know that compared to US prices, the Chinese restaurants are dirt cheap.

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My borther, whose tastebuds I trust, tells me that Jereme Leung at Whampoa Club (if not mistaken, also located in 3 on the Bund) is serving excellent contemporary "Shanghainese" cooking. Apparently, Leung's soups and desserts (and actually, just about everything in between) are top-notch. I had to put up with his raving for days on end after he got back.

Kent, you are spot-on re pricing. I was told that while the Shanghai meal was very well-priced, I couldn't get this quality food in the West anyway even if I were to pay through the nose for it.
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