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Buddha_Belly

Shanghai Restaurant Recommendations

115 posts in this topic

This place is just fabulous! I'll warn you that it can be a little smoky, but go anyway! It's an elegant upscale restaurant just across the street from the old Jin Jiang Hotel, down a short flight of stairs, but it won't set you back much - we paid some 330 RMB for 4 people for dinner. (The last time we checked, 8.21 or so kuai RMB=$1 U.S.)

Freebie appetizers included a terrific little plate of spicy (sweet-sour pickled) cabbage and peanuts with powdered seaweed and sugar.

We ordered several dishes. All were good, and some were revelations. We had mashed taro with raisins and pine nuts, which was great and unlike anything I've had before. Another cold dish was air-dried goose, which was nicely smokey and tasted slightly reminiscent of pastrami. Two little dishes of crab over lettuce (we didn't eat the raw lettuce) were wonderful and worth the 150 RMB seasonal price. Mashed bean with preserved vegetables turned out to be the best dish of the evening. Some type of white bean was used, and the taste is really indescribable and again, totally unlike anything I've had before in a Chinese restaurant (a neighboring table that got it on our recommendation described it as a sort of Chinese hummus, but that only hints at its actual taste). Rounding out the dinner was a dish of a sauteed green vegetable that tasted like watercress and looked more like bak choy. There may have been something else I can't remember at the moment. Never mind, it's a great restaurant and if I go back someday, I'll get all different dishes.

When we sat down, the rest of the clientele was all Chinese. By the time we left, one party of Westerners and another table of an American and her Hong Kong-based translator had arrived, but the rest in the fairly large eating hall were still Chinese. Olympic diving was being shown on a large-screen TV.

From their business card:

Old Shanghai Moon, 1/F., Cathay Building, Jin Jiang Hotel 50 Mao Ming (S.) Rd., Tel. 62582582 - 9102

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I've heard good things about this place from other sources but have never been there. Maybe it's either not old enough or too upscale for my wife/guide ($10 per head, YOW!) But I'll lean on her next trip over.

For anybody looking for it in Chinese, it's:

Old Shanghai Moon 老夜上海

1F, 59 Maoming Nan Lu (by Changle Lu)

中文 茂名南路59号锦江饭店北楼底层(近长乐路)

The Chinese name is actually Old Shanghai Night (Lao ye Shanghai), most likely intended to be evocative of the wicked old days of the 1930's/1940's and a reference to the most famous song of the period by the incomparable songstress Zhou Xuan.

I think there are a couple of other branches of lao ye shanghai in town and another restaurant just called ye shanghai in the new Xintiandi complex, which I'm sure is even more "upscale". Don't confuse the two!

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I think there are a couple of other branches of lao ye shanghai in town and another restaurant just called ye shanghai in the new Xintiandi complex, which I'm sure is even more "upscale". Don't confuse the two!

Ye Shanghai, like most of the things in Xintiandi, is very upscale and definitely not worth the price...

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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.

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We understand that it used to be on the 3rd floor of a restaurant complex. I believe the lower two floors served French cuisine or something. However, the listing was in the "50 Most Memorable" guide, and my brother in San Francisco has that, so I can't give you the former address or add any other information.

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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.

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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:

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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

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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.

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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.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net


"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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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

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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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

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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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.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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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?[...]

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).

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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!!

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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.

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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.

Joel

http://www.jjd-distribution.com/thetrip

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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.

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:)

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

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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.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaxiubao/sets/349444/

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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.

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