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Buddha_Belly

Shanghai Restaurant Recommendations

115 posts in this topic

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:

gallery_786_1273_624017.jpg

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:

gallery_786_1273_72866.jpg

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:

gallery_786_1273_46711.jpg

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:

gallery_786_1273_59261.jpg

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:

gallery_786_1273_18952.jpg

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:

gallery_786_1273_1842.jpg

Following that, we were brought this for dessert:

gallery_786_1273_14450.jpg

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:

gallery_786_1273_26723.jpg

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.

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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.

---

(ps. Hi everyone, this is my first post on eGullet.)


You gonna eat that?

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

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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.

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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?

Yours in Food,

James Valvo

Chef de Cuisine

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

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

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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.

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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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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.

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.


Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink

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Well, I agree, I wouldn't eat French food! I have been in Shanghai in September and I had great food!

To me, for such a big city it's tough if you don't know the language. My husband is shanghainese and he know the dialect, but still he left in 86 and he was not used to ordering food. More than the Bond I really liked Xintiandi, it's a relaxing oasi in the caos of the city. Touristy a bit, but nice and good restaurants.

I found this places very good:

Crystal Jade Unit 12 A, House 6-7, Lane 123 Kingye lu, (tel. 6385 8752), it's in Xintiandi

The noodle soup, the wonton soup where excellent!!! and the steam buns (best I had), plus the crispy pork skin cantonese style. Very trendy and chic place, but we spent nothing for american standards, a lot for chinese (about 15$ a person)

Also in Xintiandi we tried a place I think is called Best seafood, or similar name. You can pick the fish you like from the tank. We wanted something simple so we ordered steamed fish and shrimps plus bai tzai and other vegetables.

I don't think is still season but how to miss otherwise the famous shanghainese crab?

Wangbaohe restaurant 603 Fuzhou Lu, tel 633223673

I had very, very good food at Han Tong in the French Concession (350 yaun in 4), but we had family friends ordering for us, the same people took us also to a closed by restaurant, guess is called "chuan san jia" (sichuan food)

I also had a chance to try some japanese (very good, indeed!) Zen 1o piano di Jinjiang Gourmet Street, 59 Maoming Nanlu, by Changle Lu (5466 5070), same building first floor there is another famous french restaurant. This place is a little tricky to find.

And don't miss a nice mongolian bbq!


Edited by Franci (log)

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I'm living here at the moment.

Three at the Bund is the epicenter for high-end Western food.

Laris, Jean-Georges (will probably fall into your 'contemporary' tag on some points - using acyl gellans, chemicals that turn liquid fats into a dry powder, and then re-form on your tongue, etc.),

Whampoa Club (previous comment was in line with opinion here - great, modern and inventive Shanghainese), and then Sens on the Bund (pourcel brothers shanghai outpost), and the new Jade restaurant at Pudong Shangri-la.

Crystal Jade is a local favorite, and one of the best restaurants in town for multi-regional Chinese. Fantastic la mian (hand pulled noodles), xiao long bao (one of the shanghai legends) dumplings, shen jiang bao. The roast meats - pork, duck - are done to perfection, although I have to say my favorite is the chinese eggplant and fresh crab, bound with a little big of egg white.

The 'rich expatriate' cliche of these restaurant's clientele is a little naive. The local, and Hong Kong businessmen here are making enormous sums of money, and i would venture to guess much more than your average Western businessman out for a nice dinner at Jean-Georges. Just take a look around the dining rooms of these places.

Prices vary as much as the food. You can find incredible shen jiang bao on Wujiang Lu for under $0.50, or you can spend $200 per person at one of the afore-mentioned businesses and come away disappointed. Sure, you can eat your meals for $2-3 per day, but you're going to dig through ALOT of mediocre (at best) dishes with the rare gem - the shen jian bao, for example. Prices at the western restaurants are in line with the global market. Shanghai has cheap options, but is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, if you're patronizing the fine dining restaurants.

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I'm living here at the moment.

Three at the Bund is the epicenter for high-end Western food.

Laris, Jean-Georges (will probably fall into your 'contemporary' tag on some points - using acyl gellans, chemicals that turn liquid fats into a dry powder, and then re-form on your tongue, etc.),

Whampoa Club (previous comment was in line with opinion here - great, modern and inventive Shanghainese), and then Sens on the Bund (pourcel brothers shanghai outpost), and the new Jade restaurant at Pudong Shangri-la.

Crystal Jade is a local favorite, and one of the best restaurants in town for multi-regional Chinese. Fantastic la mian (hand pulled noodles), xiao long bao (one of the shanghai legends) dumplings, shen jiang bao. The roast meats - pork, duck - are done to perfection, although I have to say my favorite is the chinese eggplant and fresh crab, bound with a little big of egg white.

The 'rich expatriate' cliche of these restaurant's clientele is a little naive. The local, and Hong Kong businessmen here are making enormous sums of money, and i would venture to guess much more than your average Western businessman out for a nice dinner at Jean-Georges. Just take a look around the dining rooms of these places.

Prices vary as much as the food. You can find incredible shen jiang bao on Wujiang Lu for under $0.50, or you can spend $200 per person at one of the afore-mentioned businesses and come away disappointed. Sure, you can eat your meals for $2-3 per day, but you're going to dig through ALOT of mediocre (at best) dishes with the rare gem - the shen jian bao, for example. Prices at the western restaurants are in line with the global market. Shanghai has cheap options, but is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, if you're patronizing the fine dining restaurants.

Just further on my last post, the tasting menu at Whampoa club is about 145 RMB, which is around $20.

Stickavish, have you been to Sens & Bund? I've tasted Thierry Alix's food and it seems he was much more comfortable with classic French dishes such as bar de ligne and eggplant caviar. The tasting menu that I had incorporated some Vietnamese flavours which jangled like a schoolkids' musical recital. Perhaps it is a case of working in some influences to cater to an affluent crowd who would expect some Asian influences (seeing they are in Asia) but without truly understanding the use and underpinning of such flavours. Definitely a case of confusion food.


Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink

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Hi,

I also live and work in Shgh.

TOTB has 4 restaurants, two of which stand out in my biased opinion: "JG" and "Whampoa Club". The first one is well known in the US and the most profesional kitchen in Shgh. THe second one is a 'nouvelle cuisine' chinese restaurant.

Sens on Bund (Pourcel Bros) is another good western restaurant, also on the Bund.

In Xin Tian Di you will find T8, a western restaurant with an australian chef. Good but pricey for what you get but always busy. Most restaurants in XTD are overpriced if compared for what one would get in the US for the same amount of money.

Apart from these, there are some small independent restaurants such as 239, Shikumen, Mesa, Viva, further down the quality ladder Des Lys, Saleya, La Seine (this last one served me one the worst french meal I ever had) etc.

There seems to be a gap to be filled between those two segments, the high end such as JG and the low end such as Saleya.

The Shgh restaurant scene is still partly defined by restaurants in hotels. Brand names such as Ritz-Carlton (Palladio), Shangri-La (Jade on 36) etc. were the first to establish a presence in the post-Mao era and are still playing a role in the western dining experience. This will change in the future as chinese standards and expectations rise, free standing restaurants almost always give better food and service quality than large corporate hotel chains' and I would know first hand :-)

Feel free to contact me if you need any further info. I opened JG restaurant here in Shgh and know the scene fairly well.

Cheers.

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froggio: Welcome to eGullet! Hope to hear from you more about the food in Shanghai.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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I had a great dinner in Shanghai with my tour group earlier this month, but forgot what the place was called (except that it had "2000" or "2004" in the name). This joint served some reasonably creative Chinese fare, and was probably about a 10 minute drive from the Sheraton Grand Tai Ping Yang (in the Hongqiao district) where we were staying.

Google searches have been unfruitful. Can someone help me figure out the restaurant's name?

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TOTB has 4 restaurants, two of which stand out in my biased opinion: "JG"

Most restaurants in XTD are overpriced if compared for what one would get in the US for the same amount of money.

Apart from these, there are some small independent restaurants such as 239, Shikumen, Mesa, Viva, further down the quality ladder Des Lys, Saleya, La Seine (this last one served me one the worst french meal I ever had) etc.

There seems to be a gap to be filled between those two segments, the high end such as JG and the low end such as Saleya.

Jean Georges is excellent, I've been there a number of times. The one thing I was most happy about was that the menu the last time I was there (about a month ago) was far more complex and on par with what you get at JG elsewhere in the world than it was a year ago.

Xintiandi is overpriced for the quality that you will get. If you're going to be in Shanghai for less than a year, its not worth bothering with XTD unless you have someone else who is paying. The food will be good, but far below what you'd get anywhere else for a similar price.

froggio was absolutely right about the gap between the few near the top and all the rest, there is very little middle ground when it comes to western food in Shanghai. However, there are a number of Chinese places that sort of fit in this gap, like Qiao Jiang Nan, which isn't quite at the high end but also pays attention to many of the details that you get at a high end restaurant.

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Jean Georges is excellent, I've been there a number of times.  The one thing I was most happy about was that the menu the last time I was there (about a month ago) was far more complex and on par with what you get at JG elsewhere in the world than it was a year ago.

If you don't mind - prices for tasting menus/food/lunch? You would happened to have taken pictures?

Thanks!

u.e.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Jean Georges is excellent, I've been there a number of times.  The one thing I was most happy about was that the menu the last time I was there (about a month ago) was far more complex and on par with what you get at JG elsewhere in the world than it was a year ago.

If you don't mind - prices for tasting menus/food/lunch? You would happened to have taken pictures?

Thanks!

u.e.

I will try to go back and check the prices, this time I was only there for lunch. I believe that in the past the seasonal menu for dinner runs RMB 598 and the tasting menu is RMB 798. I believe the set lunch is RMB 180 allowing you the choice of 2-3 appetizers, 2-3 main courses, and 2-3 dessert options. I do have pictures from the lunch and will try to post them in the next few days. In the other thread you asked about concessions to the Asian palette, as far as I saw on the menu, there were very few.

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thanks! can't wait to see and read all about it!

cheers.

u.e.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Okay, I managed to track down the restaurant name -- it's Tang 2000, located on the second floor at 432 Huaihai West Road in the Changning district. If anyone happens to be in Shanghai and ends up eating there, I'd love to hear what you think. From what I can tell, the prices are fairly gentle for what we considered to be an excellent meal.

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Thanks for the tip, silentbob.

u.e.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I just got back from Shanghai - we ate at M on the Bund, which is run by an Australian chef. It's right next to Three on the Bund. Brunch cost about 250RMB per person.

The entrees were OK. I had a platter of meats, a pretty good lamb chop, a minute steak, sausage, bacon, mashed potatoes and a fried egg.

Our favorite part of the meal was the pavlova. It's enormous though, so order to share.

Didn't go back for dinner and ran out of time on the trip to go to Jean-Georges! The staff gave us a lovely tour of the restaurant though.

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I am taking a trip to Shanghai in a couple of weeks and am looking for some good eats. Any recommendations?

I already have reservations at M on the Bund, and 3 on the Bund, and am looking forward to steamed buns at the Yuan Gardens. What else?


She came, she saw. She ate, she blogged.

www.maryeats.com

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I Strongly Recommend going to Di Shui Dong Restaurant at 2/F Maoming Nan Lu, Near Changle Lu. It is a little hard to find, around the corner from the Brooks Brothers Store. Don't miss out on the Lamb Ribs, Smoked Pork, and Spicy Beef.

What restaurant are you planning on going at 3 on the Bund?

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