Beijingers may sneer that
Shanghai doesn’t have the same
range and quality of Chinese food,
but that doesn’t mean we don’t have
plenty of culinary delights to offer.
For a dumpling joint that delivers tasty
dishes, a healthy dose of old Shanghai
atmosphere and dirt cheap prices,
Lin Long Fang’s original branch on
Jianguo Dong Lu is hard to beat. It’s
one of the city’s oldest – and still most
popular – purveyors of steamy soup
dumplings xiaolongbao (9-20RMB for
12; pictured above). Don’t miss the delectable egg and
pork or the pure crab fillings.
INSIDER TIP If you’re coming for lunch,
get here early or late – a line of locals
regularly snakes out the door from
around midday. Not only will this help
you score a table, but you’ll also get
an unrestricted view of the dumpling
makers at work inside the restaurant.
This homely little Shanghainese joint
on the leafy former French Concession
street of Jianguo Lu serves up our
city’s cuisine in charming surrounds
and without some of the unwanted trappings that often come with it
(there’s no smoking, no MSG and the
kitchen uses quality oil and filtered
water). We like so many dishes here
we could list almost half the menu.
But, in a city with a trillion ways to cook
hongshao rou (braised pork belly),
Jianguo’s take really holds its own: its
sauce is neither over-sweet nor gloopy.
It has a rich depth and instead of a
whole hen’s egg, the pork belly chunks
are braised with delicate quail eggs.
Meal for two, 250RMB.
Jianguo 328's fermented tofu
INSIDER TIP Jianguo is a popular spot
– even (soon-to-be-ex) British Prime Minister David Cameron paid a visit – so
during peak meal times you may have
to wait for a table. But we promise it’s
Elefante's crab salad
French chef Paul Pairet’s extraordinary
‘multi-sensory’ dining experience
Ultraviolet was the only restaurant in
Mainland China to make it onto the
World’s 50 Best list last month. Yet for
those of us who don’t have upwards of
5,000RMB to drop on a single meal, we
recommend heading to Elefante for a
taste of what Shanghai’s international
dining scene has to offer. Set in a
gorgeous former French Concession
villa, Elefante is Spanish chef
Willy Trullas Moreno’s culinary
playground, with a host
of delicious tapas and
such as gambas fritas
and the huevos fritos
with 36-month Elefante
Ibérico (a must-order).
Meal for two, 600RMB.
COME FOR Brunch in the
courtyard. Every weekend
Elefante hosts a colourful
food-truck brunch in its leafy
courtyard space, with regular popups
that show off Shanghai’s clique
of diverse and talented chefs. DJs set
a relaxed and celebratory tone that can
lend itself to a little too much sangria.