Best Xinjiang Food in Shanghai – Top Five Xinjiang Restaurants

Looking for the best Xinjiang food in Shanghai? We’ve got you covered.

The food from China’s far northwestern province of Xinjiang is culturally unique in the country. The dishes focus mostly on the halal flavors of Muslim cuisine from China’s 10 ethnic minorities who practice Islam. And good versions of the dishes can be hard to come by outside of the province, which is why we’ve compiled this list of the best Xinjiang food in Shanghai.

The Hui minority are the largest group of Muslims in China, and their diaspora reaches well across the country to China’s eastern shores, and especially in Xi’an, the former terminal city of the Silk Road. Uighurs – the second largest ethnic group in Xinjiang – have mostly remained in the region. Uighurs are descendants from the ancient Sogdian traders once observed by Marco Polo, and unlike many of the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, the Uighurs are an urban people whose identity crystallized in the oasis towns of the Silk Road.

A walk through the bazaars of old Uighur centers such as Kashgar or Khotan reveals the physical legacy of a people rooted along the first trans-contintental trade route: an astonishing array of hazel and even blue eyes, with blonde or brown or black hair — typically tucked beneath headscarves or the customary Uighur felt cap.

The cuisine of the Hui and Uighur is halal, meaning that there is no pork (or alcohol – although beer and wine often makes it in to restaurants in Shanghai), and all meats must be butchered halal. The cuisine often feels more Central Asian or Middle Eastern than Chinese food, thanks to the usage of strong spices like cumin and the addition of naan bread to the table.

Here’s our top five restaurants to find the best Xinjiang food in Shanghai:

1. Authentic Xinjiang Lamb Skewers 新疆正宗羊肉串儿 

This takeaway-only shop is located at the intersection of Zhejiang Rd and Guangdong Rd – what used to be Shanghai’s famous Muslim food street. While fat-butt sheep are no longer butchered out in the open here, the skewers of lamb (羊肉串儿) grilled to order are as fresh as it comes. And their selection of naan is unparalleled in the city.

587 Guangdong Rd. 广东路587号 

2. Guan Guan Ji 贯贯吉 

Just around the corner from the skewer restaurant is our pick for the most authentic sit-down restaurant for Xibei (northwestern) cuisine in Shanghai. Guan Guan Ji is always packed, even after midnight. Sample Xinjiang classics like shredded lamb (手抓羊肉), yogurt (自制老酸奶), lamb pilaf (手抓饭), “big plate” of chicken (大盘鸡), and naan fried with lamb (囊炒肉).

70 Zhejiang Rd. 浙江路70号

3. Xibo 锡箔新疆

As the name suggests, Xibo highlights the food of the Xibonese people from Xinjiang’s northwest hills. The vibe is more modern and higher-end. Think cocktails, English menus, and award-winning wines from the region. They launched in 2009 and now have five stores around Shanghai – a Xinjiang success story you don’t hear about very often.

Original Location: 3F, 83 Changshu Rd. 常熟路83号3楼.

Jing’an Location: 福建北路100号苏河万象天地东里LG191 100 Fujian North Road, LG191, inside Suhe MixC World

4. Yershari 耶里夏丽

Yeshari is the grand dame of Xinjiang cuisine. Their flagship store in Xujiahui opened in 2010, and they have 10 restaurants all over the city. You can catch performances of traditional Xinjiang culture during dinner in the main dining room at most of the restaurants. And we’ve talked about how much we love their kid-friendly menu, plus their lunch sets are a great deal!

2F, 680 Zhaojiabang Rd. 肇嘉浜路680号2楼. 

5. Xin Q – 新Q

Run by a rather hip Uighur family, Xin Q attracts a wide swath of society on their way home after an evening out. Choose from 20+ different cuts of meat chilling on skewers in the refrigerator. In our opinion, the chicken wings are up there with the best in Shanghai.

688 Xietu Rd. 斜土路688号。

Bonus: Sapar Xinjiang Expedition

We thought we’d lost this Jing’an staple during the pandemic, but it came back strong with a very Uighur refurb in 2021. There’s a grill outside for a streetside skewer or naan bread. And the interior is decked out with heavy wooden chairs and stunning tiles. The menu is vast; there’s something for everyone.

20 Yuyuan Zhi Lu. 愚园支路20号.


Looking for more insights into the best food in Shanghai? Join our Shanghai Night Eats or Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast tour to discover local gems hiding in plain siight. 

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