Find out more about some of our Shanghai food tour team members!
Chris D, from Oregon, USA
What’s your ‘other job’ and what do you love about leading food tours?
I moved to Shanghai in the summer of 2017 and began working as a manufacturing liaison and consultant with Rethink Manufacturing Solutions. I act as an intermediary between American clients and their Chinese manufacturing partners, primarily helping to streamline communications and conduct regular quality control visits. Working in an entrepreneurial capacity is challenging and rewarding, but doing food tours with UnTour is really fun and social and allows me to act in a more comfortable and nerdy way that feels more authentic to who I am. My academic background brings a social component that compliments my understanding of how Chinese cuisines have evolved, and I really enjoy learning from the perspectives and experiences that guests bring to our tours.
What is the one restaurant that you recommend to every visitor?
富春小笼 Fuchun Xiaolong. Really nice 小笼包 xiaolongbao in a part of the Jing’An district that has great brunch options, crawdads (crawfish), and several restaurants that compete with each other for prestige amongst 小笼包 connoisseurs. Having just moved from the Chinese countryside, I still get a big kick out of planting my feet and feeling the ground shake as Line 2 trains rush below Fuchun while I eat.
Address: 上海市静安区愚园路650号 No.650, Yuyuan Rd, Jing An District, Shanghai
Where do you go when you want to escape/travel outside of SH/BJ?
They say Zhejiang is the garden of Shanghai. One of my favorite trips has been to 牛头山 Niutou Mountain, a natural area where I hiked and swam and visited a Daoist temple on a mountain and picked grapes. It isn’t easy to get out of Shanghai, getting to 牛头山 required a 2 hour train ride, a 1 hour bus ride and then another 1 hour taxi just to get to the trail head to start hiking. Convenience aside, it was lovely.
Any areas of the city you find yourself going back to all the time, and why?
This is pretty conventional answer, but the obvious charm of the French Concession makes it a really nice place to walk or take a bike through. It’s quiet and comparatively less densely populated than other districts of Shanghai, plus its tree-lined boulevards are cool in the summertime and the architecture is lovely.
What’s the best thing someone can do/read/buy to plan their trip here?
For foreigners who are both looking for a place to start learning about China or folks who know quite a bit already I always recommend anything by Peter Hessler as a good resource to build a historical and cultural foundation for understanding China. He’s not a travel writer perse, but his social commentary will help anyone appreciate what they encounter while traveling in China and what to expect when coming here for the first time.
What’s the first thing you eat when you’ve been away for a while?
Having lived in Xinjiang (NW China) I will continue to crave that cuisine for the rest of my life. Luckily there are plenty of Uyghurs and Hui (ethnic minorities from Xinjiang) who call Shanghai home and have brought their culinary traditions to the city for us to enjoy. I still haven’t found a good place to get 大盘鸡 (Dapanji, literally ‘big plate of chicken, a dish that is primarily chicken, potatoes, onions, and peppers served in a wonderful tomato based sauce with naan bread soaking underneath) or 曲儿曲儿 (a lamb tortellini-like soup) or 烤包子 (roasted lamb dumpling), but plenty of Xinjiang restaurants will have good lamb kebabs, dingding noodles, pulled noodles, cucumber salad, 手抓饭 (fried rice with lamb and carrots marinated in lamb fat), and Xinjiang beer. Lele’s is an exemplary Xinjiang restaurant that UnTour includes on its Night Eats Tour in the Laoximen area south of People’s Square.
Address: 乐乐餐厅－上海市黄浦区东台路272号 Lele’s Restaurant – No. 272, Dongtai Rd, Huangpu District, Shanghai
If you’re looking for a true foodie experience, join a walking food tour in China’s top cities, discovering the best neighborhoods, hidden culinary gems, dumplings, hotpot, noodles, and more. UnTour Food tours offers tours in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu & Hong Kong – we’re your one stop shop for the best of the best in China’s walking food tours.