Huaiyang cuisine encompasses the region between the Huai and Yangtze Rivers, including Shanghainese food (which is considered a bastardized version of Huaiyang thanks to the city’s historical foreign influence). This type of local cuisine is known for being quite sweet and sour; sugar and vinegar are added to almost every dish. Dishes most often include pork and freshwater seafood shed out of the rivers from which the cuisine gets its name, and braising and stewing are the most typical preparations.
Relatively Cheap Shanghai Eats
Jianguo 328 328小馆
It’s all about simple, clean flavors and top-notch ingredients at this Shanghainese restaurant. They fervently implement the city’s of cial no-smoking policy, and there’s no MSG on the menu. The trend toward quality ingredients can be tasted in every dish, and they even lter the water they use to boil their excellent noodles. More info.
Order: noodles with pork sauce (炸酱面 zhájiàng miàn), scallion oil noodles (葱油拌 面 cōngyóu bàn miàn), red-braised pork (红烧肉 hóngshāo ròu), crispy duck (香酥鸭 xiāngsū yā)
Google map. 328 Jianguo Rd (West), near Xiangyang Rd (South). 建国西路328号近襄阳 南路. Subway: Line 9/12 – Jiashan Road. Tel: +86 21 6471 3819. Hours: 11am-2pm & 5-9pm. Menu: Chinese & English.
Mid-Range Shanghai Classics
Lao Ji Shi (Old Jesse) 老吉士
There’s a reason this is one of the most recommended restaurants in China: it’s the best darn Shanghainese in town. Avoid the “New” Jesses around town – they’re not nearly as good. And make sure to call ahead about the “secret” dishes (noted below with *) – although most of them are listed on the menu, they require pre-ordering several days in advance.
Order: scallion oil cod fish head (葱烤鱼头 cōngkǎo yútóu)*, red-braised pork shank (红烧蹄膀 hóngshāo tí páng)*, red jujubees stuffed with glutinous rice (心太软 xīntài ruǎn), cold tofu & mushroom salad (凉拌腐竹 liángbàn fǔzhú), soft braised tofu with hairy crab (蟹粉豆腐 xièfěn dòufu), chicken soup (鸡汤 jītāng)*
Google map. 41 Tianping Rd, near Huaihai Rd (Middle). 天平路41号近淮海中路. Subway: Line 10/11 – Jiaotong University. Tel: +86 21 6282 9260. Hours: 11am- 2pm & 5pm-12am. Menu: Chinese & English.
Fancy Shanghai Dinner
FU 1088 福1088
There are four FU restaurants in town, all run by Shanghai’s closest thing to a celebrity chef (Tony Lu) and housed in beautiful art deco villas in Jing’an. Fu 1088 is the cheapest of the lot, but the minimum spend pre-booze is still RMB 400 per person. It’s worth it just for the chance to eat in a private room of such a beautiful house alone, but luckily the food is amazing too.
Order: smoked sh (熏鱼 xūn yú), Red-braised pork (红烧肉 hóngshāo ròu), Fried shrimp with wasabi (芥末芝麻虾jièmò zhīma xiā), Roasted cod (烤鳕鱼kǎo xuěyú), peas & Chinese prosciutto (火腿小豌豆 huǒtuǐ xiǎo wāndòu), Steamed whole shad fish (鲥鱼shí yú)
Google Map. 375 Zhenning Rd, near Yuyuan Rd. 镇宁路375号近愚园路. Subway: Line 2/11 – Jiangsu Rd. Tel: +86 21 5239 7878. Hours: 11am-2pm & 5:30-11pm.