Shanghai Golden Pancake
Shanghai is one of my favorite cities.
I am longing for a soupy Shanghai Dumpling.
For now, I will satisfy myself with visions of the Shanghai Golden Pancake, the second floor restaurant in the New Hyatt on the Bund.
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For amazing Cantonese dim sum try Jade Garden Restaurant.
For luscious Shanghai soup dumplings try Din Tai Fung.
Both are at Xian Tian Di.
My friend, Boris, who lives in Shanghai recommended this hip bistro in which is located in the brand new Ferguson Courtyard in the French Concession. The area is neat and worth checking out. The chef- owner Franck Pecol is a charming, well-known French DJ. The menu was short but excellent featuring basic bistro fare. I had delicious roasted chicken that had been sourced from a small ‘real’ organic chicken farmer in Manchuria!
791 Julu Lu
(86) 21 5403 0010
Home’s is brilliant as a reliable, unpretentious local hangout where the chefs nightly prepare excellent Shanghai dishes in a city where the demand for Western-styled dining is slowly making such a restaurant a rarity. Classics such as Drunken Crab, Hand-Shredded Chicken, Stewed Pork Belly, Honey Glazed Ham in Apricot, and Bean Curd Noodles in Superior Soup are definite must-tries. And the pan-fried buns are absolutely some of the best in the city. Make sure you get there and order before 8:30pm when the head chef is still on duty. Otherwise you might end up having one of the most disappointing meals in Shanghai.
1039 Yu Yuan Road
Tel: (86) 21 5237 1878
Fu 1039 is a completely unique restaurant which serves original Shanghainese cuisine with a contemporary western flair and is housed in a converted 1930s French villa with beautifully restored interior. The restaurant is divided into private dining rooms spread over three floors, and the only sign at the front of Lane 1039 on Yu Yuan Road is “Chongning District Heated Pool” (which is actually next door along the lane). They treasure their anonymity. With the eccentrics of a speakeasy and a refreshing approach to traditional Shanghainese cuisine, Fu 1039 is becoming a well- known secret amongst the local foodies. Ok, the lights are still too bright but this can easily be forgotten with the antique furniture and delectable cuisine that includes a trio of ‘smoked fish, smoked egg with Harbin caviar, and lotus confit stuffed with glutinous rice osthimus glaze.’ appetizer presented “French Laundry style”, steamed Shanghainese carp (best in town), and steamed pork dumplings with crab roe. Avoid the foie gras which is disappointing and the wine list is too limited for any sensible choice but to bring your own. But apart from these minor start-up deficiencies, the setting and cuisine will soon, if not already, make Fu 1039 a landmark for Shanghainese fine dining and hence reservations are highly recommended.
2-3/F, No.66, Lane 999
Chang Shou Rd.
If you are in the mood for spicy food, Guyi Hunan Restaurant offers traditional and innovative western regional dishes. The “amuse gueles” or little dishes that appear before the ordered food comes out are particularly tasty. Hot and sour shredded vermicelli sheets (suan la fen pi) glide down the throat leaving a memorable, slightly numbing sensation. Red-cooked jujubes (or red dates) are pleasingly sweet and savory. The house specialties of Fried prawns on a skewer and Steamed fish head with green and red peppers is excellent and Spareribs with a roasted cumin coating are particularly memorable. The décor is charmingly fashionable with the dark wooden floors and hanging red lanterns. Make sure you book a table since this restaurant is a popular one.
Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant
85 Yu Yuan Road, Old Town
86 21 63554206
This venerable restaurant is the home of some of the best stuffed soupy steamed buns ( xiao leng bao) in the city. Located in the Old Town God’s Temple near Yu Yuan gardens, just follow the lines (mainly waiting for take-out) to find the door. The Nanxiang , which is over 100 years old, offers the standard ground pork filling or garnished with crab roe, a sumptuous variation. There’s also a stuffed crabmeat bun which is particularly delicious in the fall during “hairy crab” season. Be sure to guard your shirt fronts since the hot juice from the bun often spurts out as you bite into them.
M on the Bund
7/F, No. 5 The Bund (on the corner of Guangdong Lu)
Shanghai now boasts some of the most sophisticated restaurants in China. Nowhere is this more apparent than at M on the Bund, which opened nine years ago to great acclaim and offers a breath-taking view of the river front area and the dramatic skyline of Pudong, across the river. The décor, although contemporary, is reminiscent of Shanghai in the thirties with stunning Art Deco columns, dark wooden floors, and leaded glass windows that extend around the circumference of the restaurant.
The genius behind M on the Bund is Michelle Garnaut, an enterprising, former cook from Australia who also created M on the Fringe in Hong Kong. Garnaut first visited Shanghai in the eighties and while she was initially discouraged by the limited fare, she recognized the potential of Shanghai, which reminded her of Hong Kong in earlier days. Undeterred by the difficulties, she opened M on the Bund in January of 1999 and it is still becoming one of the city’s hottest dining spots. Tea or a drink on the terrace is de riguer for any visitor to the city.