Adventure Travel

Shanghai’s Best Eats

Shanghai is to China what New York City is to the States – hectic, heaving and bursting at the seams with some of the best foodie delights that money can buy. We’re talking dreamy dumplings, spicy sushi and heavenly hot pots. So, gear up your tastebuds as we head to China’s buzzing metropolis to sus out its best eats.


Shanghai’s best Japanese:

First stop is Hotel Nikko – home of Benkay Japanese Restaurant which dishes up the best sushi and sashimi in the city. Our top picks are the tuna and salmon sushi, spicy scallop roll and Volcano roll, all washed down with a ginger beer. If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, how do you like the sound of carving 40% off a stay at Hotel Nikko as part of our Global VIP sale? Book now.

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Shanghai’s favourite snack food:

With your Japanese food fix taken care of, it’s time for a Shanghainese classic – Xiaolongbao (XLBs for short). Thankfully, these adorable steamed pork soup dumplings are easier to eat than they are to pronounce. Opinions are mixed over where to find the best ones in town, so we leave it to the experts by jumping on board a Dumplings Delights walking tour with UnTour Shanghai.
Top tip: Avoid eating XLBs at Yu Gardens’ tourist traps.


Ultraviolet is Shanghai’s answer to London’s Fat Duck. Opened in 2012 by French chef, Paul Pairet, this experimental restaurant aims to deliver a “full sensory dining experience” that goes beyond the mere taste of food. Aptly named, “psycho-taste”, each dish is teamed with either a drink, a sound, a visual or a scent. Surround-sound speakers, floor-to-ceiling video screens and high-tech overhead lighting are all part of the action. And the best part? Diners are picked up from Mr & Mrs Bund restaurant and taken to the undisclosed location by van. How very James Bond. Read more about it at Culinary Backstreets blog.

Fu 1088:

This Shanghainese institution is housed in a 1930′s colonial villa complete with 17 private dining rooms furnished with plush antiques. You won’t find any Western food on the menu here – it’s strictly Shanghainese. But the waiters speak English, so it’s easy to navigate your way around the menu. If you like seafood, you’ll love the shredded crab. Other top picks are spinach dumplings, wasabi prawns, and crab with egg white that’s brought to the table in an actual eggshell. Address: 375 Zhenning Lu, near Yuyuan Lu, Jing’an District. Ph: 021 5239 7878
Top tip: This place is popular. Book well in advance.

An expat oasis:

Continuing with the numerically-named restaurant theme, 1221 is another popular haunt, particularly with the expat crew. We love their “eight treasures” tea service, skilfully poured from 60cm-long spouted teapots. Other favourites are the lemon chicken and roasted duck with crepes. Address: 1221 West Banyan Road, Channing. Ph: 021 6213 6585.

The best service in Shanghai:

Good service is rather elusive in Chinese restaurants, unless of course you land a table at the Hai Di Lao Hot Pot chain where good service is all the rage. Manicures, shoulder massages and shoe shines are on offer to help customers while away the wait time (which can be upwards of an hour during peak meal times). Read about the full experience at Culinary Backstreets blog.

By Amy Compton, follow her on Google+.

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