Savor Shanghai’s best dishes

Shanghai is not just the rising financial center of China. Home to more than 24 million people from various cities and provinces around China, Shanghai is also the center of diverse Chinese culinary cultures. This densely populated urban center is truly a haven for food lovers. Here are some selections of what to eat in Shanghai.

Charme (港丽餐厅) is a Hong Kong style restaurant with nice, clean ambiance. It serves a delicious selection of dishes from Hong Kong as well as some Western fusion food. Dishes from Hong Kong or the Guangdong area are very flavorful and light, and Charme truly does these dishes justice. Some of Charme’s signature dishes are the roasted eggplants and the roasted meat platter. For dessert, try the pineapple buns and Hong Kong style French toast. Charme can be found in multiple locations in Shanghai.

Hai Di Lao (海底捞火锅) is a Sichuan style hot pot restaurant with probably the nicest service you can find in Shanghai. Starting from humble beginnings, it now operates 75 locations in China as well as Singapore and the United States. It is relatively expensive compared to other local gems, but it includes unparalleled services, which include a manicure service, private rooms, wireless Internet and covers for bags and phones. You can choose from a variety of broths and ingredients including fresh vegetable and meat or seafood. The restaurant is very clean and the staff is very friendly.

If you are craving authentic Shanghainese soup dumplings (xiaolongbao, 小籠包), Nanxiang Mantou Shop (南翔馒头店) is the perfect place. It is located in Shanghai Town God’s temple, just outside of Yu Garden (豫园), which is usually swarmed with thousands of tourists. There is always a line of people waiting to get those delicious xiaolongbaos, so prepare for a long wait. Most people get take out, but there are some seats available inside too.

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If you are feeling adventurous, check out the street food vendors in Shouning Lu. Despite the questionable hygiene standards of some of its vendors, this street in the heart of central Shanghai still remains as a popular spot for cheap grilled seafood and skewer supper. The Crayfish House (17 and 23 Shouning Lu) is by far most popular, marked by a long line of Shanghai locals outside. For 35RMB ($5.61) you can get sweet and spicy crayfish (甜辣小龙虾), which are boiled in large vats outside the restaurant. Although messy, food enthusiasts can enjoy these delicious crayfish with the assistance of plastic gloves.

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