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A Foodies Guide to Old Shanghais Iconic Eateries and Dining Institutions

A Foodies Guide to Old Shanghais Iconic Eateries and Dining Institutions

Background on Shanghai Cuisine

As a long-time resident of Shanghai, I have always been fascinated by the rich culinary history and iconic dining spots that dot the city. Shanghai cuisine is known for its freshness, light flavors, and creative combinations of seafood and produce. While globalization and modernization have transformed many aspects of life here, Shanghai’s classic eateries continue to preserve delicious tastes from earlier eras.

Xintiandi and the Surrounding Area

One of the top neighborhoods to explore Shanghai’s dining scene is Xintiandi and the surrounding Huangpu District. Let’s take a closer look at some of the iconic spots:

Yong Foo Elites Cafe

H2 Founded in 1885, Yong Foo Elites Cafe is considered one of the oldest restaurants in Shanghai. Walking into its arched entrance is like taking a step back in time. Old black and white photographs line the walls, giving a glimpse into its past as a popular meeting place for intellectuals and artists. The restaurant specializes in Shanghainese cuisine, with dishes like red braised pork belly and Shanghai hairy crab spareribs. Sitting at one of its wooden tables feels like an experience in cultural heritage.

Mingtown Eatery

H2 A modern take on classic Shanghainese fare can be found at Mingtown Eatery. Located a short walk from Xintiandi, it offers upscale twists on dishes like smoked fish soup and Chinese longevity noodles. The sleek interior design maintains an air of sophistication. However, the real stand-out is the creative bento boxes – delicious assemblages of dishes artfully arranged for sharing. It’s the perfect spot to sample top-notch regional cuisine in a contemporary setting.

Hong Kong Style Wanton Noodle

H2 For a nourishing snack, Hong Kong Style Wanton Noodle is always a reliable choice. This no-frills shop dates back to the 1940s and maintains many of its original characteristics. Wandering in, the air is filled with fragrant cooking smells. Standard bowls come heaped with wontons, noodles and a savory broth. While simple, the flavors are rich and satisfying. It’s evident why this place remains so popular after all these years.

Other Iconic Neighborhood Spots

The French Concession is another district housing many of Shanghai’s most storied culinary institutions. Here are a few others worth exploring:

Wuhao Yuan Xiaomian

H3 Situated on a charming alleyway, Wuhao Yuan Xiaomian specializes in noodle soup crafted from pork bone broth. The precise cooking technique results in a deeply flavorful liquid. Regulars rave about the Qimen Dan Dan Mian, with its nutty sesame paste and savory minced meat. This tiny shop feels untouched by time, perfect for a taste of down-home warmth.

Guoyuan Xiaochi

H3 For a delicious glimpse into Shanghai’s culinary past, Guoyuan Xiaochi cannot be missed. Hidden down a quiet lane, it has operated continuously since the late Qing dynasty era. Classic dishes like diced chicken with bamboo shoots and steamed minced pork buns reflect traditional Shanghainese comfort food done extraordinarily well. The service remains cordial and welcoming, making it a special cultural experience.

Jianguo 328

H3 While global influences have evolved Shanghai’s restaurants, Jianguo 328 sticks closely to heritage recipes. Tucked within an alleyway, it focuses on homestyle cooking. Specialties include steaming hot soup dumplings, eggplant in garlic sauce, and fried rice noodles. The friendly staff have clearly honed their skills over the restaurant’s 40-year history. It’s a welcoming haven for preserving culinary traditions.

Key Takeaways

In concluding, exploring Shanghai’s iconic dining spots offers a tasty window into the city’s past. Whether discovering historic eateries or modern twists on classics, the food scene embodies both tradition and progress. Table below summarizes some of the top recommendations based on cuisine type and neighborhood:

Cuisine Type Neighborhood Restaurant
Shanghainese Xintiandi Yong Foo Elites Cafe
Shanghainese (modern) Xintiandi Mingtown Eatery
Hong Kong snacks Xintiandi Hong Kong Style Wanton Noodle
Homestyle noodle soup French Concession Wuhao Yuan Xiaomian
Heritage Shanghainese French Concession Guoyuan Xiaochi
Steaming soup dumplings French Concession Jianguo 328

Experiencing these iconic dining institutions helps one truly appreciate how food connects both to Shanghai’s past and its constantly evolving present. The flavours of this great city’s culinary history live on through each delicious bite.



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