Food in Shanghai - The 9 Best Places to Eat in the City
Food in Shanghai - The 9 Best Places to Eat in the City10th January 2022
Shanghai is a global financial hub and a popular destination for business travellers from around the world. Besides having a world class skyline featuring the Shanghai Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the city is a hotbed for Shanghainese and Chinese food. Shanghai food is derived from two contrasting styles of cooking: Benbang Cuisine and Hapei Cuisine. Our guide to the nine best places to eat in Shanghai will certainly provide inspiration when visiting the city. Read on to discover the best street food and restaurants in Shanghai. Check out our serviced apartments in Shanghai ahead of your visit.
1) Wujiang Road Food Street
Wujiang Road, situated between the People’s Square and Jing’an Temple, is arguably the most popular food street in Shanghai. The street is the origin of the famous pan-fried bun brand Yang’s Fried Dumpling. Wujiang Road is located by West Nanjing Road, one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. Business travellers can experience a modern take on street food just moments away from world class shopping. Multiple vendors line Wujiang Road offering a range of Shanghainese and Chinese specialities. Be sure to try the shengjianbao and congyoubing, two local delicacies in Shanghai.
2) South Yunnan Road Food Street
South Yunnan Road is the ultimate destination to sample some authentic local street food in Shanghai. Renowned for street food since the 19th century, South Yunnan Road is a firm favourite amongst locals. The 250-meter-long street offers not only Shanghainese food, but also cuisine from Guangzhou, Beijing, and Sichuan. The aroma from the vendors on South Yunnan Road is truly sensational. Shaanxi-style dumplings, Cantonese dim sum and Mongolian hotpot are three delicacies worth trying on South Yunnan Road. This street highly recommended by locals for visitors to Shanghai.
3) Chenghuangmiao Old Street
Chenghuangmiao Old Street is a quintessential Shanghai area and one of the most famous food streets in the city. Located along Fuyou Road in Huangpu District, the food stalls and restaurants are housed in recreated Ming and Qing dynasty buildings, keeping in tradition with the nearby Chinese Yuyuan Garden. This busy food street is a mainstay amongst locals and visitors alike. Steamed buns, Sheng Jian Bo, fried rice cakes and crab shell cakes are some of the must-try local foods on display at Shanghai Old City God Temple.
4) Xiangyang Road Food Stalls
Located in the French Concession district of Shanghai, Xiangyang Road offers a traditional street food encounter. The hole-in-the-wall food vendors cook a variety of Shanghainese and Chinese cuisine. Potstickers, jianbing and steamed buns are some of the favourite foods to sample on Xiangyang Road. This food market is particularly busy in the mornings, as Shanghai workers stop by for breakfast. Be sure to visit in the early hours to taste their dumplings, arguably the best breakfast food in Shanghai.
5) M on the Bund
Situated by The Bund, a modern waterside promenade, this restaurant is a mainstay of the fine dining scene in Shanghai. M on the Bund has hosted several celebrities and public figures including Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson and Kylie Minogue. The establishment is renowned for great food and delicious cocktails which are served on a rooftop terrace providing extraordinary views of the Shanghai skyline. M on the Bund was one of the first Shanghai restaurants to occupy one of the many colonial buildings, with the restaurant highly regarded for its blend of European, African, and Australian cuisine.
Finding vegetarian food in China can be a difficulty, with the Chinese traditionally favouring a meat-filled diet. However, Wujie is a contemporary eatery offering the very best vegetarian and vegan food in Shanghai. Located in a European style building on The Bund, Wujie has rightly earned a Michelin Star for its excellent menu. Using top quality ingredients, Wujie combines traditional Chinese cuisine with international cooking methods. The creativity and attention to detail has seen Wujie emerge as one of the most renowned restaurants in Shanghai. Even meat lovers will love this place!
7) Mr & Mrs Bund
Mr & Mrs Bund, excellently located on The Bund, is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in Shanghai. This modern eatery is fronted by chef Paul Pairet and specialises in classic French bistro cuisine. Diners are encouraged to tweak dishes on the menu to suit their tastes, with the restaurant cooking a variety of grill and seafood. Mr & Mrs Bund refreshed its menu in 2020, with Pairet featuring retro classics inspired by French Brasserie, London Grill and New York Steakhouse. The setting is elegantly designed and offers wonderful views of the Lujiazui skyline from across the Huangpu River.
8) Commune Social
Commune Social is a contemporary restaurant located in the old French Concession district of Shanghai. Fronted by English chef Jason Atherton, Commune Social has a casual, laid-back atmosphere. Its no reservations, no service charge policy brings a little bit of English style dining to Shanghai! The food at Commune Social is of an impeccably high standard and the tapas-style menu makes it ideal for sharing. The menu is influenced by cuisine from the UK, Spain and Asia, with the braised beef short rib a highlight. Ask for a table surrounding the open-plan kitchen to watch the spectacular chefs at work.
9) Lost Heaven
Lost Heaven operates two restaurants in Shanghai, one in the former French Concession and one on The Bund. Both establishments are highly regarded and specialise in cuisine from Yunnan province in southwestern China. Yunnan cuisine utilises spice and mushrooms, alongside cheese and flowers, rarities in Chinese food. It is influenced greatly from recipes originating in Thailand, Laos, and Burma. The enchanted décor and dim, flickering candlelight provides the perfect backdrop for the traditional menu. Lost Heaven had grown to be so popular in Shanghai that in 2012 it opened a Beijing branch.
Hopefully this list of the nine best places for food in Shanghai has provided inspiration ahead of your visit to China. Shanghai boasts a truly impressive array of street food and restaurants and choosing from any of the street food locations or Shanghai restaurants above will provide a wonderful culinary experience. Discover our guide to Shanghai: China’s Economic Powerhouse and ahead of visiting China’s largest city, read about our Eight Best Serviced Apartments in the Asia Pacific.