Shanghai, China: A Tasting Tour With Tony Lu
Shanghai is China’s financial hub. It attracts global businesses, including from the culinary industry, and offers a variety of in demand gastronomic options, from street food to fine dining restaurants. People in Shanghai are much keener to discover food from other parts of the country and beyond, and the city’s gastronomic offering has only prospered since prestigious food Bible the Michelin Guide came to the city in 2016.
Tony Lu is a Shanghai-based executive chef at one-Michelin star restaurants Yong Yi Ting and Fu He Hui, which specialise in Shanghainese and creative vegetarian cuisine respectively. An avant-garde chef, he innovates Chinese-style vegetarian dishes with seasonal ingredients at Fu He Hui, which jumped 18 places to number 30 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2018.
Here’s Lu’s insider guide to where to eat and food shop in Shanghai.
Zhen Ning Food Market
"Zhen Ning Food Market is clean and the ingredients are super fresh. You can also try different traditional snacks and foods at affordable prices. Moreover, with lots of foreigners around, you can find different ingredients.”.
Da Gu Food Market
"Da Gu Food is a small food market is located in the bustling city centre. Everything inside is tidy and service at the food stalls is friendly".
Cang Lang Ting
“Cang Lang Ting Ting is a very traditional state-owned noodle bar offering Suzhou-style noodles. Actually there are branches around the city, but the Chongqing Road branch is my favourite. Normally, the bar prepares the noodles and toppings for their guests on the spot, which is much more fresh. I like the noodles served with scallion, shredded pork, oil, and soy sauce, and those served with spicy meat, not because of how perfectly delicious the noodles are, but because the flavours remind me of the ones I had dur-ing my childhood".
Yi Gui He Plain Noodle
“Broth plays a fundamental role in noodle [dishes], especially when served with very few ingredients. Traditionally, the broth is cooked with various meat and bones for hours; the small restaurant Yi Gui He Plain Noodle continues to follow this rule when many other restaurants ignore it. I like the plain noodles best, but they do offer different kinds of noodles, all with authentic broths.”
Dong Tai Xiang Shanghai
“Pan-fried pork buns, with crisp bases and juicy fillings, are perhaps the most classic and popular Shanghainese dim sum. Dating back to the 1930s, the pork bun was originally served as a dim sum pairing with tea in the afternoon in teahouses. In recent decades, the bun has become smaller and less juicy. Dong Tai Xiang makes it in a more authentic way, compared to other places.”
“Jesse Restaurant, serving Shanghainese cuisine, is located in the old part of the city – a place to discover the real Shanghai of books and movies. Although it is filled with tourists, Jesse still provides quality dishes. The dishes and the atmosphere wont let you down.”
“Mercato feels like an Italian bistro with a casual and comfortable atmosphere – I like it and dine there often. The food is modern Italian in style and they encourage sharing.”
Seventh Son Restaurant
“When it comes to Cantonese cuisine, I mostly go to Seventh Son Restaurant. The quality is consisitent, and they know where and how to get the best ingredients from Hong Kong that almost no one else can get. I recommend the famous crispy chicken, a typical Cantonese dish cooked in time-honoured fashion.”
L'ATELIER de Joël Robuchon
“I do admire this world-class restaurant brand. It has many restaurants across the world, and all are successful. When you dine there, you don’t need to worry about the quality of the food, the ingredi-ents or the service. I love the Royal caviar with lobster jelly, lobster soup, and mashed cauliflower.”