The Best Places in Shanghai to Get a Taste of Something Different

Super Southeast Asian awaits

by SHFamily | Tue, March 13, 2018

By Rachel Gouk

Encompassing a diverse array of countries, cultures, and cuisines, Southeast Asian cuisine is an unparalleled force in the culinary world. The cuisines are as rich, diverse, and vibrant as its cultural landscapes and traditions.

Whether you’re looking to feast on a colorful spread or craving a bowl of laksa, we’ve got the cure for you with this selection of Southeast Asian restaurants in Shanghai.

The Balfour, Peninsula Shanghai for Elevated Pan-Asian

The Balfour is the Peninsula Shanghai’s newest dining destination, situated in the heritage grounds of the Former British Consulate building at No.1 Waiyantuan. The Former British Consulate includes an intimate dining room, bar, and a stunning terrace overlooking the gardens with a view of the Lujiazui skyline.

The Balfour Peninsula

Here you can expect a menu of beautifully presented and authentic Southeast Asian dishes with heavy in uences from Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. Appetizers include Gado-Gado (¥68), an Indonesian salad of lightly blanched or boiled vegetables with a light and creamy peanut sauce; Sambal Lady’s Fingers (¥88), okra accompanied by a rich chili sauce of lime, dried prawns, onion, and bird’s eye chili; and the Chicken and Beef Satay (¥148), a refined rendition of street-found skewers traditionally served with a chunky peanut sauce.

Entrées continue to dazzle with Beef Rendang (¥188), beef that is slow-stewed with galangal, coconut, turmeric, and spices. Another is the Grilled Marbled Goby (¥188), marinated in a bright mix of lemongrass, lime, and sambal. Both are great for sharing and are best enjoyed with a serving of rice. One splurge item that jumps out is the Laksa (¥208). It is a lot to pay for a bowl of noodles, but this one comes laden with tiger prawns and green mussels, both plump and fresh. Joining in curry broth are also fish balls and bean sprouts. Prices subject to 16.6 percent service charge.

Top three dishes: Satay, Laksa, Goby

Great for: Date nights or lunch with the kids

Average check: ¥380

Find it: No. 1 Waitanyuan, 33 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Yuanmingyuan Lu

Food Fusion for Quick and Easy

Food Fusion is a chain with locations in Hongqiao, Jing’an, Huangpu, Pudong, and Hongkou. It’s not the classiest or healthiest option, but most dishes pass our seal of authenticity and are good enough to sate your appetite for some good Malaysian/Singaporean fare.

Food Fusion

The Beef Rendang (¥68) is one of our favorite dishes. It’s slow-cooked in curry, condensing the flavors into the beef. They also have plenty of veggie options, including Sambal Fried Dragon Beans (¥38) and Mixed Vegetable Curry (¥42).

Top three dishes: Beef Rendang, Sambal Fried Dragon Beans, Mixed Vegetable Curry

Great for: Quick and cheap lunch, delivery

Average check: ¥100

Find it: Multiple locations

Bumbu for an Indonesian Gem

In case you’re unfamiliar, this unassuming basement-level joint is known for its good honest food and a spiciness that only unadulterated Indonesian fare can provide. The menu is vast, encompassing plenty of authentic Indonesian dishes from soupy and dry curries to whole grilled fish.

Bumbu Restaurant

Get a number of dishes to share, including the Gado-Gado shredded vegetable salad (¥38), Curry Beef (¥68), Stir-Fried Morning Glory (¥32), Sambal Sauteed Shrimp (¥86), and more. Another favorite is the Empal Daging (¥68), a dry and smoky serving of beef with mildly sweet undertones that grow in flavor with each bite. It’s also suitable for lunch with plenty of rice and noodle dishes. Order up hearty rice mains like the Nasi Rames (¥58), a bundle of shredded chicken breast avored with chili paste, smashed tempe (a soy-bean patty), curry-seasoned stewed beef and a deep-fried hard-boiled egg topped with spicy balado sauce and white rice.

Top three dishes: Gado-Gado, Nasi Rames, Empal Daging

Great for: Easy-going meal, groups, delivery

Average check: ¥100

Find it: B1/F, Pacheer Commercial Center, 555 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Changdu Bei Lu; Tel: 6222 7693

Cobra Lily for Contemporary Swank

Cobra Lily is a contemporary Asian restaurant and bar in Xintiandi, brought to you by the same team behind Liquid Laundry and Boxing Cat Brewery. Partner Kelley Lee and Executive Chef Simon Sunwoo’s menu fea- tures reinvented classics from the continent, fusing cuisines and techniques. Of these include the Bang Bang Bánh Cuốn (¥98), Vietnamese fresh rice ravioli stuffed with an assortment of mushrooms, minced pork, fried shallots, and herbs, and the “Shiok Shrimp” Singaporean Black Pepper Prawns (¥188) with fried curry leaves and foie gras sauce.

Cobra Lily

There’s plenty of terrace seating for those warmer months, perfect for an afternoon of brunching. Get the Siamese Sunrise (¥98), a plate of sausage hash, poached eggs, and herbs. A close second is the oh-so-satisfying Osaka Sake (¥108), a smoked salmon okonomiyaki with mentaiko mayonnaise, Bulldog sauce, poached egg, bonito akes, pickled ginger, and scallions.

Cobra Lily also has a dedicated cocktail and spirits program led by mixologist Ruslan Kapstan, who has created a number of Asian-inspired cocktails like the Tom Khallins (¥75), a mix of coconut milk, lemongrass infused gin, and kaffir infused gin. The Bloody Mary (¥80) is also one of the best in the city.

Top three dishes: Bang Bang Bánh Cuốn, Siamese Sunrise, Osaka Sake

Great for: Date night, brunch and cocktails

Average check: ¥230

Find it: No. 19 Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Lu, near Madang Lu; Tel: 5351-0116