Asian Crossroads

By Michael Zee 2019-04-26 16:21:31

Best eats in town with Michael Zee


What really gets your heart beating faster? Perhaps an ultra chic Scandinavian inspired interior with lo-fi details and lots of plywood? Or staff with extensive knowledge of namazake and junmai-shu sake and a cleverly hidden speakeasy, 3&Co, behind an office door?

Newly opened Shinpaku, meaning the heart of the rice that makes sake (where Unico and Chop Chop once existed) is one of the Bund’s latest openings. The interior is something between a Kengo Kuma building and Finn Juhl armchair that perfectly matches the refined sensibilities of Japanese cuisine.

A delicate starter of thinly sliced scallops with the roe and pickles feels like digging for buried treasure, yet the sashimi platter, in all its tacky pomposity comes on a model boat flowing with dry ice that reflects the psychedelic flotilla outside. It’s a Japanese restaurant without the rigid codes of formal or even informal Japanese dining. Some of the dishes are still a work in progress but I can’t be too harsh as they are still in a soft opening period.

Once the dust has settled and the paint has dried, Shinpaku will be somewhere you can take your parents out for a smart dinner, or where you can enjoy top notch sushi without having to schlep to Gubei..

Details: 2F, No. 3, The Bund, No. 3, Zhongshan East Road 中山东一路3号外滩三号2楼

Reservations essential


Everyday 17.30 – 01.00


Seventh Son

Before there was brunch, there was dim sum. The Cantonese have been spending their weekends leisurely eating small delicate bites and infusion after infusion of tea for hundreds of years. The only location besides that of the original in Hong Kong, Seventh Son in the East Wing of the Kerry Centre is a hidden gem.

My first bit of advice is stick with tea, forget the Jasmine and green but go for their oolong as it pairs wonderfully with everything from har gao to sandy scalding custard bao that are only available at weekends.

My second tip is go with three or more people, with my friends we order practically half the menu, a whole crispy chicken, crystal dumplings, xiaolongbao (perhaps give the XLB here a miss), turnip cake with XO and some vegetables so we seem to have some understanding of healthy eating. A slippery portion of cheung fun filled with charsiu pork finishes off our meal. Any smaller group size and you’d miss out on some of the key dishes that make Seventh Son so iconic.

Lastly, and especially if you have little ones with you, order the cong you bing ball, a giant balloon of a bread. It reminds me of a bhature or puri from North India but the Chinese version. They’re silly and slightly pointless and will make your face light up with joy everytime. Absolutely delicious nonsense.

Details: E2-03, 2F, Kerry Center East Wing, 1515 West Nanjing Road (near Metro Jing'an Temple Station)


Reservations essential


Monday – Friday 11.30 – 14.30, 17.00 – 22.00

Saturday & Sunday 11.00 – 15.00, 17.00 – 22.00


Dong Tai Xiang

Dong Tai Xiang exists somewhere on the all day dining scale between gruff and necessary. All of its Shanghai locations are open 24 hours a day, churning out bowls of congyoumian for hungry breakfast patrons and delicious quartets of shengjianbao for sobering night revellers. It’s a Shanghainese symphony of flavour through a pair of earphones.

I visited the restaurant at 188 Chongqing Bei Lu after the lunchtime rush picking out an assortment from their menu. The menu is also available in English and Japanese but a little bit of Chinese goes a long way with coercing the staff. Noodles, wontons with sesame paste, suji, a textured tofu meant to resemble chicken, a pork chop floating in brown sauce and two portions of shengjianbao. It all came to a rather impressive 80 RMB.

DTX’s SJB are really the star of the show here. Between the thin-skinned Yang’s and the doughy buns of Da He or Gaochi, they’re smaller and more manageable for children’s appetites. It’s busy enough all day long to constantly have a pan on the go, ensuring they’re always fresh and fast to the table.

Details: No. 188 Chongqing North Road (near Datun Road) 重庆北路188号(近大沽路)

No reservations and open 24 hours a day