Cheap Eats and Delicious Treats!

By Michael Zee 2019-12-11 12:53:31

Pure Memory 纯真糕点

Whilst it may seem that every available space in Shanghai is becoming a coffee shop, sometimes you might be surprised to find that behind the millennial pink interior is actually something other than caffeine. At Pure Memory on Middle Fuxing Road, past the Kaws posters and gold and marble Taobao interior, is a very lovely counter of freshly made rice cakes. I bought the 大全家福 a tray of the daily specials plus their bestsellers. The majority of the flavours, black and regular sesame, purple potato and osmanthus are vegan and gluten free too, but surprisingly their passionfruit one was my favourite. They are perfect for an afternoon treat or an unexpected offering at a dinner party.

Find it: 1251 Middle Fuxing Road, 复兴中路1251号

8am-8pm Everyday; No reservations

Dumpling Ladies 为民点心店

Since 1992, a small, all-female team has been churning out guotie on the roadside not far from the W Hotel. Charming blue formica tables, mismatched and unironic vintage enamelware and chipped teapots of sharp rice vinegar (in contrast to the sweet black vinegar most restaurants in Shanghai provide). It's a non-stop operation that they run, with stacks of freshly made dumplings, they’re loaded into the pan by the hundred and sold in the blink of an eye. It’s a fragment of history hanging on by a thread. My favourite shikumen noodle joint across the road shut up shop a few months ago so my advice is to get down there sooner rather than later.

Find it: 62 Huimin Road near Yangshupu Road, 惠民路62号(近杨树浦路)

6am–1pm Everyday; No reservations

Bloom Noodles 有签花成都串串香

There are few things I enjoy more than a bowl of something incredibly spicy, almost pain inducing heat. Ignore the chuanr here and go straight for the a la carte menu. I started with a bowl of the Popo Liangmian, or Mother-in-Law noodles, served cold with chilli and whole peanuts, they are as delicious as Wei Xiang Zhai’s sesame noodles and are a great speedy lunch for those on the go. If you’re a fan of offal, I recommend the Gan Ban Yao Hua, artistically cut kidney’s that are said to resemble flowers, that is, if you’re into bouquets of dying flowers made from organs, terrifying yet delicious. Drown all the spice with a final sweet flourish, the hong tang ci ba is a scalding hot pillow of crunchy niangao, covered in brown sugar syrup and sweet soybean powder.

Find it: Unit 4, 35 South Shaanxi Road, 陕西南路35-4号

11am-2pm, 5pm- Midnight; No reservations

Kylin Noodles 面麒麟

For some unimaginable reason you find yourself getting a train from the old Shanghai Railway Station, then pass by Kylin Noodles, just a short walk away. They serve delightfully zhuzhed up versions of classic Shanghainese dishes. The dishes you probably know well and love with a touch more care and attention to fine-tuning. Ordinary scallion oil noodles are transformed under smothering blanket of clams and chilli, and a rather innocuous bowl of rice is packed with lardy flavour and crispy nuggets of crackling; utterly sublime! The setting and service is a fine line between unceremonious and zippy, but if you’re in the area and you’ve got time to burn before that overnight train to Beijing its well worth stopping by.

Find it Kerry Enterprise Square, 277 Meiyuan Road, 嘉里企业坊店


Luneurs, Huashan Road

Luneurs quietly opened some time ago on Xingfu Road and quickly found a group of dedicated fans. The first café, intentionally lacking in space for laptops offers a place of calm where you can have an ice cream in relative peace. Not only have they opened a second, much larger site on Huashan Road near Anfu Road, but rapidly a third mini concession on the fifth floor of the IAPM!

Cutting to the chase and the only things you need to know. Their salted caramel ice cream is one of the best ice creams right now in Shanghai. Their cheese friand, leaves your hands soft and babylike with sheer ridiculous amount of butter they use. The brioche, enormous tanned abs that most of us will never have, is perfect to take home and make French toast. The Huashan location also has the benefit of being acoustically perfect too, (they really did consult with a sound engineer), so you can chat to your hearts content.

Find it: 888 Huashan Road, 华山路888号;

8am-8pm Everyday; No reservations

Peking Inn 满堂

There seems to be some degree of shock from recent reviews of Peking Inn, the latest addition to Jiashan Market’s long forgotten restaurant scene. Some are surprised that Beijingers aren’t gorging on whole roast ducks on a daily basis, how incredulous! The chun bing are good, but unlike a taco, designed by the chef so that every bite is experiential, balanced, nuanced, here you’re left to your own devices. The cocktails are potent but some have interesting names... Take Desert Storm for instance, which takes inspiration from China’s northwest and not from one of the largest military operations in the Gulf. Either way, there’s popping candy so you could be mistaken for the latter. I liked Peking Inn, it's unpretentious and inexpensive and I think after a practice round, my second visit will be on point.

Find it: 2F, 37A Jiashan Market, 259 Jiashan Road, 嘉善路259弄37A-2楼

5pm–1:30am Monday–Friday, Noon–1:30am Saturday & Sunday

021 5418 9093 for reservations