Top 5 Shanghainese Restaurants
With over 600 eateries in Hong Kong specialising in Shanghainese food, the popularity of the provincial Chinese cuisine is only second to Cantonese cooking. Its rich and slightly sweet flavours have stolen the hearts of many foodies and with the ever-changing dining scene in Hong Kong, we give you our top picks of the newer restaurants as well as some old favourites to find the best Shanghainese fare.
Ask any Shanghainese in Hong Kong and they will tell you that Lao Shang Hai is easily one of the best Shanghainese restaurants in town. This understated restaurant nestled in the basement of the Novetel hotel in Wan Chai has served classic Shanghainese dishes for the past 20 years. Follow the restaurant's old patrons and begin the meal with Longjing tea, and the signature starters of tea leaf-smoked eggs and jelly fish. When the hairy crab season begins in the autumn, Lao Shang Hai also imports some of the freshest crustaceans from Taihu in Jiangsu province. Also, be sure to try the old classics such as fried shredded mandar in perch meat and pork with red salted beancurd sauce that are best enjoyed with a bowl of plain noodle (yang chun noodle). Plain flour noodle in chicken soup, sprinkled with spring onion - this is one of the simplest, yet most delicious Shanghainese specialities.
Basement, Novotel Century Hong Kong Hotel, Wan Chai; +852 2827-9339.
For a taste of Shanghainese flavours with a twist, this is the place to go. The name of this intimate private kitchen (the Chinese translation of the French Concession) suggests a creative blend of Shanghainese roots and French savoir faire. Fa Zu Jie offers no a la carte menu, only a six-course tasting menu with intriguing dish names that will tickle your fancy; and truly well-executed foods that will leave you satisfied and kicking yourself for not having known of this restaurant earlier. One of our favourite dishes is the yellow croaker poached in buttery broth and edamame, while the Chinese rendition of the British dessert Eton mess is also not to be missed.
1/F, 20A D'Aguilar Street, Central; +852 3487 1715.
One of the oldest and most authentic Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong since its opening in 1985, Lu Lu is a branch of the renowned namesake restaurant chain that has outlets all over Shanghai and Beijing. Here you will find all the notable local delicacies from Shanghai such as sautéed river prawn and steamed freshwater fish in generous portions, with authentic flavours and reasonable prices. There is also a plethora of Shanghainese dim sum for your selection including the must-have steamed pork dumplings with hairy crab roe cream and a deliciously crispy Shanghainese spring roll stuffed to the brim with long cabbage.
Basement, South Pacific Hotel, 23 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai; +852 2831-1286.
For tourists who want to try the popular chain restaurant Crystal Jade but are put off by its long queues and no reservation policy, this upmarket branch in West Kowloon is the easy way in. Perched high on the 101st floor of ICC, Sky Crystal offers a more sophisticated dining environment with panoramic view of Victoria Harbour. Sky Crystal is perfect for tourists who want quality food as well as quality dining environment, the glorious view does come with a higher price tag, especially given its rather petite portion sizes. The good news is that the quality of its Shanghainese fare will not disappoint, especially the juicy xiao long bao, which is made here with Kurubuta pork. We also enjoyed the wine-flavoured egg, an interesting take on the more common tea-smoked eggs.
101/F ICC, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon; +852 2673 3839.
After a long day of shopping, when all you want to do is rest your feet and treat your palate to some delicious Shanghainese food, Yè Shanghai at Pacific Place mall is just the right place. While it is decorated in a modern interpretation of Old Shanghai and likes to play classic Shanghainese tunes, the view of bustling Admiralty below keeps it from being too clichéd. The restaurant has an enormous list of cold starters including its signature hua diao wine marinated chicken and sea cucumber with mild chili sauce. Another signature dish from the dim sum menu is the soup-infused steamed pork dumplings. Make sure to save room for dessert: we love the deep-fried egg white pastry, filled with red bean.
Want to try making the famous xiao long bao at home? The chef from Ye Shanghai in Kowloon teaches us how.
Shop 332 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 2376-3322.