You can't discuss beer in Shanghai without talking about Jackie. He's the dude bringing beer culture at the grassroots level. Originally from Xinjiang, his shop in Shanghai's old Laoximen neighborhood is maybe 15 square meters of space but it's like 8,000 square meters of love. He keeps like 30 beers on draft, all of them rare, all of them cold. He also brews some of his own and gives out samples before saying he still has a long way to go. The vibe is communal and mostly local. On a recent Wednesday, I was drinking 'Yeastie Boys' beer with a research chemist for L’Oreal, a marathon runner, and a high school science teacher. Everyone is on the level and immediately becomes friends.
Originally we asked him to pick his five favorite bars that serve good food. Turns out Jackie doesn't ever really leave the nest or drink at other bars. So then we were like, "whatever man, just tell us some good restaurants, the more local the better." He delivered.
Note: Jackie's Beer Nest is not open until Monday, May 30. He's a busy dude.
1. La Rou Si Mian Guan (辣肉丝面馆)
"Traditional shanghai nong tang (弄堂) noodle. The most expensive noodle is 108rmb per portion. Just premium raw materials and cooking skill. During lunch, a few hundred people stand in line here. The boss has the worst service attitude in Shanghai city."
2. Guan Guan Ji Muslim Restaurant (贯贯吉穆斯林餐厅)
"Very traditional north western China cuisine, with lamb BBQ, boiled lamb, yogurt, cooked chicken, baozi, Muslim hotpot, very good staff service, big value, and delicious food. I strongly recommend eating dinner here after 8pm*. No alcoholic drinks."
Note: The place stays open until 4am and apparently the night chefs are on a completely different level. Something to do with the fact that 10pm in Xinjiang feels more like 5pm.
3. E Zhuang Xintiandi (鹅庄)
"Goose farm. Taiwan street cuisine. Very delicious and good price. I prefer the rice with stewed pork meat sauce, goose meat with glass noodle, the tea flavored goose meat, the pineapple and bitter cucumber, and the chicken soup. Service is nice and the dishes come out quick. Avoid lunch time. "
4. Er Guang Wonton (耳光馄饨)
"Er Guang means 'slap you in the face'. Shanghainese use this term to mean that the food is so tasty, that even if someone gives you a slap on the face, you'll keep eating. They've been cooking for nearly 20 years. Big value and open late. The vegetable and pork meat, the fried pork chop with local chili soy sauce, and beef soup are all my favorites."
Note: Jackie is talking about the original shop, but these pictures are from the new shop around the corner. The old one is about to close, but is still open from 6pm-3am for now.
5. Da Chang Mian (大肠面)
"Another legendary Shanghai street food place. Pork intestine is one of Shanghai's favorite foods, but it's very different to handle and cook. It must be tender -- no rubbery taste, no stench, not too sweet, not too salty. The real Shanghainese way to eat it is to add some spicy pork meat sauce (~浇头). They close for all of July every year when the owner goes to the Maldives. Lines are long."
Note: Answers have been edited for clarity.