You remember the Farine scandal back in 2017? Read that article, as well as this one. All caught up! Following his suspended prison sentence in February, French media are reporting (in French, duh) that Laurent Fortin, the pastry chef consultant who had been at Farine for about four months when the scandal hit, has been allowed to leave China. That marks the end of nearly two and a half years on probation, including ten months in prison. He reportedly returned to France on November 29. Home in time for Christmas. Still no word on Franck Pecol, the owner of Farine who wasn't in China at the time of the arrests.
The air's getting nippy, wool caps are starting to come out of the wardrobe and I'm starting to be able to see my own breath. That means just one thing. Hot. Chocolate. Delivery. Motherhubarrrrrrrrrrrrrrd. I drank enough of it last year to send me into withdrawal for a week and I've been waiting all year to do it again, except more. So this week, I had Ele.Me deliver me nine hot chocolates in the space of one hour. (Obviously we don't advocate ordering a single cup of hot chocolate and being a wasteful suck on the environment: ORDER FOR EVERYONE.) Which one reigns supreme?!
Ge Lao Guan does one thing well: frog. The branch on Dingxi Lu, near the fake pandas crawling all over that exoskeleton cage, draws a huge line every day of the week. So we went. And waited, for 90 minutes on a Tuesday night, for their boiled amphibians. How was it?
What happens when you throw a couple Turkish guys, two massive wood-fired smokers, hundreds of kilos of meat and a hip location together? Weird stuff. That's what's happening right now down at Zhongshan Huanyuhui, the open-air mall south of Xintiandi on Madang Lu. The people behind Garlic, the Turkish restaurant, paired up with some Turkish friends, went to Texas, took some classes, came back and installed two giant steel submarines in the middle of their restaurant. Things haven't exactly come out as planned.
The Wagas empire is dabbling in mock meat. They recently began serving OmniPork at their restaurants, one dish each at Wagas, Baker & Spice , Funk & Kale and Lokal . Hong Kong's OmniPork, “pork” made from shiitake mushrooms, peas, soy, and rice, is probably just the beginning of a meatless meat wave in mainland China. In addition to the country’s own rich heritage of mock meats, western brands Impossible and Beyond Meat are also trying to get into China. Justegg is already here . So is vegan sushi . Anyway, I went to all four stores to try all four dishes. Do you need them in your life?
The turkeys have been defrosted, the cranberries are ready be de-tinned, and the stuffing is about to get stuffed. Thanksgiving is happening this Thursday, and if you have not been invited to someone's attempt to cook a turkey in a toaster oven, then maybe leave it to the professionals. Like these places.
Nooooooo. During a recent pass by Sinan Mansions, we noticed that Fatburger, hands down the best burger in Shanghai according to anyone with taste, has apparently closed. The lights are on, but no one's home, and the phone's suspended. With the closure of the one in Shanghai Tower, this latest catastrophe brings Shanghai's grand total of Fatburgers to a big, fat zero. After a shaky roll-out when it opened back in 2016 that included chronic shortages of milkshakes, the California chain recently disappeared off delivery platforms entirely. That's not entirely unwarranted; Fatburger has a track record of not having a goddamn clue how to handle delivery (the plan seemed to be surviving exclusively on Sherpas users), but in retrospect, that should probably have been a red flag.
Now, it hasn't been confirmed that Fatburger is permanently gone. It could just be under some savage, savage renovation. But either way, there's no more Fatburger to be had in Shanghai for now. Possibly forever. Baby Jesus, let it just be renovation. What the fuck am I supposed to order in the meantime? Burger King? Shake Shack? Habit?
Camden Hauge is a presence around town. She is the owner/operator of Egg, Bird and Bitter, all western restaurants. But now. Now she has opened a tiny shopfront Thai place on Yongkang Lu named KIN, trying to do something different than the usual stoplight curries. I went over the weekend. The restaurant was packed. The food? It's... a work in progress.
Fans of mid-tempo house music, black bean dip and beanbag pillowchairs will find reason to rejoice: Moka Bros is expanding to Jing'an. I will concede they have nice lemon iced tea and outdoor seating at the original location. It's all part of the total revamp of 1788 Plaza's basement food court and first floor retail tenant mix, which was much needed. It's still in progress — Moka Bros 2 will likely open this month — but a few options are open in the basement (a decent Neapolitan pizza place; a Changsha black stinky tofu and street snacks shop; tonkatsu; Xiao Yang's) and the hoarding is up for a new Baker & Spice and, intriguingly, a restaurant named Botanica. This is the building just across Nanjing Xi Lu from Wheelock Square and what used to be 10 Corso Como. Put it on your radar.
Celebrity-owned shops seem to be the rise than ever before, since the opening of Jay Chou’s overhyped bubble tea shop in late September this year. This time, it’s JJ Lin, the mandopop singer and songwriter, who has opened his Miracle Coffee shop in Shanghai, the first in mainland China. Naturally, it’s upstairs from his fashion store, Smudge.
The potato buns have found the ferry. That's right, Shake Shack has expanded to Pudong, with their salt-beef-umami bomb burgers and crinkly crinkly crinkle-cuts. Shake Shack Lujiazui opened this morning next to the iconic Apple store right there across from the Pearl Tower, in the sunken circle. As they do, they have introduced two new Concretes (ice creams): the Pudong Pick-Me-Up (iced coffee, mascarpone, cocoa powder, chocolate chunks and lady fingers) and the East Bank Blueberry (blueberry jam, fresh strawberries, butter biscuits). That makes three Shacks in the city — but still no delivery. Still waiting, Shack Masters, still waiting...
Eating alone gets a bad rap. But it doesn’t have to be lonely, or sad, or shameful. And now you can enjoy your own company while eating Japanese BBQ. Yakiniku King
has introduced the idea of an individual grill and sets for one all at once, opening three stores this month alone. Two are in Jing’an. One, which we went to, is in Minhang.
Big life changes for Ramen Boy! The instant noodle bible is back, and this time it has its own place to live. Ramen Boy used to just be this stocked shelf of instant ramen packets in Taiwanese eatery Bistro Bonbon, operating during the day. Run by an insatiable ramen fan, who has allegedly tried 300 different kinds when last we checked, and at one point ate instant noodles every day for two years, it seems the ramen venture has become promising enough to spin off into its own thing on Xikang Lu.
We are what we eat and what we are is faaaast. Let's blow through these quickly, our bodies will thank us for it later; Joe's Pizza is opening a new spot behind IAPM mall, in a much delayed development that's going to see a second Co. Cheese (hallelujah) and a Tim Hortons. Expect that within two? three? weeks.
A little further north, we have a new Shake Shack in Kerry Centre. Not even a whisper of a queue! Can't predict the same will be true for the Shake Shack set to open in Lujiazui.
Taco Bell tidings! The national cuisine of sad gassy white men has opened it's sixth location, the furthest west yet. Changning residents, who loves ya?
Can we mention Brothers Kebab in the same breath as Taco Bell? They've also opened their sixth location. Also, their Fengxian Lu location has reopened after renovations, pushing the storefront back and adding a sweet little front courtyard.
If you live south of Yan'an Lu, you might've noticed your deliveries from Boom Burger are coming a bit faster. You all order from Boom Burger, right? Local chain, like if wax figurines of the Colonel and Ronald McDonald's breakfast menu melted together. Anyway, it's going faster because they're now delivering waimai out of the kitchen at Chez Louis. So that's weird!
Roji Monster is a Japanese-inspired, hyped-up dessert café from Taiwan. It just opened its first shop in Shanghai. People are lining up for it. The main attraction here are the 52rmb shaved ice desserts with googly eyes that look like Yip Yips from Sesame Street. Cute and Instagrammable!
Sandwich knowledge is a never-ending quest in Shanghai. Over the years, many have come and gone. Keeping up with who does what with which bread and whose meat is a dedicated job I wish someone would do for me. Until that happens, I will continue to contribute my finds. The latest? Totino Panino, hidden behind the Metro station entrance on Changshu Lu, the culmination of one man’s dream to finally quit his corporate job and cook, even if it took until he was 50. Sandwiches change lives!
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