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End of the Queue: The Highway Pork Kebab
By | Photos Yiqing Zheng Mar 14, 2019 Dining
Zhangfa Canyin is a small window that seems to draw daily queues, often blocking up an already cramped stretch of sidewalk on West Yan’an Road. It makes it hard to navigate the pavement on a Mobike when you’re in a rush to get to work on time. The reason for the ruckus? The sizeable skewers of meat streaming out of the window, and the alluring aromas that follow them.

Closer inspection reveals a menu covering just three varieties of skewers and a further hint as to why the place draws crowds; a plaque in the window shows that they were highlighted in a food TV show in 2017 (though they have been going for about two decades).

The wait: A brisk 15 minutes at midday on a Sunday. The line gets long, but they aren’t doing anything too complicated at this hole-in-the-wall. They keep it ticking along nicely.

Shanghai"

The order: Four skewers; two pork tenderloin (里脊肉,5rmb each), one chicken heart (鸡心,2rmb), and one chicken stomach (鸡肫,2rmb).

Worth it? Sure! This is better than your average chuan (5,000+ reviews on Dianping), it’s cheap as hell, and the seasonings are spot-on. When brought back to the SmartShanghai office, they had every Shanghainese employee reminiscing about childhood skewer experiences. The five kuai pork ones are a good deal, and the chicken bits taste like very good versions of themselves if you’re into that kind of thing. Not worth a trip across town, perhaps, but worth taking the fifteen minutes to see what the fuss is about if you happen to wander past and need a snack.

Oh, and scan the Alipay QR codes at the window. I did and got a 10rmb hongbao that I used on my 14rmb order. Result.

Zhangfa Canyin, 955 Yan'an Zhong Lu, near Wuyi Lu.

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