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[Industry Nights]: Big E

Fast, cheap, and out of control. Chloe's big man on the grill Eric "Big E" Brown serves up a hefty helping of his favorite eats around town...
Last updated: 2015-11-09

Industry Nights is a semi-regular column featuring the haunts of chefs, restaurant owners, F&B managers, and other marginally sane people with good eating recommendations.

His mother may have named him Eric Brown, but we in Shanghai know him only as Big E, maker of sloppy, smoky baby back ribs and 12lb pizzas at Chloe's. He's prepared us a hefty helping of some of his favorite eats around town.


Several Locations

"What can I say? It’s all you can eat. Once in a while, you gotta round up the troops and head into an all-you-can-eat and drink sushi and sake night. For 185rmb each, it’s pretty good here. For the time spent eating here and what we can drink, it ends up being their whole staff standing around and waiting for us to finish. You know, giving us “that look.” Thank you, Fletch. You get big portions of steak when you order the ribeye. I mean, they bring a steak for each person. They are not stingy by any means, including sake and Asahi drafts. The problem is rolling ourselves out of there after 3-4 hours. May the Gods have mercy on our souls."

Carl's Jr


"When Carl’s Jr. first came to Shanghai, two things struck me. One, I immediately questioned how possibly could we have another bad attempt at American food, and fast food at that. Second, there were banners up all over the place, especially in front of Raffles City on Xizang Lu. The attracting signage was a pure tease for the first 2 months they were up. Finally, it opened and turned out to be pretty good, at least closer to American fast food than I’ve had here. Good burgers and they have the waffle fries and free BBQ sauce! Seating can get dicey on the weekends since it’s in the Raffles City food court and everyone uses their tables for other food. However, it’s great hangover cure. When you are finished, the Hershey's store is just upstairs for a chocolate shake or Twizzlers for dessert."

P.S. Dear Shanghai, WHERE THE HELL IS ARBY’S!!!???

Dolar Shop


"I love this hot pot. Everyone gets their own soup pot and you can pick from 12+ different soup bases. Everything seems to be pretty fresh here as well. Some of the items become unavailable if you have later reservations. I was there recently and they ran out of a few things, but it was the night before The Mooncake Festival and I’m sure they were closed the next day. I am a fan of the spiciest broth and sauces and it gets pretty warm. There is a buffet of fresh fruit and about 40 different sauces you can mix and match to your heart's content. It can become a bit pricy, but pay the extra rmb to avoid the risk of setting up camp in the bathroom for a week."

Fangbang Lu

Near the Yu Garden area

"For almost five years, I have been going for street food at Fangbang Lu, where Renmin Lu and Zhonghua Lu meet. Years back, I lived nearby. All I could see was this mass of people from my window eating well into the early morning and just visiting with each other. I took a few of my kitchen staff with me as I had just moved here. I have been there more than any restaurant in Shanghai. They’ve known me for years there and always welcome me with open arms. I usually have the Tu Dou Si, (shredded potato), Mapo Doufu, Wo Sun, (celery lettuce root), La Zi Ji, (spicy fried chicken), which for some reason tastes like Captain Crunch Berry cereal but it’s chicken. You can ask for as spicy as you want and bring your Chinese A-game because they speak no English. Only 'OK!'"

P.S. Sit on the right side of the street. You’ll see...

Nanxiang Mantou Dian


"OK, for me this is one of the best things I have ever eaten as a chef, or in my life. On any given day, if you dare and brave Yu Garden, and you have the patience for EVERY single person in Shanghai coming up to you and asking you if you want to buy a watch bag, ( I still haven’t seen a bag for watches), and still even more patience to wait in line over an hour for N.M.D’s xiao long bao, 小笼包,
I gotta tell you it is worth the wait. Yeah it’s a pain in the ass and the line is super long, but man are these things good. Kudos to Chef Sean Jorgensen for showing me 5 years ago. Good to know. I only have time to go on Sundays, so you all have been warned, the weekend will be even longer. If you have time, you can try to go upstairs and get a table. I mean hell, if you are gonna wait, might as well get the full experience of the place."