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.
Did you know that there are actually restaurants in Shanghai that serve Chinese food? Yeah! We're not kidding! The Indigo Hotel's Food and Beverage Manager Ethan Tian takes us on an eating tour outside the expat bubble...
"Xuyi Xiongdi is one of my favorite places to eat in the summertime. The place is renowned for its crayfish for one reason and one reason only: freshness. Unlike all of those stands on Shouning Lu, these guys cook their crayfish to order. After you place your order, your waiter fishes your crayfish out of a tank, takes them back to the kitchen and before long they come out red hot and delicious."
"Haidilao is one of the most famous hot pot restaurants in Shanghai. I'd be hard-pressed to suggest a favorite thing to eat; it's all really good. What really sells this place for me, though, is the service. These guys really take it to the next level. As you wait for your table they'll actually tend to you polish your nails, clean your mobile phone, washing your glasses. They'll even give you a neck massage. I particularly like that service because I only eat here after I've been on the floor at work all day. What's more, the place is open well into the wee hours."
"Fuxing Hui opened just over a year ago on Fuxing Lu and I've been a regular pretty much ever since. It's got all the makings of a great Shanghainese restaurant: a quaint French Concession location, classy decor, and truly authentic food. It's so versatile, too -- as great for intimate dates as it is for large groups of friends. My favorite dish here is without a doubt is the hongshao rou. Yeah, I know it's a predictable recommendation for a Shanghainese place, but it's just so good."
"Hai Jin Zi is tiny and not much to look at. But once the food comes out, none of that matters anymore. This place does amazingly authentic Shanghai cuisine. It's the kind of stuff that every Shanghainese person's grandmother used to feed them when they were young. Everything here is excellent, but here are a few dishes you absolutely have to try: the soy sauce duck, pickled tofu and morning glory, and, of course, the youbao xia, or wok-fried river shrimps. The only downside is the long queue out the door. Rest assured, though, it's worth the wait."
"Thanks to Xindalu at Hyatt on the Bund, I don't have to fly all the way to Beijing when I crave real Beijing roast duck. This place does one of the best, if not the best in the city. Their beggars chicken is quite excellent too. You'll need to order both, so be sure to bring lots of friends. I also love the open kitchen here. It's just one of those things about being in the industry, I guess. Even when I'm off the clock, I absolutely have to see what everybody is doing in the kitchen."