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.
Hong Kong native Lam Ming Kin is Chef de Cuisine of Jean Georges. He's been on JG's Shanghai team since its beginning in 2004. He's also served under JG in Vong and his namesake restaurant in New York. We hit him up for some some suggestions for late night eats and Cantonese comfort.
"I discovered this place nine years ago when I saw two traditional lanterns from the side walk. I just went in, and immediately became a regular. The skewer I always go for is the chicken meat ball, it is so juicy and flavorful! The Tokyo-style — soy base — ramen is true comfort food. There are only around 16 seats, which makes it quite a buzzing place. There are four seats at the counter. This is my favorite spot, because it gives you a chance to speak with the chef, who has been there forever. It’s open from 6pm until 2am, so it's perfect if you work a chef's hours."
"This is easily my favorite sushi place in Shanghai. It opened last year, and like Fukuchan I discovered it by chance when walking on Changle Lu. Chef Jin lived in Japan for a very long time and worked for the same group in Tokyo. His experience is priceless, and the fresh sashimi he offers is directly imported from Nagasaki, Japan. Be sure to sit at the sushi bar and observe the delicacy with which Jin prepares the rice balls before presenting the fish. You don't need to dip anything he makes in soya sauce; it's all seasoned with rock sea salt, bamboo-roasted salt or citrus-based sauces. My suggestion: go omakase style and let the chef compose the menu as he sees fit. You won't be disappointed."
"I was born and raised in Hong Kong, so this is my go-to restaurant for comfort food. I don't even feel like I'm in Shanghai when I'm here. They've got Hong Kong newspapers available to read and many of the staff actually speak Cantonese. It all helps me escape Shanghai for a while. I recommend the baked pork chop with rice, the "lo mien" with pork knuckle and the peanut butter and condensed milk toast. The Hong Kong-style milk tea is a must-try; they blend three kinds of teas with milk and a few secret ingredients."
"This tiny Japanese bar behind an unmarked door is difficult to find but worth the effort. The decor makes you feel immediately at home, the dimmed lighting with the couch-style bar chairs are just so comfortable. They make solid classic cocktails and have a great selection of plum wines in all kinds of flavors. From yuzu to blueberries, from lime to orange, anything to suit your mood. They also have a very decent selection of whiskeys, both European and Japanese. Every time I go, I’ll try a different one. All are good, so it is difficult to pinpoint a favorite. They've got some great little snacks, too. The Korean spicy noodles with egg and cheese are a must-try guilty pleasure. I always get an order to go with my drink. I've got to say it also helps that the bar is run by two very cute and friendly girls — always welcoming after a hard night's work."
"To me, this is an authentic Cantonese restaurant. All the classic dim sum are outstanding. The chef is from the Chinese restaurant at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong (it has three Michelin stars). Even the egg white fried rice is spectacular. The charsiu (Cantonese style bbq pork) is the best I've had in shanghai. The lobster yifu noodles are also a must-try. Just be ready to bust your wallet. The prices are expensive but totally justified by the quality of the products and the authenticity of the flavors."