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.
Shahla Salih owns Urban Thai. If she's not on Changle Lu slinging curry, you'll find her hitting up one of the following...
BBQ Pork Instant Noodles & Hong Kong Milk Tea at Cha's
"I read about this Hong Kong canteen when it first opened and the buzz was way too strong for me to pass up. What I LOVE about it is that it’s cheap, the food is consistently good, service is fast and it’s open till late, which for a night baby like me is essential. And though I always feel guilty ordering this -- it probably has 1,000 calories in it -- I can never go there without getting their Original Iced Milk Tea. To go with that, you can never go wrong with the BBQ pork instant noodles. Cha’s chicken curry, soy-braised chicken and sweet and sour pork are incredible too."
Chocolate Pudding at Whisk
"Another guilty pleasure of mine is Whisk. My first encounter was their amazing chocolate cupcakes. Back then, Shanghai didn't know good desserts, so tasting these was an true "Oh my god!" moment. It's been my go-to place for comfort food ever since. I must give props to the lovely couple who own this place.The staff have not been replaced since the beginning. How many places in town can you say that about? When I go, I order the salmon asparagus pasta. I've ordered it so much that they don’t bother asking me what I want any more. And it always ends with their warm chocolate pudding, which is an amazing contrast of hot pudding and vanilla ice cream with a large cookie on top."
Brunch at Madison
"I’m a late blooming fan on this place as I’m very particular about where I go for brunch. There are only two days a week when we can do it, so I like to make it count. It takes a lot to blow me away and what I love about the brunch here is that it’s affordable, everything comes out so ridiculously fresh. I haven’t even gone through half the menu yet but I’m so excited to go back to try the rest. Highlights for me at the moment are the blueberry pancakes, beef burger, deviled eggs with sides of fresh donuts (woah), cheese bread (double woah), and the piping hot chocolatine that lands on our table (holy cow!). See you Sunday!"
Japanese BBQ at Atomu
"I was invited to this place and was quite reluctant to try it as I’m not a big fan of all-you-can-eat restaurants. But at this place, you get to cook your own food. For 170rmb you can get wonderfully marinated lamb, tasty cuts of beef, loads of seafood, and even potato salad. In addition to the food, you get all the sake, beer, and plum wine you care to drink. A great way to start a Friday night."
Fatty Meat in Clay Pot at Bellagio
"The all-female staff wear identical pixie haircuts, giving the place a weird Stepford Wives quality, but I still love this place. I’m pretty fussy when it comes to fatty foods, but the Sichuan pepper-infused fatty meat in clay pot is just exceptional. Other dishes to order: gong bao ji ding, "three cups" chicken and if you’re craving mangoes, this place has them for dessert year round."
Xiaolongbao at Nanjing Tangbao Mala Tang
"This dumpling shop is open 24 hours a day, so it's my go to spot when I need a bite after a late night and for mornings when I'm hungry and in a hurry. And for six kuai a box, no other place in town even comes close. You can’t miss it. It's the only place in the area that's packed with locals and foreigners day and night."