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AYO. White Castles open! Puff, puff, pass!
2017-07-17 16:18:57
On the Radar is a SmartShanghai column profiling new restaurants, bars, and other new places you might like to know about. Sometimes we stumble across these venues and sometimes... we are invited. As such, these are our first impressions and not a formal review.

Burger Shack Employee: Ding-dong! May I interject for a second? As a Burger Shack employee for the past three years, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that if you're craving White Castle, the burgers here just don't cut it. In fact, just thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers with those little, itty-bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one, just makes me want to burn this motherfucker down. Come on, Pookie, let's burn this motherfucker down! Come on, Pookie! Let's burn it, Pookie! Let's burn this motherfucker down! Let's burn it down! Let's burn it! [calms down]

So you guys maybe should just suck it up and go to White Castle.


That’s from the movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. It’s a stoner comedy from the directory of Dude, Where's My Car?, which is basically the same movie.

Writing for PopSugar, Maggie Pehanick, calls Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle 
“a classic comedy for those born of a certain generation.” Which is like saying “people who like this movie, really like this movie for some reason.” White Castle likes this movie. White Castle also likes a few other pop culture references they’ve managed to accrue since opening their doors to the American public back in the 1920s, selling them sliders for a nickle.

White Castle factored into a scene in Saturday Night Fever, they get big up-ed in a Beastie Boys song, and yes, they have their very own movie that somewhat surprisingly has a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is all information you don’t need to know but is playing on a constant loop in a video in the currently soft open White Castle on Maoming Nan Lu. This dude is also in it. He’s definitely born of a certain generation, isn’t he? Looks like a sentient Sony Walkman. Think he’s going to be my new convenience store ice cream rating scale. RIP Debra.


Let’s eat some sick-ass White Castle then.

If you’re not from the eastern US, which is where most of the burger chain’s market is, White Castle’s claim to fame is the slider — little square mini hamburgers coming in a few different permutations. Time magazine called them the most influential hamburgers of all time. An accolade indeed. They only do sliders, with, so far, three variations of meals — 42rmb for a three-slider meal (choose between Original, Cheese and Spicy Tofu), 48rmb for a three-slider meal (Original, Cherry Blossom Slider), 52rmb for a two-slider meal with double patties. Feels... expensive. They are also available a la carte for between 13rmb (“The Original Slider”) to 26rmb (“The Double Cheese Slider”). The also do crinkle fries, chicken rings, and the obligatory fountain drinks.

Despite their unusual size and shape, the most direct comparison of a White Castle burger one can make is to a McDonalds single burger without the ketchup. White Castle is similar to McDick’s. Or rather, it goes the other way — McDick’s is similar to White Castle. White Castle was the originator of the fast food burger model, McDick’s just took it to its horrific, baffling conclusion. While McDick’s has rolled out all kinds of new recipes and burger variants to stay relevant over the years, White Castle has kept it simple for the last century. There are a few different sliders but in the end these are very, very, very simple burgers. A super fluffy bun (fluffier than McDonalds), some American cheese (thicker than McD’s), some grilled onions, a pickle, and a thin patty. That’s it. It’s China, so they’ve got a spicy tofu one and a “Cherry Blossom Slider”, which is duck! And quite good! Chicken is not on the menu yet. Alas.

Cherry Blossom Slider

Spicy Tofu

For some people White Castle is a nostalgic thing; for some it’s a certain ineffable simplicity -- that onion-y taste. For others the restaurant is a special trip because it’s a bit rarer than other fast food chains. You don’t see these everywhere. And for others still (of a certain generation), it’s an occasion for celebratory, massively stoned gluttony. With the sliders portions, it feels custom-made for a grotesque YouTube eating challenge video. They have a “Crave Crate” option which is 100 sliders for 999rmb.

Holy shit, that’s going to be a terrible article to write. Can’t wait.

WhatEVer DUDE Just Shut Up Already and Tell Us Everything We Need to Know About Getting Some White Castle Right Now

The White Castle on Maoming Lu is soft open right now. Yes, right now. 10am to 10pm. Yes, in Shanghai even White Castle has a “soft opening”. They have a grand opening party on Thursday. Did you get your invite? It’s black tie. Give the one in Raffles City in Changing a week or two. Not open yet. But yeah. If you’re a fan of the idiom — just-try-to-stop-us American Fast Food — you’ll want to be checking this out.

But yeah. Tell you some shit you DIDN’T know, right? Dude?


White Castle is at 221 Maoming Bei Lu, near Weihai Lu.