Lisa’s Travels: Shanghai, China

A quick visit to Shanghai crammed with a ridiculous amount of noodles and dumplings.


In 2014 we spent a few days in Shanghai and really loved it. Can’t wait to go back. Here’s my Shanghai list, for what it’s worth:

We stayed at the Peninsula which we absolutely loved. Uber luxurious. Beautiful everything, great service and lovely breakfast.

The highlights for us were Untour Shanghai, the dumplings and noodles and the breathtaking view from the Bund.

Untour Shanghai offer some wonderful food tours. We really loved the street eats breakfast tour where we tried many different types of street food that (honestly) we would NEVER have been brave enough to seek out on our own.

One of the many highlights were the Xiao Long Bau at Jia Jia Tang Bao. These Shanghai soup dumplings are the most magical things. A dumpling with a chicken or pork filling along with a little hot soup all enclosed in the dumpling. We were taught that to avoid a burnt tongue and mouth, you need to pierce the top of the dumpling with your chopstick or teeth and gingerly suck out the hot soup, and only then can you pop the whole thing in your mouth.

Another highlight was the perfect Portuguese custard tart right at the end of the tour.

And we loved it so much that we signed up for an ‘oodles of noodles’ tour. We arranged a private ‘Untour Shanghai’ tour with some friends who were also in town and it was really fabulous and totally worth doing. But bring your appetite. We ate the most surprisingly delicious things in the history of surprisingly delicious things – peanut sesame noodles. Who would’ve thought?! If you don’t have time to do the noodle tour, at least go to Wei Xiang Zhai for the sesame peanut butter noodles. The absolute best. Then we saw some very talented noodle-makers make the most beautiful noodles from a lump of dough with their bare hands. No jokes. Bare hands. And we snuck in a visit to Mr Wu, for his O-M-G scallion oil pancakes – in fact Shanghai culinary expert Jamie Barys calls it a cult pancake. I think it is something that everyone should eat at least once in their life.

Check out Untour Shanghai’s website for tours as well as Culinary Backstreets for other restaurant/food ideas.


And also, while you are not busy eating noodles and dumplings you can do many other things:

A must-do in Shanghai is to have cocktails at a bar overlooking the mesmerising Shanghai skyline. It is breathtaking. And your photos will not do it justice. Our favourite outlook was from the Indigo hotel, where our friends were staying. It is quite a way up the Bund from the Peninsula but worth it.

There are many Jewish immigrants in Australia who arrived from Shanghai, most of them coming originally from Russia. The most talked about and popular Jewish tour of Shanghai is with Dvir from ‘Shanghai Jews’ who can be contacted through his website.  


We also enjoyed an authentic and fun Chinese hotpot restaurant, Hai Di Lao Huo Guo Hotpot, which, once you get the hang of how it all works, is a really interesting and delicious experience. And you can have a manicure while you wait for your table.

We found some very good, and, by our judging, the cleanest noodles and dumplings at Din Tai Fung. We went to the Portman branch and loved our meal there.


I don’t have anything exciting to report here as we were not blown away by anything. I must admit we were pretty stuffed after eating dumplings all day…but…here is my very limited report.

Mr and Mrs Bund – probably the best we tried. It is a fun, nice restaurant with great music and nice enough French-ish food.

Lost Heaven on the Bund – A bit touristy, with average Yunnan cuisine. There must be better Chinese restaurants in this town!

M on the Bund – We didn’t go, but was on my list.


Loved the power station of art. It was absolutely amazing. But of course it totally depends what’s on.


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Now for Something Sweet

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This is a wonderful and easy-to-bake and even easier-to-eat Romanian cheesecake loaf made with white cheese (farm or ricotta) and golden polenta. You just have to try it straight out of the oven with a dollop of sour cream - beyond delicious! Find the full recipe for our Romanian Malai from the kitchen of Debbie @delen_catering (which also appears in Now for Something Sweet) below.

3 eggs
230 g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) oil, plus extra for greasing
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) farm (or dry cottage) cheese, chopped
125 g (scant 3/4 cup) polenta
finely grated zest of 1/2 an orange or lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
sour cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a loaf tin generously.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and creamy.

With the mixer on low, pour in the oil and beat until combined. Add the cheese and beat well then add the polenta, lemon zest and salt.

Continue to beat until well combined. Don’t be concerned if you can still see lumps of cheese.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes .

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of sour cream.

Makes 1 loaf.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge..
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