- Old Jesse (老吉士酒家) for classic Shanghaiese cuisine, order the drunken chicken, red braised pork, fish head with 1/2kg scallions (must order in advance), river shrimp, Shanghai hairy crab with roe; reservations essential.
- Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, USD$1100pp total sensory experience; reservations essential.
- Yang’s Fried Dumplings (小楊生煎館), order shenjianbao.
- Jia Jia Soup Dumpling (佳家汤包 ), order xiaolongbao with crab roe (right across the street from Yang’s!!!).
- Xindalu China Kitchen (新大陸) at Hyatt on The Bund, order the Peking duck (must order in advance, but not as good as Beijing's rec), dongpo pork, crab in aged Shaoxing wine, drunken duck liver; reservations essential.
- Have your hotel concierge or local to hook you up with a "dinner with a farmer's family" - Usually somewhere in the countryside outside SH (Hangzhou area, in Zhejiang). You pay to dine at the home of a local family. The thought here is that farmer's have their own plot of land to grow stuff for the consumption of their families, free of pesticides (allegedly).
Beijing is one of my less-than-favorite cities in Asia. Crowded, polluted, not pedestrian friendly... But there are some standouts here, food-wise. BJers (I know, unfortunate abbreviation) pride themselves on being the capital city, which in turn is a representation of all regions of the vast Middle Kingdom:
- Made in China (Grand Hyatt): Best Peking duck, IMHO (better than the version at Dadong 大董鸭; Duck de Chine 全鸭季 is pretty great, but it's HK-style)
- Traitor Zhou's Kaifeng Nonkosher Delicatessen at Migas: Go, if for nothing else then just for that name alone!!! Seaweed bagels / charcuterie
- Mama de Weidao (妈妈的味道): Dumplings are solid
- Crescent Moon Muslim Restaurant: Dapanji (big plate of chicken), with hand-pulled noodles
- Haidilao Hot Pot (海底捞火锅): It's open 24/7 for Sichuan goodness, and the waiting is half the fun (shoes shines, board games, manicures, etc.).
- Tiandi Yijia (天地一家): Imperial-style dining. Be fawned over like the emperors of old.
- Qin Tang Fu: Shaanxi style
- Mr. Shi's Dumplings: Chinese tacos is the way I'd describe his specialty, fried triangular dumplings to be dipped in oils and vinegar
- TRB Bites: Less stuffy than TRB, but retains the flavor of the mothership TRB
Wishing you great bites in the Middle Kingdom...