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While Shanghai doesn't really have a well-known cuisine of its own, local chefs and restaurants have taken the opportunity to combine the best from around the country, and around the world; indeed, dining in Shanghai is a great opportunity for visitors to sample Chinese food of all kinds without having to leave the city.
Traditional Shanghai cuisine is known as , and tends to be sweeter than food from other Chinese regions, flavoured with sugar, vinegar, ginger and soy for a distinctive flavour. Whether dining in style at the chic hotel restaurants or stuffing your face at a roadside cart, tourists are spoiled for choice with delectable treats like (steamed soup-filled buns) and Shanghai hairy crab. The city's location at the mouth of the Huangpu River means fresh seafood is abundant, and the soy fields of the region provide the city's distinctive 'stinky tofu'.
Shanghai's food streets, some of the best of which are Huang He Lu, Yunnan Lu and Zhapu Lu, have a variety of cheap eateries, while flashier districts like the Bund and Luwan have pricier restaurants. Shanghai's major shopping malls all have food courts with many vendors offering everything from stir fries to dim sum for low prices, which is a great way to sample a variety of foods; the Megabite and Raffles City Mall are good places to start.
Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, and you'll find a number of good international restaurants serving Thai, Japanese, French, and other world cuisines. There are also a number of new international chain restaurants, whose prices tend to be higher than most local restaurants.
More expensive restaurants in Shanghai will generally accept credit cards, but street vendors and takeaways will expect cash. While hotel restaurants will sometimes include a 15% service charge, tipping is not generally practised in Shanghai.
Stiller's Restaurant and Cooking School
European / 7th floor, Building 13, 505 Zhong Shan Nan Road
Stiller's Restaurant is the most popular place in Shanghai to find fabulous European food. Whether it's cheeses from France or wines from Germany, the food is authentic European with a German twist. Located on the seventh floor of a building in the 'Cool Docks' area of Shanghai, the rooftop lounge has one of the best views in the city.
Din Tai Fung
Chinese / 123 Xing Ye Road
This Shanghai restaurant serves Chinese staples like wonton soup, sweet-smoky fried fish and braised bamboo shoots, but what it's known for is the best (steamed soup buns) in the city. They're roughly ten times what you'd pay at a street stall, but most who have tried them say they're worth it! Located in the Super Brand Mall, the walls are covered in watercolour sketches of famous Chinese celebrities. Din Tai Fung is a child-friendly restaurant, and even has special Mickey Mouse cutlery for kids.
Gastropubs / 1 Yue Yang Road (near Dong Ping Road)
If you're looking for a sports bar in Shanghai where you can have a pint and watch the game, The Camel is the best place in town. The restaurant is broken up into three viewing areas, so multiple games can be seen simultaneously on the 14 flat-screen televisions. The menu is standard gastropub, serving classics like fish and chips, steak, burgers and pies, and there's a good selection of beers and cocktails to go with them.