Shanghai is a city full of surprises, even for someone like me who was born and raised there. Each time I go back to my hometown, the “Pearl of the Orient” would reveal to me a different facet of itself – there are always new restaurants, speakeasies and boutique hotels. However, I keep heading back to a few places. If you want a taste of life in Shanghai like a local, head off to some of my all-time favourites.

Mao Long Restaurant

134 Jinxian Road, Huangpu District

 

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The hole-in-a-wall place, nestled in the bustling city centre, is one of the best-kept secrets of the locals. The menu features traditional Shanghainese home cooking. Some of my favourite dishes include red braised pork and yan du xian – a traditional soup with cured pork and bamboo shoots. The resturant has a strong celebrity following. Explore the neighbourhood too if you are interested in local stores and heritage architecture. 

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Jia Jia Tang Bao

90 Huanghe Road, Huangpu District

This is one of my favourite xiao long bao places in Shanghai. There’s always a queue outside, but it is definitely worth the wait. Make sure you try the ones with pork mixed with crab roe. The deep-fried dumpling shop Xiao Yang Sheng Jian opposite is also a locals’ favourite. 

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Vue Bar

32-33 Floor, Hyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Road

The bar has an amazing view of the Shanghai skyline and a jacuzzi on the roof top – need I say more? If you are looking to take a postcard picture of the scenic Shanghai skyline, you would definitely want to check this place out.

People 7

805 Julu Road, Huangpu District

 

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The restaurant and bar is not the easiest to find – it doesn’t have a store sign. You need to book in advance to get the password to enter the speakeasy-like establishment. There are also surprises awaiting in the dining area. The restaurant serves Asian fusion food and has a full bar.

Dong/Liang

184 Fumin Road, Jingan District

www.dongliangchina.com/

The fashion boutique is known for its selection of up-and-coming Asian fashion and accessories from designers such as Uma Wang, Sankuanz and Ms Min. It’s a must-visit for fashionistas who want to explore local designs.

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The Commune Social

511 Jiangning Road

www.communesocial.com

Created by British chef Jason Atherton and designed by Neri & Hu, the restaurant is located in a renovated heritage spot which used to be a police station. It has an alfresco dining area where you can bring your pets with you for brunch.

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