Shanghai life is peppered with delivery services like Eleme and Baidu Waima, but the only thing really catered to the laowai population is Sherpa's. Or so you think. There are actually tons of meal-delivery services that are expat-friendly, here are ten that we like.
Mint's (pictured above) does next-day delivery Sunday through Thursday (6am - 9pm) on their variety of chef-cooked meals. Focusing on healthy, sustainable food, the company uses ingredients that are in-season and sourced right from the farm. Options include chicken pesto penne, pastrami beef salad, and Norway salmon and curry Thai rice. Currently they are limited to only nine menu items that range from RMB39 - RMB49, but are looking to expand on the options in the future. Ordering is completed through their WeChat account, where meals display calorie and nutrition information.
What: Better Bentos
Launched back in April in partnership with Sproutlifestyle, Better Bentos crafts healthy, whole-food and super-food based meals (no flour, white sugar or MSG!) that are not only delicious but nutritionally-balanced. Beautifully packaged, their bentos are available for eat-in or immediate pick-up at their two locations. They deliver within a 3-km radius, but if you're located farther off, orders can be made via Sherpa's.
RawkFit is a fitness-based food delivery service, offering tailor-made, macro-nutrition oriented meals. Macro-nutrition focuses on tracking the intake of the macronutrients - fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Every day, the company provides up to three custom made, chef-prepared meals that are based on the individual's dietary needs. The meals are delivered to either your doorstep or office.
When ordering, you fill out basic exercise intensity and personal characteristics to calculate your nutritional needs and get matched with a meal program. Prices for a three-meal-plus-snack-daily package range from about RMB150 to around RMB300 depending on calorie needs. It is up to you to decide how many and what types of meals per day you prefer.
Launched in 2015, Saucepan offers healthy chef cooked, low-calorie, ready-to-eat dishes. They also have gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. All meals are delivered chilled, to maximize freshness, and contain serving instructions. Ordering can be completed either via their website or through their WeChat. Simply select the meals that you would like, then choose a delivery time (between 10am-9pm on the hour).
Salads and regular bowl meals, such as the Farmer’s Joe (quinoa, roast beef, spinach, and more), cost around RMB50 - RMB60. You can also add on a healthy drink, like wheatgrass lemon juice, or small snack to certain bowls to make a complete meal for RMB60 - RMB80.
What: Wheat Healthy Eatery
Wheat Healthy Eatery is a health-oriented restaurant that offers delivery and in store dining. The restaurant is focused on long-term health and offers meal types that cover breakfast to dinner, and provide for gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, and ketogenic diets. Specific meals include sweet potato pancakes (RMB40), chicken whole-wheat pasta (RMB69), and cod fish and eggplant feta puree (RMB129). All meals list calorie, protein, and carb information.
The restaurant hopes, in the future, to incorporate a customizable meal where individuals can craft their own dishes based on calorie and protein levels. Delivery is done through their WeChat store.
Photo from website
Nosh specializes in health-based Western cuisine. Meals vary and include salads, smoothies, sandwiches, soups, breakfast options, and lunch entrees. The company attempts to use organic ingredients as much as possible, while still maintaining reasonable prices, with most falling under the RMB40 - RMB60 range.
Delivery can be completed on their website by selecting which meals you want. It can also be done through their delivery hotline. Delivery times can run from 30 minutes during slow business periods, to over 45 minutes during busier times.
Wattz is a restaurant that strives to supply health-focused foods through both at-location dining and through delivery. While not a vegetarian restaurant, they offer a wide selection of vegetarian dishes alongside many salads, soups, wraps, pastas, meat dishes, brunch meals, and Asian inspired meals. The company only serves Australian beef and naturally-raised chicken.
Accompanying the meals is a large assortment of drinks, including various teas, coffee-based drinks, shakes, smoothies, many fresh juices and detox drinks. All main dishes are about RMB50, brunch dishes are all RMB68, and drinks are about RMB25. To order, call their number.
What: Element Fresh
This restaurant chain has been serving salads, sandwiches and Asian-inspired lunch and dinner dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients since 2002. Their popular health-focused menu and numerous store locations make them a good delivery option. The delivery times begin at 9am and end at 10pm. The menu includes an assortment of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes.
Some dishes include a classic cobb salad (RMB95), seafood linguine with spicy tomato sauce (RMB99), and Australian beef stir fry with spicy chili sauce. Pricing in general ranges from RMB60 to RMB120. As there is a wide range of locations, delivery is relatively quick, and takes approximately 40 minutes.
Pure & Whole is a vegetarian dining restaurant that serves a range of plant-based, health focused foods. Their meals are available at their four locations spread throughout the city and also through delivery. Menu items include various salads, soups, wraps, pastas, burgers, and more. Starters hover around RMB40, and entrees average about RMB70. In addition to their vegetarian principles, they don’t use MSG or any other additives.
To complement their foods, the restaurant offers a diverse, but rather costly, range of drinks including a detox drink and some mixed juices, for around RMB30. Unfortunately the restaurant does not have their own delivery system, but food can be ordered through three channels - Sherpa's, Baidu, or Daojia.
What: Organic Kitchen
Organic Kitchen strives to provide wholesome meals through their restaurant and their continued delivery service. As a way to incorporate environmentally-friendly methods into the business, they purchase their products from organic growers - all their chicken are free-range and antibotic-free, and all items have zero MSG and no preservatives.
Catering to both Asian and western styles, menu items include Indian yellow chicken curry (RMB65), pasta a la bolognaise (RMB65), various soups and salads, and also breakfast items. They are working on their own service, but in the mean time delivery is made through Mealbay.
At Sproutworks you can choose and mix and match from daily salads, panini sandwiches, soups, proteins and, best of all, a great, fresh selection of sides. Now they also cater for those who cannot necessarily be bothered to get up off the couch but still want a healthy meal. Sproutworks delivers from all of their five locations, via JSS. Just keep in mind, for delivery your order needs to be a minimum of RMB100.
D’lish is a small and completely vegan that focuses on fresh and healthy ingredients. They also brew their own sliming enzyme drinks making it a great partner to your salad. Perfect for those on the go, you can order from them in a number of ways. They only deliver up to a 3km radius and charge an RMB8 fee. If you order through Linghaoxian, you need to spend a minimum of RMB39. They deliver up to 6km, where 3km or less is free and anything above that there is a fee.