There’s nothing like a winter chill that makes us seek out a steaming bowl of noodles. From time-tested, hole-in-the-wall institutions to hip mainstays, here are our favorite destinations for noodles in Shanghai
A Niang has long since been the go-to for locals seeking good noodles. It opens promptly at 11am, and the canteen is quickly filled with a line out the door. Most if not all are here for the yellow croaker noodles 黄鱼烩面 (RMB25). It’s a warming bowl of rich stock made from yellow croaker bones and soy sauce, the perfect base for chewy noodles and ample slivers of fresh, flaky white fish. Pair it with a bowl of pickled mustard greens 雪菜肉丝 (RMB5), a savory accompaniment with bits of pork flash fried with vinegar. Other must-trys include the fried eel noodles 爆鳝面 (RMB24) and crab meat noodles 蟹粉拌面 (RMB39).
Address: 36 Sinan Lu (near Nanchang Lu) 思南路36号 (近南昌路)
Wei Xiang Zhai is the go-to spot for sesame noodles 麻酱面 (RMB10). The restaurant runs like a machine and it’s hectic with people jostling for a place to sit, and no matter the time of day, you'll find a line snaking out the door. There's a method to finding a seat—hover. Wait for someone to vacate their seat and snap it up. Once you’ve found your perch, take your time. These spring noodles coated in creamy sesame paste sauce, lightly drizzled with chili oil need to be savored. Get a deep-fried pork chop 炸猪排 (RMB13), too, and add a splash of vinegar to it.
Address: 14 Yandang Lu (near Huaihai Zhong Lu) 雁荡路14号 (近淮海中路)
Those who have an affinity for “spare parts” would find Da Chang Mian the pinnacle for brined large intestine noodles (RMB23), served with soup or dry. The intestines are expertly cleaned until they’re chalk white before being brined and then topped onto gummy noodles. The flavors are as intense as you can imagine, but it’s worth it. You can also opt for the variation that has fried pork, braised kaofu (a type of spongy tofu) and black fungus mushroom 大辣烤拌 (RMB37).
It's possibly the best place to get large intestine noodles in Shanghai, drawing lines out the door. We got there at 11am and found a seat right away. It's also run by a fierce ayi, whose charm is all part of the experience. Da Chang Mian, like most other smaller noodle shops, close during the summertime, and reopen after the worst of the heatwave surpasses.
Address: 59 Fuxing Zhong Lu (near Ji’an Lu) 复兴中路59号(近吉安路)
This popular local eatery has been around since 1987. It’s a hole-in-the-wall chain that draws lines out the door and is known for their gargantuan portions. The specialty here is the spicy bullfrog noodles 牛蛙面 (RMB45) cooked with bright green chilies and preserved Chinese cabbage. It’s a saucy order with about two to three bullfrogs worth of meat, and the spice makes it absolutely satisfying. Share the experience with someone who appreciates the springy texture of bullfrog. They also have a braised large intestine noodle (RMB28) that's also pretty damned good. And guess what? It's open 24/7. Many locations throughout Shanghai.
Han Mama is also a well loved Taiwanese restaurant in Shanghai. And when it comes to beef noodles, Han Mama reigns supreme. And they have the bib gourmands, two years in a row, to prove it. They make their beef stock daily on a no-nonsense ethos of purified water and zero MSG, then skim the fat off. The result is a cleaner, milder rendition compared to your typical, street-side variety. Expect a rich beef stock, coupled with buttery tendon, tender brisket, and al dente noodles. Get the Half Tendon Half Beef Noodles (RMB58). Other must-orders include the sanbeiji (chicken stir-fry with basil, RMB58).
Address: 419-1 Xinhua Lu (near Dingxi Lu) 新华路419-1号 (近定西路)
Liu Dao Men is possibly listed in every "best Sichuan noodle" round up. There's a lot to love about this sensational little shop, from the friendly service to the freshly made chili oil. Their calling card is the Tianshui Mian 甜水面 (RMB8), a tiny bowl of chunky, chewy noodles tossed in a splash of sweet soy sauce, chili oil and crushed peanuts. It's a small but mighty bowl. Other must-trys include the dandan mian 担担面 (RMB8) and wanza mian 豌杂面 (RMB25)
Address: 328 Jianguo Xi Lu (near Xiangyang Nan Lu) 建国西路328号 (近襄阳南路)
Shanghainese restaurant Jianguo 328 is known for many things—the attention to quality, providing an MSG-free meal, using filtered water, and a long list of consistent signature dishes. In addition to their braised pork belly 红烧肉 (RMB58), stir-fried pork liver 酱爆猪肝 (RMB28), and Jiuxiang Caotou 酒香草头 (RMB28), the scallion noodles 葱油拌面 (RMB18) are among the most ordered dishes, and for good reason. These gummy noodles might seem plain, but give them a good toss and coat them in the scallion-fragrant oil and you'll understand. It's one heady bite after another. Just be sure to eat them while they're hot.
To be honest, "scallion noodles" should be a roundup on its own. We'll try to work towards an end for that.
Address: 607 Changle Lu (near Donghu Lu) 徐汇区长乐路607号 (近东湖路)
Yu Mian Guan is an excellent choice for Henan Lamian. This humble store is run by the Li family, from Henan province, making fresh hand-pulled noodles on the daily. Get the braised beef brisket noodle soup 红烧牛肉面 (RMB16/medium, RMB18/large). Fresh noodles are quickly cooked before entering this rich beef broth, heavily garnished with cilantro. While you're there, get the scallion noodles 葱油拌面, too, RMB8/medium or RMB9/large.
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