Best for street food
Yu Gardens — with its pavilions, shaded pools and camera-wielding tourists — is one of the city’s top attractions. But when your belly’s rumbling and you can’t hack the crowds any longer, make a beeline for the adjacent Yuyuan Market and brave a clutch of local dishes, from shenjianbao (pan-fried pork buns) and congyoubing (spring onion pancakes), to xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), and doushabao (red bean buns).
Best for breakfast
There’s a Chinese saying in Shanghai that there are four ‘kings’ (must-haves) for breakfast — and you can find them almost anywhere in the morning. There’s da bing or crispy pancakes, youtiao (deep-fried breadsticks), cifan (glutinous rice balls wrapped with pickled vegetables or egg), and dou jiang (a tofu-like soup made with sweet or savoury soya milk).
Best for high-end
For a brasserie-style spot with French personality, Mr & Mrs Bund, on Bund18, is a must-try. Go for the black cod in a bag, and the lemon tart. Mercato, meanwhile, is a stylish Italian with plenty of exposed steel, iron and glass, located on Three on the Bund. Don’t miss the kingfish carpaccio.
Best for a midnight snack
For food with a view, try Flair at the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, local chain hotspot Haidilao or late-night street food on Huoshan Road. And for a cold beer, there’s no better people-watching spot than Yongkang Lu — Shanghai’s expat dive bar street.
Published in the October 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)