Shanghai Healthy Eats

Shanghai is so ridiculously amazing when it comes to food and restaurants. It’s so easy to accidentally let your eating get out of hand, haha! Luckily, restaurants with healthy concepts have been popping up for a while now, making it easy and fairly affordable to eat consciously. Home cooking is of course an option, but when you’re short on time, it’s just hard to resist eating out or ordering take-out, especially when it’s often cheaper than buying ingredients for the things I like to cook myself.

Here are a few of my favorites for delicious healthy Shanghai eats:

1. Topping the list is Wheat Healthy Eatery. I used to only get home-delivery from Wheat (not that that’s a bad option), as their restaurant was located a bit off from where I live in the French Concession. Then, a couple of months ago, came the best news ever: Wheat was opening a second branch in the hot corner of Fumin Lu and Changle Lu, only minutes away from my house! This has been my new everyday lunch and hangout spot since the soft opening a few weeks back (so much that I now call it “the office”). The interior is gorgeous, making it such an inviting and nice space to meet up friends or get some work done.

Some of my favorite dishes at Wheat are 1) black rice and salmon protein bowl, 2) beetroot hummus with veggie sticks, and 3) grilled salmon + brown rice, broccoli & cherry tomatoes from the Create your own -option. And the Immunity booster juice is fantastic. Simple dishes, quality ingredients. Perfect.

Wheat Shanghaista

Wheat

Wheat Shanghaista

2. Another big, big healthy favorite of mine is Little Catch, which is a friendly urban fishmonger and poke shop on Wulumuqi Lu in the FFC. The super cute little place is run by two sisters from Hong Kong who are third generation fishmongers, selling high quality seafood and Hawaiian Poke bowls. I love their Classic Hawaiian Salmon poke bowl for lunch, and I often pick up some salmon for home cooking or sashimi. (Can you tell that I love salmon??) The food is consistent, and the fish and seafood always safe and fresh.

3. A third healthy and satisfying option is Sproutworks. With a few locations around town, Sproutworks has a great variation of soups, sandwiches, salads, healthy sides, grains and proteins that rotate daily, and can be mixed and matched pretty much in anyway you like. I go for the healthy sides, tossed salads and proteins, which are very filling, fresh and tasty. Highly recommended!

What’s your favorite healthy spot in Shanghai? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @shanghaistablog.

Cheers for the weekend!

The perfect weekend

Wow, what a weekend! Blue skies and beautiful summer in Shanghai. Plus it was my birthday, wohoo! Robert scored points big time and organized a bunch of b-day surprises for me, which rounded up to be one of the best weekends in town so far. In need of tips for a good night out? Keep on reading or contact Robert directly :) 

Drinks at Flair Rooftop Bar
Rooftops on warm summer nights are one of my favorite things ever. Robert kicked off Saturday night in style by taking me up to Flair, Ritz-Carlton’s swanky rooftop bar on the 58th floor in downtown Pudong. We had an amazing table and watched the sunset with a breathtaking view of the Pearl Tower, the river and Puxi. Things got even better when Hello Kitty and a bunch of our friends showed up to celebrate with us. It was perfect!

flair rooftop shanghai expat blog

flair rooftop ritz carlton shanghai expat blog

flair rooftop ritz carlton shanghai expat blog

Dinner at Tepito
I looove Mexican food. If I had to choose only one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be a tough battle between Japanese and Mexican. (And I’m talking real Mexican, not Tex-Mex. Big difference!) Anyway, after some lovely drinks over in Pudong, the whole crew headed back over the river to Tepito in the Former French Concession, a new Mexican restaurant in the corner of Fumin Lu and Changle Lu. We had ceviche, tacos and margaritas, all of which were super tasty and fresh (the ceviche was amazing!). I didn’t manage to take too many pictures from our dinner (my attention was purely on eating), but I did get a snap of the leftovers of my birthday cake. Looks like a blob-monster, but it was delicious!

tepito shanghai expat blog

Saturday night continued around the corner at the popular club Le Baron. We keep ending up at Le Baron on most nights out, even if we swear every time that this will be the last. It was too much fun like always, which led to a lovely, yet slightly slow Sunday.

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Spa deluxe at Flare
There are spas, and then there is Flare. Oh what a place. Robert treated me to a Sunday evening of pampering at the 41st floor super-spa of the Pudong Four Seasons. It’s the same spa that James Bond hangs out at in Skyfall, so obviously it’s gotta be good! We had massage treatments in one of the beautiful spa suites, and went on to get even more relaxed at the gorgeous infinity pool and the saunas. The view and facilities are just spectacular. This place should have totally been on my bucket-list, it’s that good!

four seasons shanghai expat blog

four seasons shanghai expat blog

four seasons spa shanghai expat blog

four seasons spa shanghai expat blog

Thank you friends for an awesome birthday weekend. And an even bigger thank you to Robert, you made it magical. What an amazing husband you are. <3

Have a good week guys, and remember to follow Shanghaista on social media!
Facebook: @shanghaista
Instagram: @shanghaistablog

Sichuan Citizen – Foreigner Friendly Sichuan Food

A few years ago I had a unique opportunity to live in Chongqing for a year, one of China’s megacities that not many outside of China have ever heard of. Today Chongqing is one of China’s four direct-controlled municipalities together with Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, but it used to be a part of Sichuan Province, which means that delicious (and crazy spicy) Sichuan food is everywhere. So when I heard about the wildly popular restaurant Sichuan Citizen here in Shanghai, I couldn’t wait to try it out and see if it could measure up to the “real” Sichuan food that I was used to.

Well, all in all it was a nice meal and a good experience! The restaurant is very cozy and has a nice, loungy vibe. Robert and I went on a Wednesday night around 7pm with no reservations, and we had no problem getting a table right away (I’ve heard that it’s always packed, but it was only half full when we visited). We ordered four dishes to share:

  • Sliced beef with soba noodles, chili and scallions
  • Kung pao chicken (probably the most famous Sichuan dish: diced chicken with peanuts and dried chilies)
  • Fried green beans with ground pork and chili
  • Lettuce with sesame dressing

Fried green beans with ground pork is one of my all-time favorite Sichuan dishes, and Sichuan Citizen did not let me down – it was amazing! I also really liked the soba noodles and lettuce with sesame dressing. The kung pao chicken was fresh and had a very good flavor, but the pieces of chicken were not very “meaty”, a bit disappointing. All dishes except the lettuce were marked with only one out of three chilies in the menu, but my mouth was burning pretty good! So be careful with the two-three chili dishes if you’re not used to spicy food, and make sure you have plenty of beer to help put off the fire in your mouth.

Would I recommend Sichuan Citizen? If you like spicy Chinese food, then definitely yes! Btw this place has a huge menu with plenty of vegetarian options as well. Happy eating!

Address: 30 Donghu Lu (near Huaihai Lu and IAPM mall) 东湖路30号 (近淮海中路)

Sichuan Citizen Shanghai

Sichuan Citizen Shanghai

Sichuan Citizen Shanghai

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I ♥ Xiaolongbao

Chinese food, as I’m sure you’re aware of, is pretty famous all over the world. However, the food served in China often tastes and looks very different from the Western version that so many of us are used to. The real deal also varies A LOT depending on where you are within China, as different regions have very different styles and specialities.

One of Shanghai’s famous specialities is something called Xiaolongbao – the steamed soup dumpling. And they are frickin amazing.

Xiaolongbao at its best has a thin, almost translucent skin made of flour, and is stuffed with a juicy filling of your choice (my favorites are ground chicken and pork) which then forms a soup inside the dumpling as it’s steamed in a bamboo steamer basket. They are served hot in their steamer basket and can be dipped in some vinegar and/or soy for extra flavor. The taste is sooo juicy and savory.

I’ve been going nuts with xiaolongbao since I got here, and if you are in Shanghai you just have to try them! But I’m warning you, they will leave you with some serious cravings.

The best restaurant so far for soup dumplings is the popular Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung. Their heavenly xiaolongbao is a lot pricier than at hole-in-the-wall places, but I’d say the quality and taste definitely makes it worth it. 10 pieces of xiaolongbao with pork filling will cost you around 60 CNY, and I personally want all the 10 pieces for myself (preferably more!). To compare, the other day I had a basket of 6 pork xiaolongbao for 6 CNY at a local street restaurant.

Din Tai Fung has multiple locations in Shanghai. Branches can also be found in other major Asian cities, as well as in Australia, the US and the UAE. And they definitely serve their world-famous soup dumplings in all locations!

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Sproutworks – Healthy Lunch in Xintiandi

After only a few days in town I can see that the health and wellness trend has not only reached Shanghai, but exploded here. There seem to be endless options of gyms, fitness studios, juice bars and healthy eateries everywhere. I’m pretty excited about this as I try to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle, and now I’m on a quest to find awesome food spots with healthy, safe, quality food that makes your mind and body happy.

First up is Sproutworks, a cafe/restaurant that seems to be a big favorite in town, loved by both locals and expats. The concept is simple – they offer fresh, high quality varieties of tossed salads, healthy sides, soups, paninis, smoothies, juices, homemade iced teas and lots more.

I visited Sproutworks for lunch yesterday for the first time. I ordered half a salad with two healthy sides plus chicken breast for extra protein, and a homemade iced tea to drink. This cost me about CNY 110, and the portion was enormous. Half would have been enough for me, so next time I’ll probably leave out the extra protein or one of the sides. But it was delicious, you can tell by both the taste and look of the food that they focus a lot on quality and freshness. I can’t wait to go back and try other options on the menu! I also absolutely loved the iced tea – it had a bit of sugar but was definitely not too sweet. Very refreshing in the 35 degree heat.

The restaurant itself was clean, bright, cozy and no-nonsense, matching the food concept well. You order the food at the counter where many of the available options are displayed. The staff assembles your food, you pay and you’re off with your meal on a tray. The Xintiandi location offers both an indoor and outdoor seating area for enjoying all the goodness. The restaurant was pretty quiet with plenty of empty tables when I arrived right before noon, but 15-20 minutes later the place was packed with downtown Shanghai’s health conscious lunchers.

All in all, a great lunch experience and I will definitely be going back very soon. Awesome, healthy lunch spot #1 discovered!

I visited Sproutworks in Xintiadi on 185 Madang Lu, but they have four other locations across Shanghai as well. It’s also super quick and easy for take-out, and all five restaurants offer delivery for orders over CNY 100.

Got any tips on healthy, good restaurants in Shanghai? Please do share in the comments below!

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First Day Shanghai Vibes

We made it! After a long day and night of traveling Robert and I finally arrived in Shanghai, our new home. The trip went really well and all of our 8 suitcases made it all the way, yay! Our flight was from Copenhagen via Helsinki with Finnair, which is the fastest and best way to get from Europe to Asia, no doubt (no, I’m not bias at all).

We were lucky enough to arrive in style and travel in business class, which was absolutely brilliant on board Finnair’s brand new Airbus A350 XWB. Delicious food, comfy full-flat seats, wifi connection  and excellent cabin crew who kept the champagne flowing made the 8,5 hour flight pass by very fast. What a great way to set the mood for our new life! Wish I could fly like that every time.

Our flight arrived early Saturday morning at Shanghai Pudong airport, where we had a car waiting to drive us to the city. After a 45 minute ride we got to our temporary home for the next 2-3 months. Earlier this week we sent off a container of furniture and home goods from Copenhagen, so once it arrives a couple of months from now we will be able to move in to a “proper” apartment. In the meantime we’re staying at Fraser Residence Shanghai, a serviced apartment complex with a great location right on the east side of the Xintiandi area in downtown Puxi.

The first day in my new city went by nicely. Robert and I walked around the new neighborhood, shopped for groceries, unpacked, napped, and had pictures taken for residence permit applications (btw not a great idea when you’re in total zombie-jet-lag-mode, most unflattering pics ever).

In the evening we kept it simple and had dinner at Mayita, a Mexican restaurant in the Fraser Residence building. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor terrace with a great view of the Pudong skyline to the east. I’ve had dinner there once before and wasn’t actually that impressed, but since we were feeling lazy and tired we decided to give it another try. And so happy we did – this time I ordered a bunch of soft shell tacos and they were delicious! My favorite was the fish taco, yum. Pair that with the gorgeous view and we were once again full of energy.

We (and about a million others) decided to end the evening with a walk on Shanghai’s most well-known landmark, The Bund. It’s definitely a must-visit place if you are in Shanghai, but try to make it on a clear night (or day), as the view of Pudong is just stunning. It’s certainly not bad in the daytime, but as any skyline, the night makes it something very special.

That about sums up our first day as residents of Shanghai. I gotta say I’m feeling pretty awesome about the whole thing. Just can’t wait for this hangoverish jet-lag feeling to pass and really start exploring. Stay tuned!

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Happy traveler all ready to go!

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Aboard Finnair’s Airbus 350 XWB’s Business Class. Love.

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It was obviously going to be a good flight.

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Champagne, please!

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Fraser Residence Shanghai – my new home.

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Huaihai Middle Road, around the corner from Fraser Residence.

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Xintiandi, Shanghai. Very cool area with hundreds of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars.

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A quiet street in Xintiandi.

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Crossing of Huaihai Road and Xizang South Road, around the corner from Fraser Residence.

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Lovely terrace at Mayita, very relaxed vibe with colorful tables, palm trees and latin music.

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Mayita’s Classic Margarita on the Rocks, delish!

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Tired but happy. Soon to be even happier after excellent tacos.

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Tacos, yum. Fish, chicken & chorizo and pork belly.

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The view from The Bund, beautiful Pudong.

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Taking it all in.