Shanghaiist doesn’t eat much spicy food, but every time we pass a xiaolongxia (小龙虾 or “little dragon shrimp” or “little lobsters” or crayfish — the most popular food in Shanghai now) restaurant, we always try really hard to keep ourselves from drooling. The idea of cracking the crayfish, sucking out the meat and licking the messy goodness off our fingers is way too enchanting. Mmmmmm. (We realize this is strange talk coming from the site’s resident animal activist, but life would be boring without contradictions.)
Anyhow, when we received an email from Dianping.com (the biggest restaurant review site in China, currently being sued by Kongjia Garden for allegedly damaging its reputation, but we still like it) we got hungry. According to the email, there are 15 establishments in Shanghai worth going to for crayfish. After a thorough reading, we will recommend the top five:
1. Fumao Crayfish 复茂小龙虾 (RMB 62 per person)
1) 595 Fuxing Zhong Lu, by Maoming Nan Lu复兴中路595号(近茂名南路口) 6427 2225; 2) 153 Yuyuan Lu, by Huashan Lu 愚园路153号(近华山路); 3) 300 Tiantong Lu, by Sichuan Bei Lu天潼路300号(近四川北路); 172 Huaihai Zhong Lu, by Pu’an Lu淮海中路172号(近普安路); 400 Wanping Nan Lu, by Xietu Lu宛平南路400号(近斜土路); 3 Wanping Nan Lu, by Zhaojia Bang Lu, 宛平南路3号(近肇家浜路)
This place is said to have the most authentic crayfish in Shanghai and offers various cooking styles such as curry crayfish. The crayfish meat is plump and juicy, and better yet, the crayfish are clean and fresh, you can hardly eat any bad or slim crayfish. The only bad comment is it’s a little pricey compared with other places.
2. Xiaba Dao Spicy Crayfish of Changshou Noodle Restaurant 长寿面馆乡吧岛香辣小龙虾 (RMB41 per person)
23 Shouning Lu, by Xizang Nan Lu 寿宁路23号(近西藏南路) 6336 6446
This crayfish restaurant does the best business on a road crowded with crayfish restaurants. They offer big crayfish with good quality meat, and the sauce is pretty good, too. The best thing about it is it allows customers to bring their own drinks. Bad thing is the environment is dirty and noisy.
3. Xiangba Dao 香吧岛 (RMB 36 per person)
1) 356 Yuping Nan Lu, by Zunyi Lu玉屏南路356号(近遵义路) 6234 8059; 2) 431 Wujin Lu, by Sichuan Bei Lu 武进路431号(四川北路河南路间), 3) 51 Shouning Lu寿宁路51号; 4) 297 Huangye Lu黄桦路297号; 5) 98 Shiquan Lu 石泉路98号
A well-known place for crayfish. Sometimes the food is a little salty and the spice level is unstable, but overall the taste is good and most important, cheap. One word for environment and service: Bad. It’s more suitable for takeaway.
4. Big Mustache Crayfish King 大胡子龙虾王 (RMB 48 per person)
1) 476 Pangu Lu, by Mudanjiang Lu盘古路476号(近牡丹江路) 5660 9874; 2) 276 Baotou Lu, by Minxing Lu包头路276号(近民星路)
One of the best crayfish restaurants, Big Mustache offers four different flavours of crayfish, including Ganbian (stir fry), Jiaoyan (spicy salt), Xiangla (fragrant and spicy) and Hongshao (braised). Taste is pretty good. Other dishes are just plain. It’s open until 3 am, but the environment is a little uncomfortable for the price.
5. Judian Restaurant 聚点酒家 (RMB 49 per person)
Anlong Lu by Xianxia Lu安龙路(仙霞路口)
Dianping.com didn’t give us an overall review, but from registered users who wrote their own reviews (in Chinese), this place looks good (only one bad review). Most diners said this place offers fresh crayfish and enough spice. Other dishes are also tasty.
Yummy! When it comes to crayfish, it’s all about the food. Most places in town will be dirty and noisy … so suck it up (pun intended). Maybe the next Shanghaiist Happy Hour will involve little dragon shrimp?