In a former blogging life we crowned Vegetarian Lifestyle the best vegetarian restaurant in Shanghai. That may very well still be true — we just got an email from a vegetarian who agreed with our assessment — but we don’t go there much anymore since we moved from the neighborhood … and because we discovered a new vegetarian place right around the corner from our new apartment. Call us lazy, call us fickle — or better yet, call us French Concession loyalists.
Anyway, the new (opened late last year) restaurant is called Hao Niang Niang, on Dongping Lu between Hengshan Lu and Wulumuqi Lu. It’s got a much less corporate feel than Vegetarian Lifestyle and is run by two very friendly sisters who love to chat and are very quick to refill your pu-erh cha. There are some dishes we miss from Vegetarian Lifestyle (sweet and sour “pork” and beijing “duck” come to mind) but there are many dishes at Hao Niang Niang that we enjoy as much as anything at our old favorite. Here are some recommendations:
- Grilled duck with acid plum, RMB 28
- Sichuan taste beef, RMB 28
- Scallion sauce mountain mushrooms, RMB 38
- Tiger skin rolls, RMB 26 (this price is a guess)
Most of those dishes above can be found in the “Extractive cool” section of the menu, which, as you likely have figured out by now, is a joy to read. Who needs Google Translate? Other menu sections titles include “Nutrition vegetarian”, “Rurality,” and “Delicious desserts,” which includes the dish “Shepherd’s-purse ravioli,” which is another way of saying huntun (which are also pretty good, but not for dessert).
There are other dishes we haven’t yet tried, and probably won’t:
- Coconut juice with string bean slob
- Cabbage gallbladder with noodle muscles
And everyone’s favorite:
- Assorted vegetarian intestines
There’s also the compulsory (and kind of creepy) stuff that is molded to look like an animal, or a cartoon version thereof. We steer clear of those, as well.
But we definitely recommend Hao Niang Niang. Good food, great location and attentive service. For a second opinion, check out what the people over at Dianping say (Google Translate version). Food gets a mediocre 13, but service gets a stellar 26. Let us know what you think in a comment.
Hao Niang Niang vegetarian restaurant, 18 Dongping Lu, near Hengshan Lu, 东平路18号(近衡山路). Tel: 64376867. Map.