The corner of Fumin Lu and Julu Lu is a hotspot for expat diners: Nepali Kitchen, Shintori, Guyi, Otto, Coconut Paradise, and Mesa. But smack dab in the middle are also a handful of Chinese restaurants that don’t get much mention in our beloved English-language rags. We checked one of them out recently and have now added Hui Yuan Fang (汇元坊) to the list of worthy destinations located within that intersection.
We’re not big fans of Shanghainese food, but we’re familiar with the high standards that are set for the cuisine, and are appreciative when we are served traditional Shanghainese dishes that are made with delicacy and precision. We had a great meal at Hui Yuan Fang, which offered the same quality of food and service as their more popular brethren Xiao Nan Guo (小南国) and Jade Garden (苏浙汇), but at a much more intimate level. The first floor at this restaurant is also the top floor, and consists solely of private rooms. Those of us not dining in a room are ushered to the basement level, where an attentive staff waits on six or seven tables, perfect for a quiet conversation to go along with the excellent food.
Traditional dishes of braised pork (48 RMB) and sauteed river shrimp (138 RMB) hit the perfect combination of sweetness and consistency. We expect gobs of goo and oil when eating Shanghainese food, but Hui Yuan Fang tones it down on the grease, and thus undresses the flavor underneath. We recommend the braised tofu with bamboo shoots and vegetables (38 RMB), which is delightfully delicate and tasty. Combined with the tasteful decor and quality service, Hui Yuan Fang is a safe bet for a solid evening with the beloved local cuisine. Try it out next time you’re facing an hour wait right up the street at Guyi.
Hui Yuan Fang – 793 Julu Lu near Fumin Lu (汇元坊 – 巨鹿路793号近富民路) Tel: 5404 7979
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.