Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
“Where can a guy get a decent bowl of noodles in this town?” is not a phrase you’ll often hear in Shanghai, a city strewn with more noodles than the town of Chewandswallow in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Toss a Mao from a rooftop and it’ll probably land in a decent bowl of noodles.
But if you’re looking for a bowl of noodles so scrumptious that you’ll never settle for just a decent bowl of noodles ever again, look no further than Lao Difang. Though this mouse-hole is equipped with only three tables and a dinky kitchen, its noodles have people lining the block at lunch time. Options include fried pork noodles ((炸酱面, zhá jiàng miàn), eel noodles (鳝丝面, shàn sī miàn), and the fan-favorite, scallion and pork noodles (葱油肉丝拌面, cōng yóu ròu sī bàn miàn) which we tucked into.
For those wondering what defines a great bowl of noodles, let the scallion and pork noodles be your Merriam-Webster example. For one, despite being as thin as angel hair pasta they still pack a slight chew, marking quality. And second, the scallion oil manages to be deliciously unctuous and yet also clean-tasting so you don’t feel it pooling in your stomach like molten lead. Just make sure to stir the noodles thoroughly before eating so they mix with the meat and veg, and enjoy one of the better cheap eats (only 13RMB!) in the city.
Our one disclaimer is that Lao Difang’s service is “Shanghai gruff” to the max with a barky maître d’ who won’t heed your order until you basically walk up and tap on her shoulder (at which point someone will inevitably snag your seat), so be on your toes.
Lao Difang – 233 Xiangyang Lu, near Yongkang Lu (襄阳路233号, 近永康路). Tel: (0)21-6471-0556. Hours: 11am-2pm, 5pm-6:30pm (will close earlier if supplies run out so we advise getting there between 5-5:30pm for dinner).
Last time on Dish of the Day: Pork ribs @ Di Shui Dong
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!