Taco Bell circa 11am
Back in March, we reported that Mexican-themed American fast food chain was planning on opening a new Shanghai branch by the end of the year — and that officially went into operation this past weekend to much fanfare.
Taco Bell circa 11.20am
This isn't Taco Bell's first attempt into the fickle Shanghai market. Parent company Yum! brands opened a flagship store in the city in 2003, but it was short lived and closed in 2008. It's been a long eight years, and it's time for us to live life to the más with some dirt cheap tacos.
Taco Bell has said that it's adjusting its menu to focus on local tastes in the reboot of its Shanghai franchise. The menu isn't as extensive as the drive thrus you'll find back home, and the Lujiazui store seems more focused on combo meals paired with fries, because why not.
We started off with a Beef Quesadilla (RMB39), which was rather spicy and just a tad messy.
On the burrito front, we went with the Volcano Chicken Burrito (RMB39), a delicious upgrade. However, it seemed to be missing a key ingredient: beans.
The Premium Nachos (RMB29) were tasty and came covered in nacho cheese, though the chips could have used more of that sweet, sweet tang of MSG. The nachos came with sizeable toppings of sour cream, pico de gallo and extra lime-y guacamole.
The tacos were where it was at, which you'd sort of expect from a chain with the word "Taco" in its name. We enjoyed the Cheesy Chicken Double Decker Taco (RMB29), which resembles the Cheesy Gordita Crunch from back home, if it were filled with nacho cheese instead of the classic shredded cheese.
You can also go for the Tacos Supreme (RMB48), which gets you a soft and hard shell taco. We preferred the crispier hard shell taco, though we didn't expect how much thicker the soft shell tortillas were than the ones you'd find Stateside.
The tacos on offer in Shanghai are also much bigger than the ones you may have become accustomed to back home, and are stuffed with toppings to the point where there's little room for sauce. Prepare for extreme taco neck trying to consume one of them.
Speaking of sauce, there's a little sauce bar behind the counter. They've exchanged packets for pumps here, and you'll be able to choose from three different options — Salsa Hot, Salsa Fire and 'Sriracha.' (How's that for appealing to local tastes?)
After all that cheesy goodness, it was time to wash the meal down with some drinks. Taco Bell customers will no doubt be excited about the free refills, somewhat of a rarity in Shanghai. Sadly, there's no Baja Blast, but the Apple Cider soda was a refreshing substitute.
Like its predecessor, the Taco Bell Shanghai 2.0 also has a drink menu, offering boozy cocktails and Asahi drafts. We were pleasantly surprised by the Pinky Gin and Green Margarita (RMB28), kind of like drinking a popsicle through a straw.
Price: from RMB40-100 per person
Who's going: office workers, homesick Americans
Good for: tacos, fast food
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