Shanghai Restaurant Review: JUJU

By Cristina Ng, December 5, 2019

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The Place

Mark Klingspon has a reputation for generous hospitality, and this time the mastermind behind The Nest, The Cannery and Rye & Co has brought a bit of Seoul to Three on the Bund. As JUJU, the house that Neri + Hu built for Jean-Georges and Marja Vongerichten’s elegant Chi-Q is nearly unrecognizable. While keeping the Korean barbecue, Klingspon has done away with fine dining trappings, dropping the price point and having Korean and Chinese street artists throw up brightly colored murals on the wall.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Adding to the fun, lining the walls are retro arcade games and self-service fridges filled with Cass Beer (RMB25) and Jinro Soju (RMB50). It’s the largest selection of soju flavors we’ve encountered in Shanghai: grape, cherry, strawberry, grapefruit and peach. Take advantage of the soju collection and try out some Korean drinking games. 

We went nuts playing Titanic, a game of skill where you float a shot glass in a glass of beer. You then take turns filling the shot slowly with at least a drop of soju. Whoever sinks the ship, has to drink the mixture. If that gets too dicey, there’s a much simpler game involving the loose metal thread on the soju cap. You pass it around and flick it until someone succeeds at separating it from the cap. The losers all have to drink.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

The Food

There’s only one way to survive drinking games fueled by a party-worthy playlist of late ’90s/early ’00s hip-hop jams: bottomless Korean barbecue. For the extremely reasonable price of RMB288, you can have as much selected pork, beef and veggies as you want.  

Unlike many barbecue (and even hot pot) places in Shanghai, JUJU gets that cooking for yourself is part of the fun. That leaves you to lay out paper-thin slices of well-marinated beef or fatty bits of pork belly and leaner cuts of neck and collar on the grill. We are told they tasted over 40 cuts of meat to choose the best value free-flow options.

Along with the meat and vegetables, you get a tasty array of banchan like kimchi, potato salad and shredded leeks with dressing. While it sounds simple, a warm bowl of rice with sesame and seaweed is extremely comforting between rounds of Titanic. Shovel that rice into your mouth or layer it with meat, scallions and a schmear of gochujang onto your choice of leafy green. We may have ordered several bowls of that rice.

While the free flow meats are good value, the ‘King’s Selection’ offers some insanely delicious cuts for a bit extra. We highly recommend springing for an order of Australian Wagyu M7 Ribeye (RMB298). That beef is such good quality that it only needs a quick dip in salt and pepper before eating. 

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

You could make a meal without doing the free-flow by choosing a la carte, or you can add additional dishes to the all-you-can-eat experience. Just remember, everyone at your table has to do free-flow or nobody can. That’s the rule. 

Images by Cristina Ng/That's

Besides barbecue, there are jigaes (stews), rice/bimimbap, jeon (Korean pancakes), live octopus, noodles, Korean hot pot, street food and Korean fried chicken. If we had to name a must-order dish, it’s the Korean Fried Chicken (combo, RMB88). The fire KFC brings a killer amount of sticky-sweet heat, but the double-fried super crispy classic version is also a win. Coming in a close second is the Octopus Pajeon (RMB68). The savory green onion pancake is so simple yet addictive that we wish we could order it without the protein. 

Food Verdict: 2/3

The Vibe

We’ve all fallen prey to the all-you-can-eat death trap at some point in our Shanghai lives, but JUJU kicks the experience up to a level worthy of Three on the Bund. Unlike lesser venues, they don’t slow down food delivery to keep you from getting your money’s worth, a well-worn Shanghai trick. Cheap drinks, amazing tunes and incredible service add to the appeal. We’re already considering reserving their two 12-seater back tables for our next birthday. Just don’t beat us to it, okay?  

Vibe Verdict: 2/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB300-1,000 per person
Who’s going: literally everyone 
Good for: voracious appetites, professional drinkers, parties

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

Leave Your Review

Have you been to JUJU? Post your review here for a chance to win a Saucepan voucher.

See a listing for JUJU. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

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