It’s All Good at Shanghai’s Newest Burger Obsession: Goodman

By Sophie Steiner, June 18, 2024

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The Place 

We are well aware that Shanghai holds its own when it comes to burgers.

Every damn Shanghai restaurant that you’ve never even heard of has some shape or form of a burger, so stakes are high, to say the least.

READ MORE: 17 Not Your Everyday Shanghai Burgers 

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However, Goodman on Xiangyang Lu – Shanghai's first and solely smash burger dedicated venue – has taken that high to new heights, rising above the pack and summiting the proverbial fast-casual peak with its climactic Classic Smash, the pinnacle of Shanghai’s lofty burger scene. 

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Brought to us by a powerhouse team of Yaya’s (Andrew Moo, Dan Li, and Warren Pang) and Bastard (Jiro Hsu and Michael Janczewski) – some of the hottest names in Shanghai F&B right now – the star of Goodman’s streamlined three-item debut menu is a griddle-fried, crispy-edged, caramelized beef smash patty nestled between a plush milk bun. 

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Mr Moo is no stranger to the smash burger; his inaugural F&B expedition in Shanghai saw his Two Hands burger popups around town from 2018 through 2020.

That was followed by his lauded Two Guys burger popup with Michael Janczewski at Feast 2023, the booth that ultimately started it all and from which the dream of Goodman was born. 

The Food 

What is a smash burger, you ask? 

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Take a fistful of loosely-packed minced beef (as opposed to pressed, so as to avoid the dreaded hockey puck patty), slam it on a screaming hot flattop, and smash it – hence the name – down with a spatula or meat press. 

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The result is a griddle-seared, roughly centimeter-thick, juicy AF patty – which in the case of Goodman is a blend of USDA Prime brisket and chuck – with lacy edges of scorched meat.

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At Goodman, each patty clocks in at 70 grams, and visitors can pick their poison, so to speak, for the Classic Smash (RMB68/double, RMB88/triple) with one, two, or three.

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The latter duo (the double and triple) is the classic smash burger recipe – humble in its simplicity, with every element executed flawlessly.

Think fixings like ketchup, yellow American mustard, raw chopped onions, two slices of American cheese, and housemade slow-brined pickles. 

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Pressed and grilled to order, each burger comes together in under four minutes flat, the literal definition of fast food... but make it gourmet quality.

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Don’t balk at the Baby Smash (RMB48) either  – a single patty burger that boasts a completely different experience in a petite portion that still nails it on ratios (arguably the key element in burger construction) with the veritable addition of 'horsey sauce' or horseradish mayo, plus fresh lettuce, tomato and more of those pleasantly tart pickles.  

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Equally viable, the Falafel (RMB58) is a Lebanese-style chickpea fritter (roughly the same size as a compact burger patty) correspondingly charred on the flattop for that same addictingly crisped exterior, dribbled with herbaceous zhoug sauce (a spicy cilantro and garlic condiment found in the Middle East) plus tahini, Sriracha, lettuce, onion and pickles

A worthy order for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

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“The burger is a simple vessel that can easily act as a base for demonstrating creativity,” offers Moo.

In the future, look forward to a few more burger options, both a fish and chicken burger, and seasonal specials. 

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There’s also side orders of Taiwanese-style Popcorn Chicken (RMB28) – twice-fried niblets of coarse sweet potato flour-coated boneless chicken (for that bubbly crust) tossed with fried basil, yan su ji (盐酥鸡) fried chicken powder (salt, sugar, spice, and everything nice – aka MSG), and a final squirt of lemon.

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And some standout Fries (RMB22) – dusted in potato starch for more surface area crunch juxtaposed by a fluffy inside.

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On the drinks front, the beer and highball program (curated by Warren Pang, previously of Janes and Hooch Beijing, DIY Shenzhen) is conducive to late night drinking on the street.

For daytime, there’s Iced Kōhī (RMB18), draft Yuzu Jasmine Soda (RMB38), and refreshingly sour Calamansi Lemonade (RMB28), a bevvie that also makes a showing in the Good Long Island (RMB58) – the drink that has already garnered quite the cult following. 

Other straightforward libations are served up with a twist, in the form of a Mezcal Highball (RMB58) – made with Demócrata Oaxacan mezcal – and a Whiskey Highball (RMB48) – sporting Finish Kyro whiskey – to scratch that cocktail itch sans the unnecessary sugar crash. 

The Vibe

The honest menu (read: no 'fancy' necessary, just classic burgers done right with quality ingredients) is designed to be scalable, with the ultimate goal being a slew of new Goodman locations (as satellite kitchens and counter serve stalls) opening up all over the city in the near future.

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However, this first spot will forever and always remain the heart center – a flagship location and community hub. 

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Goodman already has a veritable lineup of upcoming events – chef and brand collaboration burgers, rotating DJs, and one-off popups – essentially serving as a regular block party epicenter.

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Delivery is also in the works, with stellar launch deals available now through Meituan and Eleme. 

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After swinging open its doors in mid-May on one of Shanghai's trendiest corners – Xiangyang Lu between Julu Lu and Changle Lu, this literal hole-in-the wall (it only has 10 seats) will celebrate its official grand opening this Thursday, June 20.

Make sure to swing by to celebrate this sure-to-be Shanghai institution, burger in one hand, highball in the other!

Goodman, 4 Xiangyang Bei Lu, by Julu Lu, 襄阳北路4号, 近巨鹿路.


Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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