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Yaya's Pasta Bar

Last Updated: 12/11/2021 | Posted by: SophieSteiner
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7 Donghu Road, by Yanqing Lu
Metro Station
Shanxi Nan Lu, Line 10
Wednesday-Saturday 8pm-late

Yaya's Pasta Bar Description

Chef Dan Li (previously of Bird), Andrew Moo (Taste Collective, Le Daily) and Mike Liu (Lucky Mart) just launched a test ‘R&D’ popup kitchen in X Bar for their new project, Yaya’s. 

Named after the Chinese word for ‘tooth,’ the goal is to serve perfectly al dente, toothsome pasta, with that springy chew you’d expect from an Italian restaurant but incorporating evidently Chinese flavor profiles. 

Yaya also has a connotation with family – meaning ‘grandma’ in Greek and ‘grandpa’ in Shanghainese, further linking the name to the goal of making honest, homey dishes that act as comfort food with a dose of surprise. 

‘None of us are Italian, but we aren’t trying to serve Italian classics like everywhere else. We want to specialize,’ says Moo, slurping down a wriggly, sauce-coated pappardelle strand. 

When we hear the word ‘fusion,’ our gut reaction is to cringe. Throwing together multiple aspects of different cuisines doesn’t always make a dish creative, exceptional or – for that matter – better. We’ve seen it fail too many times. 

But Yaya’s is the exception. 

The concept – in a sentence – is Chinese flavors with an Italian pasta backbone in a neighborhood pasta bar setting. Sounds like something that would come out of the trendiest Brooklyn backstreet, but only in a city like Shanghai does the successful execution actually come to fruition, resulting in a bastardization of multiple cuisines, in the tastiest of ways. The team of imaginative creatives– at their core – understand true regional Chinese flavors, and have coupled that with a deep dive in Italian pasta making. And we mean deep. Like hand-making-pasta-every-day-for-the-last-six-months deep. 

The result? Arguably more authentic Italian pasta than most Italian joints in Shanghai paired with lick-your-plate-clean sauces, stewed meats and unique produce-highlighting bites. It’s still comfort food, jut a wildly creative version of it. 

Map of Yaya's Pasta Bar

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