Modern Chinese Ling Long Making Waves at The Waldorf Astoria

By Sophie Steiner, March 27, 2023

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Combining elements of old and new, tradition and modernity, the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund lives up to its reputation as one of the city’s most luxurious urban retreats.

The hotel comprises a century-old heritage building that once housed the legendary Shanghai Club, plus a newly built contemporary tower outfitted in debonair interiors, highlighted by plush sofas, imported marble and gentle lighting.

The hotel is reveled for its high-end service, where guests are treated with the utmost bespoke care.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Aligning with the hotel’s ethos and timeless style, the newest restaurant addition, Ling Long, has garnered quite the following since soft opening on March 12; within a week, the entire venue had already been fully booked out through the end of May. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's


Executive Chef and partner, Jason Liu, is more than just a pretty face (although that alone is bringing those high-roller tai tais in droves... ourselves included) – he has the CV to back it up.

More than 10 years of culinary experience (despite being under 30) has landed him a slew of awards, including 2022 Youngest Chinese Michelin Chef (for his work at Ling Long Beijing), along with 2022 Black Pearl’s Young Chef of the Year, 2022 Food and Wine China’s Young Chef of the Year and 2021 Ctrip Gourmet List’s Chef of the Year.

He’s also landed CCTV’s first chef documentary role lead – entitled Find Me Beyond the Kitchen.

The list goes on.  

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

On top of that, the venue fits just 30 people (across eight tables and two private rooms) with one seating per day, presenting diners with an ever-changing, whimsical set menu focused around the concept of umami – or xian in Chinese – with the lauded Chef Jason himself the mastermind behind each and every dish. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef Jason brings his Beijing experience (opening Ling Long Beijing, No. 77 restaurant on Asia’s 50 Best list) and combines it with uncommon, local ingredients, Middle Kingdom tastes and a thoughtful twist.

The aim is to re-create this cross-China journey in a new “Shanghai way” over eight courses for RMB1,680+, with optional wine and drink pairings for an additional RMB980+

Image courtesy of Graeme Kennedy

Our first impression of Ling Long: how completely divergent it is compared with other contemporary Chinese fine dining establishments.

Yes, there are white tablecloths, avant-garde Chinese art-decorated walls in crimson and onyx hues, and gloved service coupled with both verbal and cardstock introductions for each course, but the meal follows a playful path that leads diners further down the (white) rabbit hole.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

It is one that weaves through pairings like flash-fried Taizhou rockfish in a lip-tingling mala Sichuan broth with spontaneously-fermented Cantillon gueuze – a union that is separate from a late-night Chengdu curbside street snack, but somehow very much a part of it.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Or bouncy fish maw “mac’n’cheese” – a velvety sauce laden with Ling Long’s own 8-month aged parmesan made in the Italian Parmiggiano-Reggiano style, laced with majiagou celery, pudgy puffs of sticky-rice gnocchi, and a nip of 20-year aged chengpi

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

There’s Shandong Wagyu – charred with a booming, crackly crust; Xishuangbanna heart of palm – grilled and folded in smoky pleats across dried scallop; and three-month-dry-aged Hanshan chicken prosciutto broth. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

There’s Japanese sake – robustly floral yet clean and dry; 30-year-barrel-aged rice wine; and Hungarian Tokaji Aszú – a white, sweet wine whose history dates back to the 17th century and is made using botrytized grapes, or those infected with “noble rot.” 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The meal culminates in a trio of desserts, precise and winkingly clever.

First, a refreshing, choose-your-own-fruit palate cleanser sorbet, made on the spot.


Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image courtesy of Graeme Kennedy

An equally trembly and treacly honeycomb soufflé is then served on beeswax, bedazzled with golden wasp pendants, accompanied by a bees nest buzzing with the sound of bees.

Spoiler: there’s a Bluetooth speaker inside, not actual bees, because mid-meal bee stings wouldn't exactly fit the atmosphere...

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And, a final climax – a coin-slot fitted music box playing quirky circus tunes is wheeled out on trolleys with petite fours’ inspiration in candy store-like glass display jars. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

At this point in the meal, you’re not even phased – the level of tongue-in-cheek eccentrics having built, each course goofier than the last.  

So no – it’s not the “stuffy” hotel restaurant Chinese fine dining experience you’re expecting. 


Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The common thread that weaves its way throughout is how deftly diners can pick through each dish and realize that, at every layer, it’s all about patience and awareness.

It’s less about what is on each plate – because Chef Jason plans to overhaul the entire menu seasonally – and more about the cohesively designed experience as a whole, one that is at once nostalgic and inventive. 

Chef Jason runs his open kitchen in copacetic order – calm and controlled, like a choreographed theater production – the prep counter acting as center stage.

Yet, from table design to kitchen layout; from music program to food and beverage pairing, each element is smart, exacting and meticulously accounted for, curated and presented to diners for a full sensorially tailored experience. 


Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

We sat down with Chef Jason, a humble, soft-spoken character (regardless of the level of fame he has recently garnered) who has been utterly dedicated to his craft since his first moments in the kitchen as a youth, to learn more about the man behind Shanghai’s hardest to get into modern Chinese cuisine restaurant. 

When did you start working in a restaurant? Where has your culinary journey taken you thus far?
I began at the Grand Hyatt Taipei when I was only 16, working my way up while attending Taiwan Kai-Ping Culinary School. I then worked at Taipei's Café Bellini Dunnan, Paris 1930, and at Bistro 3 as the chef and owner, before opening Ling Long Beijing in 2019. 

I knew I wanted to open Ling Long in Shanghai right away, although I needed first to overhaul the entire menu offered in Beijing for the Shanghai location, so it would include 90% new dishes, allowing repeat guests to enjoy a totally different experience between the two cities.

What is the difference in food and philosophy between Ling Long in Shanghai and Beijing?
Ling Long Beijing is more feminine, showcasing traditional dishes as the prototype, or jumping off point for innovation, while Ling Long Shanghai really hones in on the combination of xian – savory, fresh flavors – and imagination.

Just like the city itself, the Ling Long in Shanghai is boundary-less. 

Image courtesy of Graeme Kennedy

What motivates you when making a new dish?
If I weren’t a chef, I would be a painter – a form of creativity I’ve loved since childhood. As I’ve grown, all that has changed is the canvas – from paper to the dinner plate.

Like a painter, I allow my surroundings to inspire me, building imagery in my mind to transform elements of the city around me into what I serve.

Thinking unconventionally, like a painter, to surprise my audience, is what motivates me. 

What is your vision for the Ling Long concept? 
I hope this brand will continue to live and evolve on its own, becoming a benchmark in the China dining scene. 

To reserve your dining experience at Waldorf Astoria’s Ling Long, call 021 2329 0313.

Ling Long, 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, by Guangdong Lu, 中山东一路2号外滩华尔道夫酒店,近广东路.

Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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