Show Us Your Best Noods! 9 Bowls of Chinese #PastaPorn – Part II

By Sophie Steiner, November 6, 2023

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Shanghai boasts an amazing array of global cuisine: from authentic Italian to genuine Korean; from unpretentious Colombian to dependable Turkish, we're spoiled for choice.

So much so that we often find ourselves guilty of foregoing the abundant resident mainstays in favor of the new and exciting and overseas. 

But, that ends – here and now. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

We’ve made it a mission to re-discover our own backyard, celebrating the local cuisine in the country we live in. And what better place to start than glorious carb-laden noodles?

We could easily list out over 100 regional Chinese noodle dishes without batting an eyelash. And so we did…

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Just kidding (but close).

To save you all from going into immediate cardiac arrest via noodle overload, we broke it up into multiple parts, sharing our favorite spots around the city so you can find your regional carb delicacies. 

READ MORE: Show Us Your Best Noods! 8 Bowls of Chinese #PastaPorn – Part I

Bai Que Mianguan 白雀面馆·肉夹馍·油泼面

Xian noodles and creative coffees aren’t the most archetypal duo, but the two worlds collide at Bai Que Mianguan, a Xian chain with four locations around Shanghai.

The most ordered item is the oil splash noodles – a pick-your-own toppings situation with a final choice between wide, hand-pulled-to-order biang biang noodles, or thicker, springy rope-like noodles with a circular cross-section, most comparable to a less dense Japanese udon

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

As for the trimmings, there’s egg and tomato, minced meat, fried meat sauce, or cured meat (going for RMB25-26 if you choose just one) – or get it all in the same bowl with bean sprouts and greens for RMB35. 

The noodles themselves are absolute standouts – the satisfying chew of un-even ridges that only comes from freshly pulled dough is unmatched. Each ribbon-y thread lifts with a satisfying tug – a good half-a-meter long – coated in a spicy chili oil.

Regardless of whatever add-ons you choose, the noodle texture alone is worth a repeat visit, augmented further by the funky coffee beverages on hand. Think pineapple soda Americano and fermented rice latte, among others.

There’s also classic liangpi and rice noodle options, plus a few soup noodle dishes. 

Bai Que Mianguan 白雀面馆·肉夹馍·油泼面, 135 Anyuan Lu, by Changhua Lu, 安远路135号, 近昌化路.

Dong Tai Xiang 东泰祥

A 24/7 Shanghai diner, Dong Tai Xiang is our go-to spot time and again for both shengjianbao – pan-fried pork soup dumplings – and Scallion Oil Noodles (RMB15) – they never skimp on the scallions, ensuring each inky strand is juxtaposed against a crispy spring onion chip.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The boldest scallion fragrance in the city, these slippery noodles earn our top congyoubanmian spot in Shanghai for the balanced sauce – a perfect amalgamation of sweetness from sugar, saltiness from dark and light soy sauce, and savoriness from the dried shrimp.

Even as these noodles cool, they still maintain their appeal, a statement that doesn’t hold true for many others around town.

READ MORE: Shanghai's Most Slurpable Scallion Oil Noodles

Dong Tai Xiang 东泰祥,  188 Chongqing Bei Lu, by Dagu Lu, 重庆北路188号,近大沽路.

Jia Ge Mian 加个面

Metro Town Mall – or Meigui Fang (玫瑰坊) – may be best known for its Japanese eateries, but the B2 food court is a maze of local snack stalls, bakeries, noodle houses and more – offering a new place to eat every day for a year! 

READ MORE: We Walked in a Mall in Shanghai and Fell Into a Tokyo Wormhole

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On our most recent visit, we stopped into Jia Ge Mian – an unassuming 20-seater that serves up some of the best Dapanji (RMB98) – or Big Plate Chicken – in the city.

For starters, the portions are excessive. Yes, we get by the name that it’s going to be a “big plate,” but the serving size could easily satisfy four.

This heaping platter of slowly braised chicken stew packs some major heat, with thick slabs of potato, slices of green and red peppers, chopped leeks, onions, and crushed garlic all slick with a cumin, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorn-laced viscous roux.

Freshly-pulled wide noodles – called laghman – bathe in a moat of excess chili oil, soaking up the leftover broth, allowing diners to savor every last drop.

The biggest win is that the meaty morsels are boneless – so no unhappy surprises slicing the roof of your mouth on a hidden shard whilst trying to gleefully chomp on a seemingly juicy hunk of thigh.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Equally generous in serving size, the Ding Ding Chao Mian (RMB33) are pleasantly chewy “dough drops” of misshapen noodle ends, interspersed with stir-fried nibs of peppers, onions and fried lamb.

The noodles are the width of a chopstick, first pulled, then sliced into fingernail size pieces, slightly pressed on the ends to create varying thickness.

The small noodle shape makes this dish tedious to go at with chopsticks, so pick up that spoon, making it all the more crushable. 

Jia Ge Mian 加个面, #A13, B/2, 890 Changning Lu, by Huichuan Lu, 长宁路龙之梦B2城市集市A13, 近汇川路.

Lao Difang Mianguan  老地方面馆

Separated from the street, but still very much a part of it, Lao Difang Mianguan is exactly as the name describes: an old, crowded storefront serving up noodles and pre-cooked toppings to the hordes lining up outside on the daily. 

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Like other time-honored noodle shops, choose you noodle base – ranging in price from Scallion Oil Noodles (RMB14) to Shrimp Noodles (RMB53) – and add on the extras of your choosing, like tea eggs, tofu knots, minced pork-stuffed tofu, saucy eel strands and... the list goes on. 

By this point you know the drill, and the only difference comes with personal preference – how sweet you prefer your kaofu (or braised wheat gluten), how spongy you prefer your suji (soy-based 'vegetarian chicken'), the marinade you gravitate towards for your dachang (braised large pork intestine), or the level of spice you crave on your larou (spicy pork). 

Whatever you order, it comes together lightning fast, centered around aromatic oil-slick noodles, charred scallions, and happiness. 

Lao Difang Mianguan 老地方面馆, 107 Sinan Lu, by Jianguo Zhong Lu, 思南路107号, 近建国路.

Wei Xiang Zhai 味香斋

One of Shanghai’s most iconic noodle houses, Wei Xiang Zhai has been doling out steaming bowls of Majiang Mian (RMB14) – Shanghainese noodles slathered in a viscous sesame paste – since the beginning of time (probably)

And why is this locale rammed with patrons from dawn until dusk each and every day, regardless of time, season, or worldly happenings? Because this isn’t your average sesame paste.

Thick, silky, and peanutty in both aroma and density, the sauce resembles concentrated peanut butter with a nip of chili and some minced garlic and scallion for good measure. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Warmed by the steam of the boiled-to-order noodles, the sauce forms a glossy coating that sticks to each individual strand (and the roof of your mouth), so make sure to toss it all together it immediately to avoid the sauce from congealing. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

An underdog often overlooked by their top-selling noodles, the Wontons in Sesame Paste (RMB25) are thick-skinned big boys – impossible to devour in one bite.

Stuffed to the brim with a mixture of shepherd’s purse greens and sweet pounded pork, the dumplings are drowned in that same lockjaw-inducing sesame paste, a nut butter fanatic's wet dream.

These are a must order. 

Wei Xiang Zhai 味香斋, 14 Yandang Lu, by Huaihai Lu, 雁荡路14号近淮海中路.

Xia Ha Re Mu 夏哈热木

Situated on Aomen Lu, where the old Muslim Market used to take place every Friday morning, and across from the Shanghai Huxi Mosque (上海沪西清真寺) – the first rebuilt mosque in the city after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China – is Xia Ha Re Mu 夏哈热木, a casual Xinjiang eatery run by a Uyghur family.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Aside from the sizzling chuar, roasted naan bread, and baked-fresh-daily Xinjiang pastries, the main draw is the Gan Bian Chao Mian (RMB30) (干煸炒面), thick cords of udon-like noodles, stir-fried in oil and spices along with tender pieces of fried lamb, fiery dried chilis, onions, garlic, spinach and a sprinkling of white sesame seeds.

These righteous noodles are an exact replica of some of the best versions we tasted in Xinjiang itself, therefore bringing the most authentic taste of that province right to Shanghai through a greasy heap of oh-so-comforting carbs.

READ MORE: Xinjiang: Mountains and Minorities, Scenery and Spice

Xia He Re Mu 夏哈热木, 735 Aomen Lu, by Changde Lu,澳门路735号, 近常德路.

Xiao Tao Mianguan 小陶面馆

This 20-seater noodle shop embodies homestyle cooking, one of the many reasons it’s packed at all hours, with seats flipping every 10-15 minutes to make room for more hungry neighborhood dwellers.

The menu is all noodles, with an array of cooked fixings spread out in metal bowls of varying sizes. Similar to other local noodle houses, patrons choose their carby base and then select add-ons.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

While many opt for meat-heavy servings  like the Spicy Beef (RMB29), Pork Rib (RMB28), or Pork Chop (RMB28) – we suggest springing for a Shanghainese classic, the Kaofu Noodles (RMB20).

Spongy wheat gluten is braised in a sugar, soy sauce and Shaoxing wine marinade with rehydrated wood-ear mushrooms, resulting in bouncy cubes that soak up even more of whatever sauce they sit in.

In this case, it's a black-pepper laden oil finished with a spoonful of fried scallions, but, regardless of whichever protein you choose, these ganban (mixed) noodles are satisfyingly satiating.

Xiao Tao Mianguan 小陶面馆, 222 Jiashan Lu, by Yongjia Lu, 嘉善路222号, 近永嘉路.

Xian Wei Mianguan Huxian Mianguan 鲜味面馆·沪鲜面馆 

Cooked in a lightly fragrant scallion oil and soy sauce, the thicker wheat noodles at Xian Wei Mianguan Huxian Mianguan can be topped with diner’s choice of Red-Braised Beef (RMB26), thinly shredded Beef Tongue (RMB30), Fatty Beef (RMB25) or Spicy Beef (RMB18), the former of the two being the shop’s more popular plates.

Meat portions are generous, a filling meal for a matter of kuai

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

In addition to the meats, there’s also a solid lineup of soybean products, marinated eggs, and – our favorite – Lan Hua Gan (RMB3), a type of sweet and savory marinated tofu puff, sliced lengthwise but still connected at the base, that sponges up the excess sauce in all of its puffy layers.

Do yourself a favor and get two. 

Upon ordering at the counter, patrons can finish adorning their bowls themselves with free flow pickled tubers, cilantro, scallions, and a spicy potato paste, available on a side counter.

Service is friendly, the ingredients are fresh, the noodles are expertly al dente, and the vibe is classic Shanghainese canteen – you can’t ask for a better lunch option in the area. 

Xian Wei Mianguan Huxian Mianguan 鲜味面馆·沪鲜面馆,  61 Yangshupu Lu, by Huimin Lu, 杨树浦路61号, 近惠民路.

Xibo 锡伯

Regardless of province, liangpi (涼皮) – or cold skin noodles – is a venerated dish.

Originally from Shaanxi Province, these slippery, semi-translucent noodles can be made from all manner of rice flour, wheat flour, and even assorted bean and root vegetable flours (which then becomes a sister dish called liangfen).

The common thread that runs throughout is that the starch is separated from the gluten through a dough 'washing' process. The gluten itself can later be added back to the dish in the form of seitan – or kaofu.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

At Xibo, The Xinjiang Liangpi (RMB30) swim in a zippy chili and vinegar dressing, tossed with shredded cabbage and carrots, strips of wheat gluten, crunchy peanuts and fresh cilantro.

The dish is served cold, customarily eaten in the warmer months as a cooling dish, despite the heat from the spice. 

Xibo (Changshu Lu), 3/F, 83 Changshu Lu, by Julu Lu 常熟路833, 近巨鹿路.

Xibo (Fengsheng Li), 2/F, Building F, Lane 281, 16 Maoming Bei Lu, by Nanjing Xi Lu 茂名北路281弄16号F幢2楼, 近南京西路.

Xibo (The Springs), Rm 103, 1/F, Bldg 5, Shangpu Business Center, 99 Jiangwancheng Lu, by Songhu Lu 江湾城路99号尚浦商务中心5号楼1103, 近淞沪路.

Xibo ( MixC Suzhou Creek), LG191, 100 Fujian Bei Lu, by Tiantong Lu 福建北路100号万象天地东里LG191, 近天潼路.

READ MORE: Show Us Your Best Noods! 8 Bowls of Chinese #PastaPorn – Part I

Got a favorite noodle spot you’d like to see featured in our next noodle roundup? Feel free to add to the oodles of noodles by sharing the deets to

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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