Tag Archives: French Concession

Saved by the Sandwich at Sunflour

After a month of eating nothing but Chinese food, I hit a wall that every laowai (or expat) living in China must hit–I simply could not stomach anymore Chinese food.  The thought of another bowl of niu rou mian (beef noodle soup), or  another plate of sheng jian bao (pan fried dumplings), or even my favorite Shanghainese dish hong shao rou (soy sauce braised pork), made me grimace.

But thankfully for me, there is an abundance of delicious and affordable Western restaurants and cafes in Shanghai, catering to the thousands of hungry and homesick expats living in the city.  My favorite among them was Sunflour, located a few short clocks from my apartment on tree-lined Anfu Road.

Sunflour Cafe quite literally saved me from starvation, on that fateful day in Shanghai when I was lost amidst a sea of Chinese restaurants.  After a few hours of wandering around the French Concession in search of an affordable, non-Chinese lunch option, I was about to give up and go home, when I turned the corner onto Anfu Road and discovered Sunflour.  Immediately lured in by the smell of fresh baked bread and pastries, I decided to give their lunch menu a try and ordered the grilled chicken sandwich with tomato, rocket, avocado, and mayo on a baguette (50 RMB).

The sandwich was phenomenal.  The baguette, baked in-house, had a crisp exterior and soft, airy interior that held up well under the moist grilled chicken.  I loved the addition of tomatoes, avocado, and rocket arugula–a combination of fresh ingredients that one would certainly find in my home state of California.  Accompanied by a lovely bean salad, Sunflour’s grilled chicken sandwich was a steal at 50 RMB (just under $8 USD), and was just what I needed to refuel after a long and hot summer day in Shanghai.

I couldn’t leave Sunflour without sampling one (or rather, all) of their delectable macarons.  I split a gift box of macarons (50 RMB) with a friend, which included a lovely assortment of six macarons.  My favorite flavor was the lemon, a refreshing end to a refreshing meal.

Sunflour
Room 104, No. 322, An Fu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
上海徐汇区安福路322号104室
6473 7757

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Noodle Bull’s Aromatic Beef Noodle Soup

One of my first meals since arriving in Shanghai was one of the best: braised beef noodle soup at Noodle Bull.  A sleek, minimalist interior gives the impression that Noodle Bull may not be authentic, but this is clearly a misimpression. 

I ordered their infamous, traditional beef noodle soup (30-35 RMB), and a glass of their housemade suan mei tang (sour plum juice).  The beef broth in the noodle soup was incredibly aromatic (possibly from the addition of star anise), with a soothing and savory flavor.  It was rich without being overly greasy or full of MSG.  The beef was tender, with just the right amount of fat melting in your mouth.  I also enjoyed the vegetables, which added some freshness to the dish. 

Surprisingly, the suan mei tang quite enjoyable.  I am generally not a fan of the drink because it is usually too tart for my taste, but Noodle Bull’s version had a nice balance of sweet and sour, with a deep plum flavor.

With good food, cheap prices, and a refined atmosphere, it’s no wonder why foreigners and locals alike flock to Noodle Bull.

Noodle Bull
A Mansion, 1/F, 291 Fumin Lu, near Changle Lu
富民路291号1楼, 近长乐路
(86 21) 6170 1299

Song Fang Maison de The: A Lovely Teahouse in Shanghai’s French Concession

Possibly my favorite place in Shanghai, Song Fang Maison de The is a lovely teahouse in the French Concession featuring premium Chinese and French teas.  The teahouse is a labor of love from owner Florence Sampson, a Paris native and longtime Shanghai resident.  Every detail, from the vintage tin cans lining the shelves, to the old-fashioned Chinese bird cages hanging from bamboo rods on the ceiling, to the elegant floral patterned cushions, adds to the charm and whimsy of the shop.  You certainly pay a premium for the tea, priced at 40-70 RMB per pot, but it is certainly worth it for the quality of the tea an sheer loveliness of the shop.   

Partly because I am pressed for time, and partly because Song Fang is so pictureque, I will keep the descriptions short and let the photos speak for themselves. 

Song Fang’s signature tea tins 

Third floor seating area. 

Song Fang features both a Chinese and a French tea menu.  The above photo is of the Chinese tea set, with naixiang oolong cha.  The tea was very aromatic, with some floral and even milky notes.  My friend and I absolutely loved the tiny tea cup and the adorable frog ceramic teapot.   

The French teas are served in whimsical Western-style teaware.  I enjoyed the China Blue tea (60 RMB), a pleasantly fruity white tea with coconut, blackberry, and orange.  My friend and I also shared a slice of freshly baked peach cake (40 RMB), which was light, buttery, and utterly delectable.  

Despite the fairly steep prices, Song Fang Maison de The may be my favorite teahouse in Shanghai.  With its charming setting, high quality teas, and knowledgable staff, Song Fang is definitely worth paying a premium for.

Song Fan Maison de The
227 Yongjia Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu
永嘉路227号, 近陕西南路
Shanghai 200031
(86 21) 6433-8283