Written by Alice Li, this is a chapter of the KCIS Survival Guide.
This guide was sent to all new teachers coming to teach at the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

If you are interested in trying Chinese food, there are a lot of good restaurants in Huaqiao. Generally, Chinese food is cheap and delicious. I recommend these five places for different kinds of Chinese food:

1. Traditional Beijing Hotpot/Lao Beijing

Average cost: 70 RMB per person

Here you get to try Chinese northern style hot-pot in the traditional way: a bronze pot with a small chimney heated by charcoal. There are 3 kinds of soup base: plain, mushroom flavored and spicy. Choose one base you like, or you can do two as well.

Order sliced meat (lamb or beef), leaves, mushrooms, tofu, boodles and many more. The dipping sauce is charged per person (6 RMB). You can find sesame paste, peanut butter, chili oil, leek sauce, soy sauce and so on. Mix them together to create your own. When the soup is boiling add the raw food for a short time.

The food cooks right in front of you! Pick it out of the pot with your chopsticks and dip it into your sauce – and ENJOY!

Must try: lamb, beef, see-you-tomorrow pin mushroom, fried dough sticks, crystal noodles and fresh tofu.

2. My Old Classmate

Average cost: 60 RMB per person

If you like spicy food, this is a good place to go. My Old Classmate features Sichuan cuisine, so more than half of the dishes are spicy. Its setting is quite different; the dining table is a copycat of the old-style desks in Chinese classrooms. Dishes and chopsticks are placed in the desk drawer. It is always crowded on Friday night so go early or make reservations.

Must try: mushroom buns, sliced beef and cucumber in hot chili oil, sliced chicken with bones in hot chili oil, crispy chicken strips, Chinese style beef steak served with 3 creamy mango rolls and stir fried potato chips with sour and spicy sauce.

3. My Family Style Fish with Pickles

Average cost: 60 RMB per person

Freshly cooked black fish is the specialty of this place. Both the fish and the soup are so fresh. A waiter will catch a fish alive in front of you, weight it, and pass to the chef to slice it. The fish is then served in a big ceramic pot with pickle soup. The soup can be made mild, a little bit spicy or really spicy. You don’t have to worry about fish bones. The fish slices don’t have many bones. This place also serves really good parathas with all kinds of flavors. The pineapple one is the best.

Must try: pineapple parathas and a little bit of spicy soup base

4. Yang’s Dumplings

Average cost: 30 RMB per person

This is the must eat food in Shanghai. Pan fried pork buns/dumplings are the most famous food in Shanghai and Yang’s Dumplings is a newborn chain restaurant. It was three kinds of buns: pork, pork with vegetables and shrimp. They are all really good.

The correct way to eat this kind of bun is to first bite the wrap to open it, then give it a few seconds to cool down, suck the juice and finally eat the remainder. Be prepared for a stream of hot liquid squirting everywhere if you’re not careful! Yang’s has a few kinds of side fishes and noodle soups as well.

Must try: shrimp buns, and sour crystal beef noodle soup

P.S. A Hui’s Dumplings is a copycat of Yang’s. There is one at the Pyramids next to My Bakery and one on Guangming Road. There is also a dumpling shop in the E-mart food court.

5. Zhonghe Wang’s Taiwan Style Noodle House

Average cost: 25 RMB per person

This little place serves good noodle soups and rice combos with low price. According to the waitresses, the rice grains used in the restaurant are shipped from Taiwan. It does taste good. Except fried food, everything else is served really fast.

Must try: fried chicken leg, braised pork with rice and beef noodle soup.

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