Dumplings, chicken wings, tofu, lotus, watermelon and Tsingtao beer. It can’t get any more Chinese. Or Cheap! Nanging pedestrian street is not the first thing that comes to mind for affordable food. Aside from chicken feet on a stick or over-fried chicken wings sold on the street, food prices can be pretty steep in the area.

This magical yet potentially stomach upsetting meal is offered by Jinjiang Inn between 11:15 and 14:00 then again between 17:15 and 20:30. So if you’re on a budget and have a steel stomach – you can save a lot of money by eating here once or even twice a day.

It can be easy to miss the Inn. We actually stumbled in by accident on our way to Shanghai First Foodhall. The address is 680 Nanjing Road pedestrian street and the eating area is on the second floor. As long as you arrive before 13:30, you’ll be let in and there will be plenty of time to sufficiently stuff your face.

Vegetarians may want to avoid this place. When I said there was tofu, I didn’t mention the meat that’s stuffed inside it. It’s also served on top of the mystery-meat meatballs. Pediatricians are better off and can enjoy “fish gluten” which are some sort of fish balls. Despite being a sushi fiend, I did not enjoy these at all.

Non meat options include toast, sweet bread desserts, lotus, cooked cabbage, some other steamed veggies and of course, watermelon and kumquats. However, I assume that the selection of food varies by season. We came here in early February.

Finally, there’s drinks. Tea, surprisingly good coffee, several sodas, orange juice and of course, over-sized bottles of Tsingtao. After Snow, this is the second most popular beer in the entire world! Most Westerners will turn up their noses at the 2-3% beer.

Although Tsingtao only has a one-out-of-five star rating on RateBeer, a draft lager at the Qingdao brewery is a completely different story. The real thing is 4.6% alcohol and a much higher rating, so don’t be too quick to judge all Tsingtao beers!

Anyway, 39 RMB ($5.5) is definitely the best deal you will ever get on all you can eat and drink in China. Don’t expect a gourmet meal, you get what you pay for. I definitely recommend this place for a cheap meal or if you want to try a wide variety of Chinese food without breaking the bank. Thank you Jinjiang Inn for offering budget travelers an alternative to Western fast-food!

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