Inspired by kitw, I've decided to share some of my favorite cheap eats in my current home for the time being. Hopefully, all you other folks in the 'hai will chime in as well and get something going...
Of course, cheap is "relative" here. If you only think in Western prices, then you can include most places outside 5 star hotels, the Bund or Xintiandi. But even by local Chinese standards, where there are all manner of hole in the wall places and street vendors that will fill you up for a few kuai, there are still some that stand out from the rest.
So, without further ado, five places that I think are really great for the money.
[For non China-residents, to get some perspective on the prices, 8 RMB =~ 1 USD.]
1. Lanzhou Muslim noodle place - a bunch of locations around town.
A full and hearty dish of noodles, lamb, sauce for 4 RMB. The menu is pretty extensive too, mostly within the 5 RMB bracket. It's run by a family, and watching them pull the and stretch noodles is a treat in and of itself.
2. Rendezvous Cafe - Xujiahui by Metro City; Jingan Temple; maybe others too
For homesick Americans, it's the best bang for the buck/RMB when it comes to burgers. Where else can you get a full meal for under 40 RMB? It's quite a step up quality-wise from Mickey D's or Burger King, and yet, a much better value than the overrated Malone's.
3. Dumpling place - Changle Lu and Wulumuqi Lu
Hearty portions and pretty good stuff, like a basket's worth of xiaolongbao for 6 RMB. This place near my office is packed during lunch for good reason.
Most of McD's I don't consider a good value (although it's less than the USA)... except the self serve cones (圆筒冰其林). 2 RMB... fills you up and gets you going on a hot summer day like nothing else. The taste and texture is much better than the equivalent in the states.
5. Wujiang Lu - the whole street, near Shimen Yi Lu subway station
A quaint little street full of ethnic food vendors, stalls, and small places; sample stuff from all over China.
I tag... all Shanghai-resident readers/stalkers of this blog! Make an entry on your own blog with a top 5 or so places that are cheap (relatively speaking). Include your favorite dishand what makes the restaurant great.
(I just happen to have a bevy of friends from the USA and Asiaconverging on Shanghai next week, so this might actually be useful inthe very near future too! =) )