UnTour’s Food Tours Ranks in Top 11 Cool Things to Do in Shanghai

Shanghai Food Tour UnTour

When Hannah Berry George of Metro UK came to Shanghai for just 72 hours, she declared 11 Cool Things to See & Do in the City. The list ticked off some of our favorite spots in the city – Tianzifang, M50 and a massage to beat the jet lag – but ranked third was UnTour Shanghai’s Hands-On Dumpling Delights Tour.

3. Take an UnTour Dumpling Delights Tour

If there’s one thing you do, make sure you eat the 芝麻汤圆 Zhima tangyuan – a black sesame paste glutinous rice ball that looks like a lychee and tastes like a sugar puff – at Qibao Laojie Tangyuan.

Zhima tangyuan – a black sesame paste glutinous rice ball  

 

Available every Tuesday & Saturday at 10am for RMB 550 per person, including a hands-on cooking class where we make Shanghai’s classic shengjianbao, click here to book your dumpling tour now!

 

How to Spend 72 Hours in Shanghai? With UnTour!

untour shanghai food tours

Katie Wright of The Irish Examiner didn’t get a visa when she came to Shanghai. She took advantage of the 72 Hour Visa-Free Program and spent several of those hours with UnTour, experiencing the Hands-On Dumpling Delights food tour.

If you want to taste authentic Shanghainese food, but you don’t want to end up with traveller’s tummy, book yourself on a four-hour Untour street food sampler. All dishes are included in the price (€57) and Mandarin-speaking American guides will, crucially, explain how to eat a piping hot juice-filled pork dumpling, without giving yourself third-degree burns.

Use your time wisely in Shanghai, and book a Hands-On Dumpling Delights tour with UnTour, available every Tuesday and Saturday at 10am.

Our original dumplings tour, with a cooking class! For more than 2,000 years, Chinese chefs and home cooks have been perfecting dumplings in all their delicious bite-sized forms. Carried abroad by Silk Road travelers over the centuries, dumplings are popular around the world, but nothing tops the original! From streetside stalls frying up potstickers to a family-owned boiled dumpling spot from China’s frigid northeast, we’ll taste the best dumplings Shanghai has to offer, including the city’s famous xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). You’ll also get to try your hand at making your own shengjianbao, Shanghai’s famous pan-fried buns.

Tour ticket price includes:

– UnTour Shanghai Welcome Pack
– All food and drink during the UnTour
– Bilingual guide

Shanghai’s Best Cat Cafe

cat cafe, shanghai, coffee, Untour Shanghai

Shanghai’s best cat café has arrived, and it’s the cats meow. Ok, I haven’t visited any others, but there’s just no need. At Funny Cat Café Bar there are nine friendly kitties wandering the homey living room, looking for love in all the right places.

Mila is a white, smoosh-faced ball of fluff that wears an angry expression, but is probably the most cuddly of them all. She doesn’t hesitate to come over and see what you’re drinking and ask for a scratch behind the ears.

The other cats roam the room or lounge in their tower of cages or beds spread throughout the one-room coffeehouse. A select few, including an adorable kitten get a VIP bed in front of a glowing-red space heater that really does look like a slice of heaven.

The coffee is not the best you’ve ever had, but our latte was more than fine. The Wi-fi, however, is excellent compared to some of the big-name chains fulil of people, so it’s a decent place to do work, although the tables aren’t quite at the right height, and you may have a kitty that finds your keyboard to be an inviting warm bed. Did I mention my latte came in a Garfield-foot mug?

All in all, it’s definitely worth a shot for anyone looking to spend a little cuddle time with some kitties, without the commitment of actually owning one full time. You may need to be patient, it did take a few minutes for the kitties to warm up to me and come over, but many eventually did.

Located in the heart of the former French Concession area, this friendly cat-cafe is within walking distance from Tianzifang/Taikang Lu/田子坊 or the Jiashan Lu Metro stop, or the Shaanxi Nan Lu Metro Stop

Address: 263 Yongjia Lu, near Jiashan Lu. 永嘉路263号斤嘉善路。

Join UnTour Shanghai every Tuesday and Sunday at 8am to explore the city’s best morning snacks on the Street Eats – Breakfast tour, including a coffee stop at the city’s best coffee shop (non cat-related, sorry!).

SMH Experiences Shanghai Dining with UnTour

jianbing untour shanghai

The Sydney Morning Herald joined UnTour Shanghai for a bite of the city’s best morning snacks on the Street Eats – Breakfast tour and loved it! Check out their recommendations here, or read below for more info:

Twenty four million people live in Shanghai. Many begin their day with a bowl of warm freshly pressed dou jiang (soy milk), either sweetened or salty, served with youtiao, deep-fried donut-like bread sticks. Piping-hot bowls of tiny wontons swimming in broth, dotted with dried shrimp and strips of egg, are also a favourite.

Keen to sample a range of breakfast, or street food delicacies? A street food tour might be in order. UnTour Shanghai (www.untourshanghai.com) offers a Hands-On Dumplings Delights Tour and a Street Eats Breakfast Tour.

Join UnTour Shanghai every Tuesday and Sunday at 8am to explore the city’s best morning snacks on the Street Eats – Breakfast tour!

UnTour Shanghai’s Food Tours in The Arbuturian

UnTour Shanghai dumpling tour

David Constable from The Arbuturian recently joined UnTour Shanghai on a Hands-On Dumpling Delights Tour during his 72 hour whirlwind visit to Shanghai. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

It’s the local stalls and hole-in-the-wall businesses of dumplings that overwhelmingly reveals the true Shanghai food scene. In the tiny bolthole noodle houses throughout the French Concession, there’s a communal loosening of manners as bodies hunch over steaming bowls of noodles and dumplings…and slurp.

Dumplings here are of the highest quality. They pop in the mouth as a scalding broth releases from inside and mixes with fillings of pork and flash-fried shrimp. Sometimes the soupy mix is so hot, it burns your tongue and stings like a Satan fart in your mouth, but such is the meaty-inferno taste, that you return for another.

The best way to discover Shanghai’s street food is by booking a tour. If you can latch-on to a local with a lifetime of dumpling-experience, they’ll guide you through the variable options. UnTours are well established and renowned for their use of local guides. The company was created by American and Shanghai resident Jamie Barys who, despite her Tennessee twang and southern upbringing, must surely be in the running for Shanghai’s premier Dumpling Queen? Her business card lists her occupation as “Chief Eating Officer” – ohhhh man, I want that title.

Ready to eat your way through Shanghai’s dumpling scene? Book a spot on our Hands-On Dumpling Delights tour here and you’ll sample regional varieties AND make your own with our interactive cooking class.

Get 20% UnTour Shanghai Gift Certificates This Holiday Season!

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We’ve Got the Foodie On Your List Covered.

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the foodie in your life? UnTour Shanghai is offering 20% off all gift certificate purchases until Boxing Day!

Just enter the code “happyholidays2015” in the promotion code box during purchase of your gift certificate. Why not try our recently-redesigned Night Markets tour? We’ve revamped it to be even more delicious. We’re not just saying that – TimeOut said it too!If you’ve enjoyed our Night Markets tour before and want a taste of these unforgettable wontons, we’ll be here all holiday long, showing off Shanghai’s smoky, afterdark look.

We’ve also launched Glutton Guide Melbourne, so if you’re planning a trip down under for a beach-y Christmas, this is your guide to the city’s best coffee roasteries, donut shops, wine day trips, hidden laneway bars and so much more. (As always, Glutton Guide Shanghai is also available for all your xiaolongbao needs.)

May your holidays be delicious and your hungerlust never be sated!

Audrey Voyage: “My Food Tour of Shanghai in La Presse”

Journalist Audrey Voyage joined UnTour Shanghai for our Street Eats – Breakfast food tour. She wrote about the experience in French at La Presse and then translated it to English for her blog here.

Here’s an excerpt:

In between delicious stops where we get to try various local breakfasts, our guide tells us the story of Shanghai and its culinary traditions. We taste a youtiao (a stretched out doughnut), a wonton soup (a bowl of chicken broth with pork, prawn and bok choy wontons), two types of dumplings and a cifantuan (a fried dough holding glutinous rice with a filling of sugar and sesame or of vegetables, pork and duck egg). It’s thejian bing (a savoury thin pancake with eggs, green onions and hot sauce) that wins our heart. The group tours from Untour Shanghai are offered in English, but it’s also possible to take a private tour in French.

Where to Eat in Ji’nan, Shandong

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Located a few hours away by train from Shanghai, Ji’nan is the capital of the Shandong province. Known for it’s artesian springs within the metro area, Ji’nan also has a vibrant history (it was first settled over 4000 years ago), and a burgeoning food culture that is perfect for those looking for a weekend away from Shanghai.

Finding English speakers in Ji’nan is a bit more difficult than in Shanghai, so it may be a good idea to take a Chinese speaker with you. That said, Topher – one UnTour’s Night Markets guide who previously lived in Ji’nan – has given you the address in Chinese, along with some suggested dishes to order. Keep in mind that serving sizes of Ji’nan food are much more generous than in Shanghai.

You Xuan Zhang – 油旋

纬三路(经四路路口)

Breakfast snack, really only one or two things to order here:

油旋 – light onion pancake, you’ll want 2-3 to come close to filling up

甜沫 – a somewhat flavorless porridge that is usually ordered alongside the you xuan (pancake)

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Lao Dong Jia – 老董家

佛山街中段35号佛山苑小区(银座商城南侧300米)

Homestyle Ji’nan food, suggested dishes:

黄瓜拌油条: an appetizer dish with cucumbers, fried dough sticks, sesame, and garlic

风味茄子: “tasty” eggplant that’s sweet, salty, a bit spicy, and mouth numbing

黄焖鸡: chicken stewed in a sweetened light soy sauce

两吃里脊: fried pork with two dipping sauces: sweet and sour, and salt and pepper

泰山原奖啤酒: a delicious wheat beer from Tai’an, a city south of Ji’nan

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Di Ji Crayfish and Snails (night time only) 记龙虾田螺炒

纬一路与经五路

Excellent way to spend an evening (gets started around sunset)

小龙虾 – crayfish, you can tell them how spicy you want them but they won’t go crazy on you

炒鸡 – chicken stir fry with green peppers and potatoes

田螺 – stir-fried snails, a lot of work but everyone else is having them

花生毛豆拼盘 – a small mixed plate of boiled peanuts and edamame

炒花菜 – stir-fried cauliflower, just about the only veggie that people eat there

扎啤 – get a small keg of Ji’nan’s local beer for your evening (and prepare for locals to come up and cheers you)

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If you have time, a visit to Ji’nan’s Muslim district for some BBQ is highly recommended. The place that I would always go to has moved, but the family who runs it is super kind. It’s called 伟伟烧烤 (Wei Wei’s BBQ) and taxi drivers probably won’t know it. If you’d like to go, it’s probably easiest to take a taxi to the south entrance of the Muslim district at 源大街与永, then walk north past the Chinese style mosque on your left. They’ll be another mosque soon after with an onion dome and a smokestack behind it. Turn right there and walk about 50 meters. Wei Wei’s will be on your left. Drop my name (Toufa – 头发) and you’ll be treated like royalty. They have a daughter who speaks decent English too.

Order the beef, lamb, and some bbq bread. 牛肉串,羊肉串,

Ji'nan skewers

Sightseeing-wise, there aren’t a whole lot of obvious places in Ji’nan. Locals will suggest Baotu Spring, Thousand Buddha Mountain, and Daming Lake. Those are the places where tourists busses stop. They’re worth a visit, but I suggest keeping your expectations in check. I usually recommend visiting Black Tiger Spring (黑虎泉) as an alternative, as it’s more community oriented but still pretty. Near that area in old Ji’nan, see if you can find the Prince’s Pool (王府池子) hidden down an alleyway. North of that is Qushuiting Street (曲水亭街), which was voted the loveliest lane in Ji’nan a few years ago. There is good hiking (or step climbing) south of the city in the mountains. I used to go to Big Buddha Head (大佛头) behind Thousand Buddha Mountain. There’s also the old Austrian cathedral at the Shandong University old campus.

If you’d like to learn more about Chinese street food in Shanghai, please join UnTour Shanghai for our Night Markets, Street Eats-Breakfast or Hands-On Dumpling Delights Tours.

 

Glutton Guide Melbourne Takes Tourists Off the Eaten Path

Glutton Guide Melbourne Cover

Glutton Guide: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook is on a mission to help tourists eat like locals. First published in Shanghai in June 2015, the digital culinary guidebook series launched its Melbourne dining guide this month, offering a curated collection of dining experiences by one of the city’s foremost foodie experts.

The author of Glutton Guide Melbourne is Monique Bayer. A Melbourne native and the owner of Walk Melbourne, a culinary tour company, she is also the author of Devouring Melbourne: Uncovering a Delicious City. Monique knows all too well how much research is necessary to create a delicious meal-based itinerary. She believes there is nothing worse than a mouthful wasted on mediocre guidebook recommendations or outdated online listings when exploring a new country.

“Designed by a Melbourne foodie for foodies, Glutton Guide is all you’ll need to plan a memorable meal-based trip, highlighting the city’s most delicious foods,” Monique says. “More than just a book of listings, you’ll find an overview of the best food experiences in Melbourne and her surrounds, including the most respected coffee roasters the city is famous for. This gets you off the tourist trail and eating the best dishes at each restaurant, shoulder to shoulder with local diners.”

By concentrating just on the F&B offerings of a city, Glutton Guide Melbourne’s focus is narrower than broad-strokes guidebooks, picking up where these books fall short by using locally-based author-eaters, like Monique, who know the city’s dining scene inside and out. Unlike travel writers who come and go, these locals bring their thorough understanding and knowledge of the city to each edition, updated regularly as the dining scene evolves.

Alley -iphoneGlutton Guide goes beyond simple restaurant listings by providing a comprehensive look at the city’s dining scene. The Melbourne edition covers everything from neighborhood guides featuring the best eats around the city to day trips in the Yarra Valley wine county — plus everything in between, including the city’s best bars and handy translations to where to try ‘roo for the first time.

Glutton Guide Melbourne is available for download from our website, Amazon’s Kindle store or Apple’s iBooks store from US$6.99.

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About Glutton Guide: Founded in June 2015, Glutton Guide is the first and only global, locally written guidebook series to focus solely on the dining scene of its destinations. Its mission is to ensure no traveler falls into a tourist trap when eating their way through a new city. The Glutton Guide series is written by locally-based food professionals in cities across the globe that they call home and are updated regularly to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.

About the Author: Monique Bayer owns Walk Melbourne Tours (www.walkmelbourne.com.au). She shares Melbourne’s stories while sharing food. Her walking tours focus on the things that locals love – coffee, dumplings, rooftop bars and the city’s laneways and arcades. She loves exploring her hometown with visitors and uncovering its treasures for them. She says, “If you haven’t seen Melbourne on foot, you missed the best bits”. Monique’s first book ‘Devouring Melbourne: uncovering a delicious city’ contains six self-guided food and drink themed walking tours of Melbourne with stories of the people and places you’ll meet along the way. She is the winner of the 2014 Victorian Tourism Award for Youth Achievement.

About the Publishers: Jamie Barys and Kyle Long are the co-founders of the Glutton Guides series and co-writers of the Shanghai edition. Collectively, they have lived in China for more than 14 years. They believe that the best way to get to know a culture is to eat your way through it, which is why they have been writing about food and travel for nearly a decade. In addition to Glutton Guide, they founded UnTour Shanghai, the city’s leading food tour company (www.untourshanghai.com).

Where to Eat in Chengdu

eating chengdu food

Love spicy food? Sichuan is the province to beat in China for fiery fare. The region’s ideal geographical features make it a perfect site for foraging and growing great produce, and UNESCO recognized the the city as a “City of Gastronomy” in 2010 – the first Asian city it bestowed the honor on, in part thanks to its history as a the start of the southern Silk Road route, where it served as China’s entry point to exotic vegetables and spices from Central and Western Asia. Here are some of UnTour Shanghai guide Mitch’s favorite restaurants when he heads out to Chengdu:

Mushroom Restaurant in Chengdu:

Restaurant that specializes in all mushroom dishes. Some amazing offerings but my favorite two are:   Mushroom buns 菌包 & Mushroom soup 菌类汤

JiuPin FengShan ZhenBao Restaurant 九品风山珍宝酒楼

Ke Hua Middle Road New 11, Chengdu, China

武侯区 科华中路新11号(武警一支队对面)

Phone: 028-85212323

Chinese Link. English(-ish) Link.

Most Authentic/Delicious Tibetan Restaurant We’ve Ever Been To:

Lots of monks eat here; on the third floor across from Holly’s Hostel. We really liked: Sweet Mare’s Milk Tea, Yogurt, Yak meat pot, Potato dumplings, Jiaozi and the little highland tubers in sour yak butter (cannot remember what they’re called o_O).

Langqin Pozhang (former Elephant)

郎钦颇丈朗丈 (象王藏传私房菜)

246 Wuhouci Da Jie No. 15, Chengdu

成都武侯祠大街246号附15号

Phone: (028) 13228118833

Chinese link. FourSquare. English Link.

 

Chen Mapo Doufu – the classic spicy Sichuanese tofu & pork dish

197 Xi Yu Long St | West Jade Dragon St, Chengdu 610015, China

青羊区 西玉龙街197号(近交通银行省分行)

Chinese Link .English Link.

 

Fine Chinese Dining

Also for a more up-scale tasting by one of the best chefs in Chengdu, check out Yu’s Family Kitchen.

And here are a couple recommendations for specific dishes native to the region:

You must eat Dandan Mian (担担面). This is a snack-sized bowl of noodles that people eat all day, with peanut sauce, chili oil. A good place to eat it is at Xiaoming Tang Dandan Tianshui Mian (小名堂担担甜水面) which has a few branches around town. To numb the spiciness, also get a bowl of the sugar noodles (tianshuimian, 甜水面) which is another specialty they do.

Little wontons in spicy chili oil called Chaoshou (抄手) is another classic. You can get them in a lot of places, but one place I used to go was a small place called Laoma Chaoshou (老麻抄手)

Another specialty is skewers of food served in chili and numbing spice bowls called Chuanchuan Xiang (串串香) which literally translates to fragrant skewers. This is more of a nighttime thing to eat, you can try them at Kangerjie Chuanchuanxiang (康二姐串串香) which is located on the Middle Walking Street (中大街) but you’ll see places around the city.

Something else that you must do if settle in at one of the teahouses by the lake in peoples park (人民公园) or in the Donghu Garden (东湖公园)if the weather is nice. Drinking tea and people watching is a classic Chengdu Activity.

You can also check out this interview we did with Robyn Eckhardt of Eating Asia fame – she loves devouring her way through Chengdu.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Sichuan cuisine, but aren’t heading that far west on this trip, hop on our Night Markets tour where we finish at a local Sichuan restaurant for a few fiery dishes.