UnTour Shanghai’s Food Tours in Sunday Times Magazine

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Sunday Times UnTour Shanghai

 

Self-proclaimed dumpling devotee Ellen Himelfarb ate her way through Shanghai for the Sunday Times Magazine, and along the way discovered UnTour Shanghai’s food tours. 

To get your fill of all the regional dumplings in Shanghai, come on our Hands-On Dumpling Delights tour, where you’ll eat xiaolongbao, boiled northeastern dumplings and more – plus you get to make your own shengjianbao (pan-fried dumplings).

 

Design Sponge’s City Guide Includes UnTour Shanghai’s Food Tours

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The wonderful design gurus over at Luru Home wrote up a city guide for Design Sponge back in March, featuring UnTour’s street food breakfast tour, as well as some other great options for eating, shopping, drinking and playing around the city.

Here’s what they said about us:

Hop on UnTour Shanghai’s Breakfast Tour to get an intimate peek at how the locals start their day. Fellow Shanghai entrepreneurs Jamie and Kyle lead a host of nuanced and refreshing tours around themes like dumplings and night markets.

Check out the article to read more about the best ways to explore Shanghai! And make sure you check out Luru’s gorgeous traditional textiles. They are fab housewarming gifts and gorgeous additions to any home!

Shanghai Food Competitions!

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Right now is a good time to have a little extra free on your hands for entering contests.  Here are two competitions, one big, one small-ish. Like a good tapa, good things do come in small packages, so we’ll start there.

Glutton Guide Shanghai: We’ve partnered with Talk Magazine to give out a combo free Street Eats Breakfast tour for 2 people + free copy of the city’s only digital foodie guidebook, Glutton Guide Shanghai. More details and info here, but all you really have to do is tag Talk on social media with a comment about your favorite street food stall to win! Basically we’re giving you a fish, but also teaching you how to fish, and all you have to do is type an @ symbol and 140 characters…Make us proud.

Twitter: @talkmagazinesh
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TalkMagazineShanghai
Instgram: @talkmagazinesh

FREE TRIP TO NEPAL: Ok, so this one is huge. Nepal needs our support and tourism dollars more than ever, so Sherpa’s (get it?) is offering an epic contest with round trip airfare, accommodations, tours, etc. for 2 people. It’s worth RMB15,000, which is basically more than you earn all month. Full info here, but here’s all you have to do:

-Get a photo of yourself posing as a Sherpa’s courier/logo, and post it to one of their social media sites (there’s one for everyone, including your grandma)
Post it to Instagram with hashtag #sherpascontest and #deliverme2nepal
Post it to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sherpasfooddelivery
Post it to their Weibo page (if you use that I’m sure you know where to look)
You can also send it to them as a photo message to wechat if for some reason that is even easier (keep it mind they may post it, so try to keep your pants on)
You can also leave it as a comment on a blog post: at blog.sherpa.com.cn.
I bet you could even just hand a printed out photo to a courier to see what would happen. Ya never know!

You can enter as many times as you like before September 30.

12 of China’s Craziest Street Foods by UnTour’s Chief Eating Officer

UnTour Shanghai’s Chief Eating Officer Jamie Barys wrote City Weekend’s cover story in February 2015, covering the weird and wonderful street foods in Shanghai you don’t see everyday.

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If you want to give them a try, join our Night Markets tour that covers two of Shanghai’s best late-night food streets (and samples several of the items in this article!).

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UnTour Shanghai Eats Taipei

We love a good food city, and that is exactly what Taipei is. In fact, we did nothing cultural the entire time except eat. And eating is cultural… Right?

We have several guides who hail from Taiwan, as well as one who married into the island and one whose dad was born there, so we’ve rounded up everyone’s recommendations. Here are some of UnTour’s favorite places to eat when they’re visiting across the Strait:

Night Markets: The first time I visited, we arrived around 10 p.m. and went straight to Raohe Jie 饶河街 for the night market. There’s a huge temple on the east entrance that’s lit up very nice at night too and is next to the 胡椒包 (pepper buns) vendor (most night markets have a few dishes that they’re well known for).

Shilin is the most famous market and gigantic, but I try to spend as little time there as possible. Still, the 大鸡排 is worth going for. It’s on Wenlin Lu, so you don’t actually have to go into the market lanes to get it (yes, they have stores in Shanghai but they’re not as good). Around the corner on is my favorite 雪花冰 place called 辛發亭. I switch between strawberry and peanut.

Ningxia Night Market — Even though it’s a smaller night market, it’s a local favorite for food. Deep fried taro balls, oyster omelette and sesame oil chicken noodles are all great.

For 热炒 (rechao – a big get-together-like meal), I often find myself at 品鱻 (Pin Xian) on 乐利路 (Leli Lu) near the Liuzhangli stop. The portions are small so you can try a bunch of different dishes, plus the seafood’s all out front so you can get an idea of what you’re ordering (dishes in Taiwan don’t always go by the same name, e.g. squid is 花枝 (huazhi) instead of 鱿鱼 (youyu).

IMG_6844Aquatic Addiction (上引水)

This place is kind of in between a nice seafood market and a number of Japanese restaurants. It’s also become a tourist mecca for Singaporeans and folks from HK. The owner of this place actually started out at a tiny little restaurant called Mitsui (also very good Japanese food) that we started eating at maybe 15 years ago, and it’s grown into a huge Japanese cuisine empire including this ‘market’. It’s a little difficult to get to, so would recommend taking a cab. They have options for raw bar, hot pot, sushi, and bbq. The wine by the glass option makes it particularly lovely, and they have a nice shaded patio.

Beef noodles (Niu Rou Mian) 老王記牛肉麵

Known by most people as the “Taoyuan” st. Beef Noodles, the actual restaurant name is: Lao Wang Ji Niu Rou Mian.  Here, the main thing you want to get is just beef noodles, with actual beef in it… some people prefer just soup and noodles, but their beef is usually pretty good. Of course it’s possible to get a bowl with a less tender cut, but overall it’s usually very good. I also like getting their pickled cabbage. This is the beef noodle that I grew up with and it’s been consistently delicious for the past 20+ years. This place also showed up in one of the NYTimes articles about good eats in Taipei. No. 15號, Taoyuan St, Taiwan 100

IMG_6888Da Wan Yakiniku (大腕烤肉)

A Japanese Yakiniku, this place doesn’t come cheap – but then again when does A10 Wagyu ever? The restaurant is tiny, the meat is grilled to order in front of you and the staff is beyond friendly. As my friend said recalling the last time we visited, “I think I had the best two mouthfuls of meat of the past 10 years in that place.” (The seafood ain’t bad either!). Just trust the recommendations from the staff and you’ll have a great meal.

Din Tai Fung (xiaolongbao aka soup dumplings)

No trip to Taiwan is complete without visiting one of the Din Tai Fung stores. Sure, they have chains all around the world now… but the stores in Taipei (maybe all of Taiwan) are significantly better than the ones elsewhere, maybe because of the pork suppliers. I now live in Shanghai, the actual birthplace of xiaolongbao, and I honestly think that the ones at DTF (in Taipei, and not SH) are much, much tastier. Most of the items on their menu are really good. Of course you have to get the original xlb, but their beef noodles are actually pretty good too, as well as their hot and sour soup (so much better than the crap you get at American Chinese restaurants) their fried pork chop, their stir-fried water spinach, and their fried rice (you can get it with shrimp or with the fried pork chop, both are excellent).

You can go to their original location, but all their other locations in Taipei are just as good, and the wait might be a tad shorter. There are a lot of good eats in the area around the original DTF, except after eating at DTF, you’re not really going to have room for anything else.

IMG_6913Ice Monster

The original store was located on Yongkang st. (near the flagship DTF) and is famed for creating fresh mango shaved ice over a decade ago. The couple that owned it got divorced or something and sold the original store on yongkang to someone else (it’s still a very popular tourist attraction for HK folks and the Japanese), and I think maybe the husband moved over to this new location. There is always a line – especially in the summer.

The mango shaved ice is very good of course, especially now that it’s mango season. I would also recommend the bubble milk tea shaved ice… it’s different and also really delicious, but can be a little cloying in the summer. There’s also a shaved tea and citrus ice that isn’t as awesome of a photo op, but more refreshing to consume in the heat. Either way, I suggest you bring someone with you so that you can try more than one type of shaved ice. They’re pretty big bowls too.

Popcorn Chicken

Taiwan’s First Popcorn Chicken Store(第一家雞創), No. 530-1, Bei’an Road, Zhongshan District,Taipei City

This style of popcorn chicken (and fried other things – squid legs, fish cakes – my favorite!, chicken cartilage, mushrooms, etc.) is a very, very popular street snack in Taiwan. This place is more of a store-front and they’re really good even though they’re a bit out of the way. That said, they’re right around the corner from an MRT station so it’s not impossible to get to.

Lan Jia Gua Bao 藍家割包 

IMG_6853The city’s best Gua Bao (Taiwanese hamburger with peanut powder, omg so goood). You can order half-fatty, half-lean or full-on either way. We recommend going right as it opens and you’ll get a seat, no problem.  Also do try the black sugar boba milk from the vendor across the street.
Address: 台北市中山區羅斯福路3段316巷8弄3號.  Roosevelt Blvd Sec. 3, Lane 316, Alley 8,
No.3 MRT: Gongguan station. Hours: 11am-10pm, closed on Wednesdays.

The places listed here are fairly solid too:

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093

 

In Taiwan, bubble tea is a must, the place they mention for bubble tea on the CNN list is supposed to be the store (now a chain) that created bubble tea. Other solid options include chains like ComeBuy and 50Lan. You can always adjust the sweetness/how much ice in each drink too.  You can also say more or less boba depending on your preferences. =)

 

UnTour Shanghai Dining Recs for Ho Chi Minh City

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UnTour guide Topher B. recently had some recommendations for some Shanghai guests who were heading to Ho Chi Minh City, and we wanted to share them with the world and hopefully make it a better place, one bite at a time. Here’s Topher’s thoughts:

I would highly recommend checking out this banh mi place. We walked past it the first night and there were 15 people waiting in line. I had it the next afternoon and it was really really good.

We went to Nha Hang Ngon on the first night, and I think that was a good choice. It’s a nice introduction to Vietnam street food (great prices) but also has gobs of atmosphere that make it nice enough for a date. The grilled shrimp was great, as was the dry vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and spring rolls (maybe get the pork on the side). We actually ended up eating here again for lunch after our flight was delayed.

Also on Pasteur Street, but pretty far away was a really good pho place: Pho Hoa Pasteur. Apparently there are tons of pho places around the world that name themselves after this place, and it’s definitely my kind of restaurant.

We went with a big group of people to this place: Cuc Gach Quan. There’s a sister restaurant across the street too. They had a really good tofu dish, an eggplant dish, and a fantastic fish soup. It’s pretty hard to find, but it seems like it’s really popular and a great date place.

Last but not least, I’d recommend Fanny’s Ice Cream.

We did a lot of walking around the Reunification Palace, the park to the east of that on the way to the church, and then south of that towards the river. The big market is so-so in my opinion, although worth checking out. We did the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Both are good, although the War Remnants Museum can be depressing.

Definitely keep an eye out for the huge number of electrical wires that slink around downtown in huge gobs. It can get interesting.

When taxiing around, we were recommended Vinasun or Mai Linh. Don’t feel bad about leap frogging other taxis to get to those. We never had any problems with them (although they generally rounded up the fare on the meter).

And go with the flow when crossing the street. The scooters will go around you.

Sherry, another guide for UnTour’s Dumpling Delights tour, also recommends local tour operator Back of the Bike Tours for a great food tour option (a highlight of her trip!).

Here are some more posts from #UnTourOnTheRoad:

Beijing & Xi’anMore BeijingMore Xi’an

Qinghai

Kuala Lumpur, Penang & Langkawi

Tokyo

UnTour’s Street Food Breakfast Featured in Financial Times

Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day, and there’s no better place to eat it than on the streets of Shanghai! The Financial Times Bureau Chief agrees with us, and tagged along on our Street Eats – Breakfast Tour to discover some of the best places that have not been already torn down.

Check out their article for a video of the breakfast tour. Here are some highlights:

In a city such as Shanghai, which celebrates its futuristic skyscrapers and hides historic neighbourhoods out of embarrassment, eating street food for breakfast may be the closest that most westerners get to traditional Chinese culture. And the best way to get up to speed on where to go — and how to tell a bun from a dumpling — is to take the “Street Eats Breakfast” tour, run by the offbeat guides UnTour.

When the FT recently tagged along, Pennsylvanian Mitch Conquer, our guide, taught us everything from how to slurp the soup out of scalding dumplings, to the creation myth of the baozi (which holds that the buns were filled with meat and shaped like human heads to offer as sacrifices when plague hit a Chinese army nearly two millennia ago). Rival that, you cornflake connoisseurs.

We may just make that our new tagline…

Read more here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d916babe-8a12-11e4-9b5f-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz3Wxiummgj

UnTour Ranked #1 in Travel + Leisure’s Best Shanghai Tours

Travel + Leisure listed the best companies to use when touring Shanghai, and UnTour ranked first. Writer Hart Hagerty said:

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1. UnTour

While Shanghai has no shortage of fine dining and local eateries, many visitors can find it intimidating or overwhelming to get an authentic taste of real China. Enter UnTour Shanghai, a young food tour company giving exciting, delicious culinary excursions throughout the city. A foodie’s dream, their tours—which invite guests to gorge themselves on traditional street foods from breakfast bites to hearty dumplings—give visitors an unforgettable taste of Shanghai’s culinary underbelly.

So whether you’re looking for a street food tour of Shanghai’s best breakfasts, a Night Markets tour of the city’s most mouthwatering late night snacks or a dumpling tour that traverses the country’s jiaozi map without ever leaving the former French Concession, remember UnTour Shanghai!

UnTour Shanghai’s Dumpling Delights Food Tour Featured on The Lost Boy Lloyd

Filipino travel blogger The Lost Boy Lloyd joined UnTour Shanghai’s Hands-On Dumpling Delights Tour in the fall of 2014. Check out his experience and his mouthwatering pictures at his blog.

Here are a few highlights:

We found ourselves a little later at our first stop, a row of hawker stalls selling food to-go. Upon seeing us approaching, the man selling potstickers or guotie fired up his pan and began cooking nimbly.

UnTour Shanghai Dumpling Food Tour Guotie

 

Nothing beats a fresh xiaolongbao dipped in tasty black vinegar and eaten at an authentic Shanghai eatery!

UnTour Shanghai Soup Dumpling

Everything was hands-on and from-scratch in making our pan-fried buns or shengjian bao—from mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough to meticulously folding the dumplings and finally cooking them… I’m proud to say the dumplings I made looked beautiful and tasted good!

Shengjianbao on UnTour Shanghai Food Tour