Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email

or

Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

Non-descript is the best way to describe Xiaoping Fandian’s storefront. Its plain-Jane décor would never make you stop and take notice – the first floor looks more like a hotel check-in than a restaurant – but walk by around any meal time, and the scrum of waiting diners speaking in rapid-fire Shanghainese will turn your head. Where there are this many speakers of the local dialect, there’s bound to be delicious local food.

Upstairs, you’ll discover that Xiaoping Fandian is a multi-level home with former bedrooms and an attic space that have been converted into private dining rooms with lazy Susans. A few smaller tables are scattered in the hallway and living room for good measure. The vibe matches the food, which is benbang, or home-style Shanghainese cuisine, and feels like something that might come out of your waipo’s kitchen, if your grandmother was a skilled home chef.

Once you try excellent Shanghainese cuisine, you’ll understand what the fuss is all about.

Shanghainese food may be looked down upon when compared to other regional cuisines, often derided as too greasy, too sweet and too influenced by foreign flavors. While the average versions of it can be all of those things, once you try excellent Shanghainese cuisine, you’ll understand what the fuss is all about. Xiaoping Fandian is one place that can change your opinion.

Open for over 30 years, Xiaoping Fandian has seen something of a renaissance after recently being designated by Dianping (China’s version of Yelp) as a “必吃榜” or “must-eat” place. And the best place to start is with the platform’s most-recommended dish: yellow clams (黄贝). The bite-sized mollusks are extra sweet and meaty, and served swimming in a light scallion sauce that allows them to shine, showcasing how the Shanghainese do seafood best.

Don’t miss Grandma’s red-braised pork (外婆红烧肉) or the soy sauce duck (酱鸭) if you want to get acquainted with classic Shanghainese dishes, but this is also a fun place to delve deeper into the local cuisine. Sauce fried pork liver (酱爆猪肝) and eggplant battered with salted egg yolk and fried (咸蛋黄茄子) aren’t on every Shanghainese menu, but when done well, like at Xiaoping, they are excellent. And the traditional Shanghainese dish of shredded unagi (鳝丝) is a must-order, if only to try their version with wild rice shoots (茭白) for a textural surprise.

  • TzoutzoukaJune 16, 2021 Tzoutzouka (0)
    The pandemic hit Athens, in early 2020, at a time of transition for Antonis Liolis. With […] Posted in Athens
  • VolviMay 21, 2021 Volvi (0)
    When Tasos Perdikis and Aris Doukas met a few years back – the two men were working at […] Posted in Athens
  • Keramikos Calling: Market Day in AthensMay 12, 2021 Keramikos Calling: Market Day in Athens (0)
    Quick bite: On our Keramikos food tour, we will walk through the weekly street market […] Posted in Athens
Jamie Barys

Related stories

June 16, 2021

Tzoutzouka: Kitchen of Love

Athens | By Carolina Doriti
By Carolina Doriti
AthensThe pandemic hit Athens, in early 2020, at a time of transition for Antonis Liolis. With many years’ experience in the food and beverage industry – after working in popular Athenian bars he went on to own a bar of his own and later two Thai restaurants, one in the Petralona neighborhood and the other…
May 21, 2021

Volvi: New Souvlaki Purists On the Block

Athens | By Carolina Doriti
By Carolina Doriti
AthensWhen Tasos Perdikis and Aris Doukas met a few years back – the two men were working at the same restaurant, although not in the kitchen – they bonded over their love of food. As Tasos tells it, they were both obsessed with souvlaki. Almost immediately they started making future plans to open their own souvlaki…
keramikos food
May 12, 2021

Keramikos Calling: Market Day in Athens

Athens | By Madeleine Roberts
By Madeleine Roberts
AthensQuick bite: On our Keramikos food tour, we will walk through the weekly street market and get a taste of the creativity and tradition that reside here, visiting neighborhood institutions, both old and new. From Cretan homecooking to classic Northern-style pastry, spankingly fresh seafood to souvlaki al fresco, it’s a miracle that Keramikos remains a…
Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar
EUR Euro