One jetlagged night in Shanghai, my partner and I were exploring the Pudong area and decided to make a stop at Din Tai Fung for dinner for the "xiaolongbao" (soup dumplings). The restaurant at the very least has a cleanliness factor of 11 out of 10, so it's a safe option for those travelling and concerned about food and safety standards in China. Expect the prices to be higher than the hole in the wall dives, because the premium of you're paying for is the experience.
Din Tai Fung is kind of a big deal in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, and you may be surprised to find out it's a Taiwanese chain (recently I discovered that the Din Tai Fung in Toronto is actually an imposter. Ahhh!). But the xiaolongbao is their no. 1 specialty and come in many variations from pork and hair crab meat to a well-paired combination of sponge gourd and shrimp. Their versions of Chinese snack food such as dumplings, steamed buns, noodles and simple vegetable dishes are equally as delicious. No foodie should ever pass up the experience of the 'real' Din Tai Fung overseas, whether you love it, hate it, or happen to find something better locally.
The xiaolongbao are delicately folded and literally bursting with flavour from the soup inside. My favourites were the pork and crab xiaolongbao and the pork and shrimp dumplings. The steamed buns on the other hand might be worth passing over for another dish.
At this location, the walls are laden with artwork and paintings of famous stars that have dined here in the past. It's frequented by expats and tourists; not surprising when the menu is in both English and Chinese. The staff are well trained and friendly so it was difficult for me not to tip them (in China it's standard not to tip waiters). Try and get a seat by the window if you can, you'll get a lovely view of Shanghai.
3/F, Super Brand Mall
168 Lujiazui Xi Lu,