Love Chinese food but your tummy doesn't? Let our Foodie Guide to Shanghai lead you to the hidden healthy gems of China's most popular city.
Finding healthy food in Shanghai can be hard (I lived there for one year and struggled to find places to eat pretty much the whole time). There are street stalls selling gluten-infested buns, noodles and dumplings doused in MSG and soy sauce on almost every corner. If you’re trying to steer clear from gluten, wheat, dairy, and refined sugar like myself—you’re pretty much left with nothing. Let this Foodie Guide Shanghai lead you to the hidden gems of fresh, and healthy Vegan and Paleo-approved Eateries we have discovered during our year in China.
1) Hunther Gatherer
Hunther Gatherer is as close as you can get if your looking for Paleo-friendly options in Shanghai. It’s a retail-restaurant concept specializing in organic, artisan health-food groceries and quick-serve buffet dining. The shopping space, serving counter and dining area perfectly blend together. The menu options are super wholesome and can be seasoned with hand-made condiments. We treated ourselves to one of the kitchen’s black bean and five-grain rice bowls topped with salmon, roasted vegetables and Brussels sprouts. We also tried the spinach and quinoa bowl topped with chicken, beet and apple salad and roasted cauliflower. The meals are big and vary between 65-81RMB. They also offer seasonal soups for 20RMB and a variety of delicious smoothies and juices. At the time of our visit 69% of their produce came from their own local organic farms.
#106, No. 308 Anfu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai (near Wukang Lu)
2) Pure and Whole (Yangping Lu)
Pure & Whole is every vegetarian and health nut’s dream. Not only the food also the holistic design of the restaurant enhances the truly wholesome experience. We immediately felt at home as we sat down and browsed through the tasty meal options. Pure and Whole offers a wide variety of unique salads, wraps, veg burgers, and pastas as well as raw desserts, smoothies and cleansing drinks. We tried the lentil burger, green curry, jungle salad and detox juice. The portion sizes are reasonable and we favoured especially the burger (huge!) and the jungle salad. Don’t skip dessert at Pure and Whole! Our recommended special is the raw carrot cake. We were amazed to get our foodie-hands on such yummy raw desserts here in China!
98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu
Farine is a real bakery gem tucked away in the heart of the old French Concession. Simply walking to Farine is a real pleasure because the tree-lined roads and the fancy neighbourhood are so beautiful and picturesque. We absolutely love the setup there and recommend grabbing a croissant and a coffee and sitting down on the beautiful outside deck to enjoy the atmosphere. As an artisan bakery Farine makes everything in house and provides a small and delectable range of French pastries. It’s expensive but don’t forget you also pay for the exquisite neighbourhood as well as the staff’s adorable little uniforms. We recommend trying some of the coconut macaroons – they are AMAZING!
378 Wukang Rd. near Tai’an Rd., Ferguson Lane
4) Sproutworks (Xintiandi Store)
Sproutworks is a vegetarian quick-serve buffet restaurant. They offer a wide rage of sandwiches, soups, salads and lunch menus which rotate daily. Xintiandi is a beautiful area and the perfect place to sit outside in the spacious outdoor seating arena to soak in some sun while enjoying a healthy meal. We devoured various salads and particularly enjoyed the shredded Brussels sprouts tossed with hazelnuts, the apple and raisins coleslaw and the quinoa with orange and mixed lettuce. However, we were a wee bit disappointed about the dessert selection – nothing was gluten-free, let alone raw vegan.
185 Madang Lu (corner of Madang Lu and Zi Zhong Lu)
Kommune is tucked away in the narrow alley lanes of Tianzifang – a little difficult to find but worth the search. The outdoor seating area is located between artsy craft shops and beautiful brick walls and invites local hipsters, expats, and tourists a like to sit down and enjoy a huge mug of coffee or hot chocolate. The mugs at Kommune are bigger than everything I’ve ever seen and the breakfast selection is small but scrumptious. We tried the smashed avocado and tomato on sourdough and the Turkish breakfast skillet and were more than happy with our choice. Don’t forget to order the cheesecake and/or trifle variations before you move on to some shopping around Tianzifang – the cake platters and trifelle jars are to die for!
Tianzifang, room 5, lane 7, 210 Taikang Lu, near Sinan Lu
6) Sprout Lifestyle
If you are on the hunt for some superfood supplies in China Sprout Lifestyle is a great place to go cause it´s a retail/takeaway café that offers a wide-range of organic as well as their home brand health-foods. From cacao butter over hemp seeds to raw nut butters – whatever your healthnut-heart desires Sprout Lifestyle has it in store. The space itself is tiny but the selection is worthwhile a visit. The café is located in an Eco Village just outside of the French Concession, a little out of the way but easy to find via metro (Line 7, Dong An Stop, Exit 1). The menu is flexible and ranges from macrobiotic meals, super salads, raw nut mylks, raw desserts to smoothies and kombucha. We fell in love with the absolutely amazing RAW BREAKFAST SLICE. It’s a MUST TRY!
485 Fenglin Road, Ground Floor, Building 13, Unit #101
You might also like our Foodie Guide to Hong Kong.