Shanghai’s Best Xibei Restaurants

by Jamie Barys, Chief Eating Officer of UnTour Food Tours



Looking for Shanghai Best Xibei (Northwestern) food? The food from Chinas northwestern provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Shaanxi is culturally unique in the country. The dishes focus mostly on the halal flavors of Muslim cuisine from Chinas 10 ethnic minorities who practice Islam.  The Hui minority are the largest group of Muslims in China, and their diaspora reaches well across the country to Chinas eastern shores, and especially in Xian, the former terminal city of the Silk Road. Uighurs –  the second largest ethnic group in Xinjiang – have mostly remained in the region. Uighurs are descendants from the ancient Sogdian traders once observed by Marco Polo, and unlike many of the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, the Uighurs are an urban people whose identity crystallized in the oasis towns of the Silk Road. The cuisine of the Hui and Uighur is halal, meaning that there is no pork (or alcohol  although beer often makes it in to restaurants in China), and all meats must be butchered halal. The cuisine often feels more Central Asian or Middle Eastern than Chinese food, thanks to the usage of strong spices like cumin and the addition of naan bread to the table. 


A Luo Xinjiang Restaurant (新疆餐)

This highly-rated Uighur restaurants does all the classics perfectly. You dont want to miss their thick yogurt, served topped with your choice of honey from their home region or chopped nuts. 

Peoples Square Location: 9F, 2-68 West Nanjing Road, near Peoples Square.


Xuhui Location: 2F, 1 Dapu Lu, across from SML Plaza.

打浦1号近玉广二楼 (日月光). 


Dunhuang Xiaoting (敦煌小)

Dunhuang, a former Silk Road oasis town in present-day Gansu province, was a historical refuge for weary travelers peddling their wares along the trade route, and this confluence of cultures influenced the ancient citys cuisine. Dunhuang Xiaoting, which translates loosely as Dunhuang Rest Stop, offers Shanghai diners a break from the southern staples of rice and pork.  

Changning Location: 591 Dingxi Lu, near Xinhua Lu. 定西路591号近新 .

Jingan Location: 333 Changde Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu. 常德路333, 近北ி西路

Xuhui Location: B1, 580 Tianyaoqiao Lu, near Lingling Lu. 钥桥580号星游城B1, 近零


Lanzhou Lamian (州拉面)

At neighborhood halal restaurants around the city (of which  there are hundreds), expert noodle masters create spaghetti-thin strands from fresh dough right before your eyes. Most are named after the capital city of Gansu province (Lanzhou) and the pulled noodle dish (lamian), but some of these spots will be called Xibei Lamian or Qingzhen Niu Rou Mian (halal beef noodles). 

Huangpu Location: 638 Fangbang Lu, near Luxiangyuan Jie. 方浜中638.

Jingan Location: 326 Wulumuqi Bei Lu, near Nanjing Xi Lu. 乌鲁北路326号近南ி西路.


Lele Xinjiang Fengwei Canting (乐乐新疆味餐)

Tucked away down a street near Old Town, this small restaurant does a bustling trade big plates of chicken. The friendly owners are always ready with a smile and a joke, and they are a highlight of UnTours Night Markets tour. The giant silver grill is located outside the restaurant, roadside to entice passersby, and you can watch the fat sizzle on the lamb skewers that everyone orders while dining at Lele. 

272 Dongtai Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu. 台路272号近复中路.


Miss Ali (阿里家)

Yan Ali didnt like the way her native cuisine was often represented in Shanghai  with waiters robed in garish costumes and performing songs and dances from their region  and decided to create a more accurate representation of the restaurants of Xinjiang. Think wooden tables lit by bright lanterns that wouldn be out of place in a Turkish bazaar and walls lined with photos of the night markets in Turpan and local minority children at play in their hometowns. 

FFC First Location: 133 Fuxing Lu, near Yongfu Lu. 西路133号近永福路

FFC Second Location: 101 Yandang Lu, near Nanchang Lu. 101号近南昌路.

Jingan Location: 2F, 20 Yuyuan Dong Lu, near Tongren Lu.愚园202近同仁路


Muslim Market

Every Friday afternoon, the area around Putuo districts Huxi Mosque becomes a showcase of culinary delights from the citys Muslim community. Visit the market around lunchtime to try lamb in all its glorious forms. Perfectly seasoned cumin lamb skewers are a must, but fried and oven-roasted mutton-stuffed dumplings can also be found, as well as other vendors selling traditional jewelry, precious gems and more. This market has suffered shutdowns in the past, so its worth checking out before the authorities further stamp out the minority culture on display.

Corner of Aomen Lu and Changde Lu. 路和常德路的路口.



Years before Miss Ali had dreamed up her turquoise lamps, Xibo was starting the trend of high-end, design-focused Xinjiang restaurants in town. They just had their seventh anniversary (a lifetime in Shanghai, especially for a restaurant located on the third floor), and are still going strong, thanks to their excellent food and not-too-shabby cocktail program. 

3F, 83 Changshu Lu, near Julu Lu. 常熟路833, 近巨鹿路.


Zhu Que Men ()

Shaanxi province is famous for having more than 100 types of noodle dishes, and Zhu Que Men has hand-picked some of the best strands all made in-house  to show off the regional cuisine in Shanghai. The owner, showcasing another local specialty, carefully curates the vinegars used in each noodle dish.

Zhabei Location: 101 Zhenping Lu, near Zhongshan Bei Lu. 坪路101号近中山北路.

Jingan Location: 477 Aomen Lu, near Jiangning Lu. 477号近江宁路.




Written by Jamie Barys, Chief Eating Officer at UnTour Food Tours.

UnTour offers 10% off to all Shanghai Mamas members – just input ‘mamas’ into the discount code section of the website during check-out to receive your discount on each ticket you purchase!

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