Late autumn is upon us and it's only a few more short weeks until the frigid winter weather will descend, turning Shanghai into a veritable wasteland of Ugg boots and Sherpa's delivery men. But never fear! There is some respite available, and it comes in the hot, steaming form of this city's best soup offerings. Whether you like cream based or broth based, vegetable or meaty, thin or chunky – there is a soup out there that will make you want to brave the cold. Or at least order delivery.
1) Urban Soup KitchenView In Map
Let's start with the obvious, shall we? Urban Soup Kitchen is the place to go for hot and delicious soup. They have a rotating menu of six different soups that change from the 1-7, the 8-15, the 16-22, and the 23 to the end of every month. Check out their website for the full listings, but just know this: the chicken noodle, creamy mixed mushrooms with beef, and gumbo (add the shrimp!) are the stars of the show. But really, you can't go wrong with any of the choices here, especially since they offer free tastings of whatever soups you'd like to try. Prices vary from 24 -30 RMB for a small to 30-38 RMB for large. If you buy a sandwich, however (the hummus is one of the best in town), you'll get soup for half price.
Add: 280 Madang Lu, near Zizhong Lu (branch location), Luwan District, Shanghai
地址: 上海市卢湾区马当路280号, 近自忠路
Tel: 021 3331 1861
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00-22:00
2) Pier 39View In Map
This lunchtime hub on busy Jinxian Lu has gained quite a reputation for its Clam Chowder. And well it should, as it's easily the best you can find in Shanghai. While I wish there were a few more whole clams, there are plenty minced up to create that gorgeous seafood flavor one comes to expect from a good chowder. It's served in a sourdough bread bowl, the better for tearing off bread pieces and dipping it in the soup. And at 52 RMB, it's certainly one of the hottest, most filling deals around. Just be prepared, especially in winter, to wait a bit for a table to open, as space is extremely limited.
Add: 172 Jinxian Lu, near Maoming Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市进贤路172号, 茂名路
Tel: 021 6258 1939
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00-22:00
3) Lu Bo LangView In Map
While being served a vat of chicken soup with an entire chicken sitting in there may take a bit of getting used to, the flavor of Lu Bo Lang's soup will quickly help you adapt to pretty much anything. For 188 RMB you get enough to share with at least three other people – not to mention that “entire chicken” thing. The secret apparently lies in cooking the chicken with ham, scallion, mushrooms, and spices, then ladling everything out until all you're left with is the good stuff: chicken and broth. It's the perfect winter comfort food. Just be warned that you'll have to brave the crowds of Yuyuan Garden, which luckily have lessened a bit since the cold weather.
Add: 115 Yuyuan Lu, near Fuyou Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市豫园路115号, 近福佑路
Tel: 021 6328 0602
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-23:00
4) Boxing Cat BreweryView In Map
While in many cases Boxing Cat Brewery's food is average at best, a notable exception is their Seafood Bisque soup. Chock full of shredded crab in a creamy broth, the hearty concoction has a strong, but pleasant, seafood taste. And for 35 RMB for a cup and 45 RMB for a bowl, the price doesn't hurt either. If you're not a seafood soup type of person, their Southwestern Tortilla soup is almost as good, with chunks of chicken, tortilla strips, and vegetables topped with sour cream adding a delightfully spicy kick to a cold winter night.
Add: 82 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市复兴路82号, 近永福路
Tel: 021 6431 2091
Opening hours: 17:00-02:00 (Mon-Thu); 15:00-02:00 (Fri); 11:00-02:00 (Sat-Sun)
5) El WillyView In Map
OK, I have to admit – the main reason I included El Willy on this list is because of their to-die-for Gazpacho. Yes, yes, I know it's a cold soup and thus doesn't really help relieve the effects of a rapidly dropping thermometer (especially with the scoop of coconut ice cream they heap on top) but I think after you taste it you may just forgive me. If you really can't bear to try something cold in the winter, they also offer a delicious lobster bisque or pumpkin soup with chestnuts and mushrooms. I haven't yet taken the plunge and tried their 450 RMB Caldereta de Bogavante con Patatitas (traditional fisherman's live Boston lobster soup) – hey, at least it “serves two” – but I'm guessing that would also be a phenomenal addition to El Willy's soup repertoire.
Add: South Bund 22, 5/F, 22 Zhongshan Dong Lu, near Jinling Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市中山东路22号5楼, 近金陵路
Tel: 021 5404 5757
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30-14:30 & 18:00-23:30; Saturday brunch, 11:30-15:00
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Keywords: winter soups Best soup Shanghai
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