If you're an expat living in Shanghai and don't read the Shanghaiist regularly, it basically means you're out of the loop on the happenings in that city. Not sure when a Beijingist will ever come out, but if it does, I'd like to be part of that team, though That's Beijing's blog is regularly updated and serves a similar purpose.
Anyways, (with more than just a hat tip to Shanghaiist), I want to provide you with SH Magazine's list of 50 foods that you must eat in Shanghai. Looking through the list, its heavy on expat sort of places and very few that I've tried, but perhaps I will have to explore more during my journeys south and try some of these "specialities."
From what I have sampled, I'd question placing Xiao Fei Yang (49th) on the list, its a national chain with decent hotpot, but nothing very special or unique. Perhaps they didn't want to use Dong Lai Shun, because its too attached to Beijing. Though if you're looking for hotpot, I find the Dolar Shop's Macau-style hotpot to be a lot more unique and something that isn't available all over the country.
I had to go all the way down to 30 before finding a place that I've tried. I was shocked to find Paul at Xintiandi when I was in Shanghai a few months ago, I remember fondly my morning tea and croissant at Paul in London as the perfect daily breakfast. Though I'd also come across it all over Paris, it just seemed sort of wrong and your local place would always be a better bet. However, in Shanghai it truly is the best bet for someone missing the joys of good bread.
The Wujiang Lu chicken wings at 28th are a fine choice, one that I sampled after a very "Chuppy" bar experience, making the (right) decision to slum it with good grilled food and beer instead of high priced mixed drinks.
Next, dropping down to 11th (wow, I've really yet to sample a lot of Shanghai's "specialities") are Beard Papa's cream puffs...There is not much I have to say about these as they are simply amazing. Though every time I eat one I can almost feel myself getting fatter, they are as addictive as crack. At 9th are Yang's Shengjian, though I'd argue they should be higher (I guess last year they were 1st). At any time of day, some of their Shengjian and a bowl of the curry duck blood soup (an absolutely amazing neon yellow color) are unbeatable and one of the city's cheapest meals (though prices have recently gone up).
-To me, City Diner's burger could very well be on this list.
-I've been to Jean George's a number of times and their desserts are excellent, but I've yet to sample the one on the list.
-Jade on 36 has been on my list of must eats (when I want to splurge) for awhile, and the list only confirms that.
-From the picture, Awfully Chocolate's ice cream looks like a thing of beauty, definitely something to sample during my next visit
-Surprising the minimal role crab plays on the list as there isn't a much better meal when in season and it plays such a big role in the local diet.
-It would have made the list a lot more user-friendly if they included the restaurant's address/Chinese name/etc (or at least a link to those things)
-Disappointing that the number 1 dish comes from a chain restaurant that serves Taiwanese-style food.
-If I have the time (and inclination), perhaps I'll create a list for Beijing, though it would be quite a task