Shanghai cuisine runs the gamut from low-end to high-end, from modest tofu up to the pricey consumption of exotic species; Shanghai chefs know how to do it. Hong Rui Xing embraces both ends of the spectrum in its Xuhui branch: the second floor dining room explores high-end classics, while below, the theme is Shanghai staples and snacks.
The upstairs menu is intimidatingly large, but has plenty of dishes that shine. The shrimp in wine and plum sauce is a crowd-pleaser, as is the stir-fried crab with asparagus. The fish head soup is also popular for diners who don't mind food that can look at you. Attentive servers are usually happy to help you choose a suitable menu. Also, a large supply of Maotai baijiu, a highly fragrant distilled liquor, is on hand for those who want to wine and dine like corrupt officials.
The first floor crowd is slightly rougher around the edges, with people queuing up for hand-pulled noodles and a full selection of Shanghai, Wuxi and Suzhou street snacks. The restaurant is particularly buzzing at breakfast time, but set your alarm, breakfast is only served from 6am to 9am.
Happily, whether for breakfast or dinner, upstairs or down, Hong Rui Xing won't necessarily empty your wallet. Diners should be able to fill their bellies for 80 yuan.
Address: 1500 Zhongshan East 2nd Rd, in the Shanghai Stadium complex.
Getting there: Take Metro Line 1 to Shanghai Stadium Metro Station.