Shanghai Renjia

It’s not easy to get your hands on good and wallet-friendly Shanghainese food in Singapore, and it seems we may have found quite a decent option all the way in Ang Mo Kio. This small, no-frills neighborhood eatery, which relocated from Upper  Thomson, is run by a couple who hail from Shanghai (the husband takes orders while the wife does the cooking). An unassuming joint, there are only a handful of tables, so be prepared for a bit of a wait at peak meal times—and to share your table if you’re not in a group of four or five.

The good news is that most dishes are pretty authentic. Take the zui ji ($10) for example; a popular starter of chilled chicken that’s marinated in wine. expect meat that’s tender and succulent, infused with just enough of the alcohol aroma and taste to be fragrant but not overpowering. Another signature we’d suggest is the xiao long bao ($6). They’re not quite as fine compared to Din Tai Fung’s (we doubt there are a minimum of 18 folds like DTF’s) and Mrs. Zhang is adamant about not serving vinegar or ginger with her handmade dumplings, but the pork and broth are so full-flavored that we didn’t mind. both the cong you mian (scallion oil noodles; $6) and shen jian bao ($8.40) are respectable renditions, although the buns could do to be more crisp on the bottom.

While it’s a bit of a trek and we can’t claim that this is the best Shanghainese food we’ve ever had, Shanghai Renjia comes close to offering a taste of what you might expect at a typical hole-in-the wall in Shanghai (somewhat brusque service included).

Can’t get enough Chinese food? Here are our favorite Chinese restaurants in Singapore.